Light rail, a network of cycleways and pedestrianized zones are just three of the priorities highlighted as part of Sydney’s City Centre Access Strategy designed to unlock transport capacity and drive investment.

The plan, jointly released by Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Roads and Ports Duncan Gay, is the state’s first detailed strategic program showing how people will enter, exit and move around the CBD over the next 20 years.

The action plan has been created in anticipation of the dramatic increase in trips needed to be made by people into the city centre. As the leading hub of economic activity in Australia, one that contributes more than $70 billion toward the economy each year, it is estimated that these will grow from 630,000 trips every weekday to around 780,000 by 2031.

The Access Strategy demonstrates how light rail, buses, trains, cars, taxis, pedestrians and cyclists will interact in the heart of Sydney and builds upon initiatives already implemented, including a dedicated Police Motorcycle Response Team to target congestion, trialling double-deck buses, and improving the Sydney Harbour Bridge Southern Toll Plaza Precinct

“The NSW Government is acting now to find smart solutions to keep our city moving, and we have already committed to constructing light rail through the Sydney CBD from Circular Quay to Randwick and Kingsford to reduce congestion, remove many buses clogging the streets, and revitalise the city,” said Berejiklian.

The light rail will move 9,000 people per hour in each direction through the city centre and ultimately removing 220 buses from congested streets.

Rapid transit rail along the underground Second Harbour Crossing will provide a more than 60 per cent increase in services to the CBD.

Gay said 92 per cent of trips are made on foot within the city centre, and the NSW Government will make walking easier by providing better signage, de-cluttering footpaths, reducing waiting times at traffic lights and improving safety.

The Strategy also includes a blueprint for cycleways in the CBD to ensure bike paths will be planned and built as part of an integrated network for the first time.

Further initiatives in the Strategy include more taxi ranks in better locations, new interchange precincts and additional transport to support Sydney’s late-night economy.

A six-week consultation period is currently underway to give the community the chance to have its say on all aspects of the Strategy.