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Mobilising Queenslanders on our accessible network

Ensuring the department builds a transport network that is accessible by all and connects Queenslanders to liveable regions and active cities is an important and ongoing focus for TMR. This section outlines the key transport activities and initiatives undertaken to facilitate passenger mobility across the state and aim to provide a single integrated and safe transport network, allowing fair access to everyone.

Addressing traffic congestion

The department takes a multi-faceted approach to tackling congestion and improving travel reliability across South East Queensland. Through a combination of projects that build extra capacity, measures that will help us get the most out of the existing network, and providing customers with access to better information, the department works hard to ensure congestion doesn’t significantly worsen as our population grows.

Coupled with population growth, South East Queensland has seen a relatively high (20 per cent) increase in registered vehicles over the last seven years, this has also led to 27 per cent increase in the number of vehicle kilometres travelled in the Brisbane Metropolitan area. These trends are shown in ‎Figure 6:

Figure 6: Cumulative change in vehicles registered and kilometres travelled since 2011–12

2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19
Total vehicles registered: SEQ (source: TRAILS) 0.00% 3.20% 6.20% 8.60% 12.00% 15.50% 18.30% 20.30%
Vehicle Km Travelled (VKT) from TMR detector counts: Bne Metro (calendar yrs, 24/7, source: TARS-TMR Traffic Analysis and Reporting System) 0.00% 1.90% 5.60% 7.20% 11.70% 17.00% 22.00% 26.60%

Data source: Total vehicle registered: South East Queensland (TRAILS)

Data source: Vehicle kilometres travelled from TMR detector counts: Brisbane Metro (calendar years, 24/7) (Source: TARS-TMR Traffic Analysis and Reporting System)

Data source: Vehicle kilometres travelled from TMR detector counts: Brisbane Metro (calendar years, 24/7) (Source: TARS-TMR Traffic Analysis and Reporting System)

Note: This graph shows the cumulative percentage change in total vehicles registered and vehicle kilometres travelled in the Brisbane metropolitan area.

Building additional capacity

TMR are addressing priority bottlenecks on our road network with major upgrades on:

  • South East Queensland motorways including the Pacific/Gateway Motorways Merge
  • the recently completed Gateway Upgrade North Project
  • Pacific Motorway (M1) upgrades.

In addition to these major upgrades the department has delivered many other projects, such as traffic signal optimisation, that have improved travel time in localised environments.

Using technology to smooth the flow of traffic

Beyond the major infrastructure projects, the department continues to invest in technologies that allow proactive operation of the road network. These technologies, known as Smart Motorway technologies include a variety of initiatives such as:

  • variable speed limit signs
  • flexible lane control
  • ramp signalling
  • travel time signs
  • electronic message signs
  • roadside data systems.

These technologies work together to help reduce stop-start travel, improve safety and provide more predictable travel times for motorists along our busy motorways.

Incident management

The department uses a variety of sensors and cameras to monitor the transport network and identify incidents and potential hazards. This information is used to quickly respond to any issues by deploying our traffic incident management services and provide information to customers through our QLDTraffic services and roadside variable message signs.

Helping road users make informed decisions

Understanding potential travel conditions is an important part of planning a journey, the department continues to deliver up to date travel information through QLDTraffic providing dynamic and real-time travel information, empowering our customers with access to trusted, reliable, timely and personalised information to make informed travel decisions.

Passenger Transport Accessible Infrastructure Program

The TMR Passenger Transport Accessible Infrastructure Program is a statewide grants program which provides funding assistance to local governments upgrading their existing passenger transport facilities to comply with the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

These funding contributions allow local governments to:

  • enhance safety and accessibility of the transport network for everyone
  • modernise passenger transport facilities to meet the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002
  • apply consistent design standards across the passenger transport network.

In 2018–19, over $5 million of funding assistance was provided to 17 local governments across Queensland to support upgrades of over 750 urban bus stops to meet accessibility standards. In addition, approximately $500,000 was provided towards upgrading long-distance coach stops in regional areas as well as completing the passenger ferry terminal upgrade at Hammond Island in the Torres Strait.

These funding grants assist local governments in increasing accessibility to the transport network to connect communities.

The success of these infrastructure grants programs is built on the partnership approach with local governments and other state government agencies, working together to deliver a single integrated transport network accessible to everyone.

For more information on Accessible regional bus stops

Equitable access to transport for vulnerable Queenslanders

Under the direction of the Director-General, TMR has implemented the Accessible Transport Network (ATN) led by Kevin Cocks AM. The ATN program of work will ensure that all vulnerable Queenslanders’ and visitors will be able to participate with ease, safety and dignity in all aspects of their social, recreational, health and employment activities.

Frameworks and strategies underway in 2018–19, through collaboration with other government agencies, will underpin the lift in cultural awareness required to design and deliver products, services and infrastructure to meet the needs of everyone. This program of works will also create benefits for all transport network customers.

Through TMR’s response to the Forde Report (New Generation Rollingstock Commission of Enquiry) recommendations, TMR has embraced the opportunity to deliver on our vision of a single integrated transport network accessible to everyone by incorporating these recommendations into TMR’s best practice for the future. Our actions from these recommendations will see TMR undertaking activities around early co-design, customer engagement and cross-agency collaboration to deliver vast improvements in all products, services and infrastructure. Customers will benefit from a more seamless experience when accessing information and a more accessible and welcoming environment across all facets of our network.

The ATN established the Accessible Transport Network Program Board in 2019 with the purpose to govern the implementation of accessibility, diversity and Inclusion objectives, aligning with our Advancing Queensland Priorities. It is an overarching governing body to drive and implement meaningful and practical change for all five divisions of our organisation. Providing the opportunity to create a business as usual approach to these key areas.

For more information on the Forde Report

Accessibility is key to our vision of creating a single integrated transport network accessible to everyone. We connect people to people, people to places, people to jobs, people to healthcare and people to opportunities. To do that, we need a totally accessible transport network.
Neil Scales, Person with a Disability Champion

Third Disability Action Plan to improve the accessibility on the state network

In December 2018, TMR released the Disability Action Plan 2018–2022 continuing the department’s commitment to improving the accessibility of the passenger transport network for customers with disability.

This is TMR’s third disability action plan and contains 41 actions that will be delivered over the life of the plan, with some actions already complete, such as the establishment of the Accessible Transport Network Office within TMR.

The plan was developed in consultation with members of the TMR Accessibility Reference Group which includes representatives from government, industry and disability advocacy groups and has been produced in a number of alternative formats including Easy Read, Auslan and audio, all of which are available on the TMR website.

For more information on Disability access and mobility

Accessible Transport Networks overview

Starting in January 2019, the ATN began working in partnership across TMR to carry out assessments of viable rest areas and stopping areas to establish their degree of accessibility. These assessments will be carried out across the whole of Queensland with an aim of developing a priority plan for upgrading them based on criticality.

This will create clearer, more accurate information for customers and support the needs of everyone using these facilities. Making it easier for customers when planning journeys and offering a more pleasurable experience for all travellers.

The ATN—in conjunction with Human Resources Branch— is contributing to the overarching Disability Employment Strategy being developed by the Public Service Commission, positioning the Queensland Government as a desirable employer with strong social conscience. Demonstrating a cultural awareness of inclusivity that creates a welcoming working environment, providing better opportunities and support for everyone. TMR’s alignment with this Strategy will see a more diverse and inclusive approach in our recruitment processes and our working environment. Working towards our priority to create jobs in a strong economy.

Based on the recommendations of the Forde Report, TMR is prioritising the updating of our Public Transport Infrastructure Manual. These updates will ensure better quality of experience for all users of our network, by embedding a human-centred design approach to all phases of projects when delivering infrastructure on our network.

This includes physical spaces and user experience, as well as processes for goods and services from agencies partnering with TMR.

TMR is leading the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport (DSAPT) Transformation in partnership with the federal government. Queensland will provide leadership throughout this process and technical and operational guidance to update the DSAPT and have these changes legislated by 2023.

In 2019, the ATN procured the services of a technical expert to analyse, research and advise on the best approach to address and update legislation through co-design and universal design. These changes will also inform other states and jurisdictions, creating a more cohesive connection with a far-reaching application.

School Transport Assistance Scheme

The School Transport Assistance Scheme (STAS) is one of the largest schemes funded by the state government which assists eligible students to travel to and from school on rail, bus, ferry and tram services. For 2018–19, $172.7 million was paid to assist approximately 130,000 recipients.

STAS assistance can cover all or part of a student’s transport costs between home and school, with the focus being on assisting those students without a school in their local area. Assistance is also provided for students living in extreme isolation and for low income families.

For the delivery of this program, TMR works with about 502 delivery partners providing over 1150 school routes using approximately 2000 buses.

For more information on the School Transport Assistance Scheme

Three children in school uniforms getting on a school bus at school.

STAS provides assistance to eligible school students on rail, bus, ferry and tram services, helping students travel to and from school.

School transport operator payments

The department provided funding assistance to 502 private operators to deliver school transport services. Total payment for the 2018-19 financial year was $146.6 million (GST exclusive).

School services for South East Queensland are paid as part of integrated urban and school transport service contracts and reflected in table 13 Passenger transport operator payments: South East Queensland.

A full list of operators and payments is available on the Queensland Government Open Data Portal

Concessional fares for disadvantaged community members

The department continued to provide concessional fares on rail, ferry, bus light rail and taxi services to ensure mobility and access across Queensland for those in the community who are disadvantaged.

In 2018–19, TMR provided $320.44 million in concessions and assistance to pensioners, veterans, students, people with a disability and their carers to make public transport more affordable. Assistance ranges from public transport concessions, ticketing products and subsidised transport schemes.

For more information on concession fares
For more information on ticket options for people with a disability

Bus contract renewals

New contracts with bus delivery partners in South East Queensland were executed in July–August 2018. The new contracts have introduced a refreshed performance management regime with a focus on improved data reliability and a partnership approach to improving on time running, alongside the delivery of a centralised scheduling system that will deliver more responsive and reliable timetable information for customers.

Outside South East Queensland, the department has been investing in new service contracts. In November 2018, TMR executed one-year contract extensions with regional delivery partners in Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Mackay and Toowoomba. These one-year extensions are enabling TMR and its delivery partners to work through a collaborative invitation to offer process for a longer-term service contract. Benefits such as improved service coverage and strengthening relationships with delivery partners are expected to result from the collaborative approach.

Between December 2018 and February 2019, TMR executed new seven-year contracts with regional delivery partners in Bowen, Bundaberg, Maleny, Proserpine/Airlie Beach, Warwick, Gympie, Innisfail/Ingham, Stradbroke, Kilcoy, Rockhampton/ Mount Morgan/Yeppoon, Elliot Heads and Maryborough/ Hervey Bay. These extensions provide continued bus services to regional centres around Queensland reinforcing the department’s commitment to building stronger regions.

Queensland Bus Driver of the Year Awards

Queenslanders had the opportunity to recognise their favourite bus driver by nominating them for the Queensland Bus Driver of the Year Awards. More than 2500 nominations were received across Queensland. The awards recognised the huge contribution drivers make to ensuring customers travel safely and conveniently.

This year’s nominations saw a 900 per cent increase on the 250 submissions received in 2018, with Ella Reid from Clarks Logan City Bus Service taking out the award for the state’s best driver last year.

This year’s awards have been expanded to include new categories, recognising drivers across the state. The new categories are:

  • South East Queensland drivers
  • regional drivers
  • school drivers.

All nominations were reviewed by an industry-led judging panel and assessed against criteria including positive customer impact, excellence in customer care and displaying a customer-focused attitude. Three finalists were announced in each category. Videos of each finalist were produced and posted online, allowing the public to cast their vote for the winner in each category. Winners were presented their awards in August 2019.

Local area marketing

Over the last 18 months, the department has delivered targeted marketing campaigns to increase public transport patronage in locations with high potential to increase public transport mode share. These locations were identified using an algorithm that measured actual public transport patronage against expected patronage, based on local demographics, service levels and other factors. TMR has focused some of its marketing efforts on areas that were deemed ‘underperforming’ for public transport - that is, where actual patronage was not as high as predicted by the algorithm.

The suburb of North Lakes was the first trial site for this new marketing approach in February 2018. The department then applied the same approach to the suburb of Kedron in February 2019 and Southport in late June 2019. Activity in North Lakes and Kedron has influenced behaviour, and patronage targets have been exceeded in both areas following the campaigns. Results for Southport are still pending.

Tactics included email marketing, mobile display advertisement, advertising at petrol pumps, direct mail, smart screens at shopping centres, customer liaison activity as well as social media activity.

North Lakes Station sign outside bus station surrounded by tree and parklands

Convenience and attractive environment at North Lakes station.