Faster rail connections and immediate investment for this transport mode will make people to consider a move to the regions after COVID-19 as work patterns changed and will determine accelerated growth within the Australian regions.
This is a result of a survey of 600 regional and metropolitan residents across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland commissioned by ARA. With three quarters (77 per cent) of respondents expecting at least some of the changes to their work as a result of COVID-19 to be permanent, a quarter of city residents surveyed (26 per cent) were likely to consider a move to the regions, and faster rail would increase their likelihood of making the move.
“Highways in and out of Sydney are already reaching capacity, which means we must invest now in faster rail to support the east coast’s sustainable development. For too long rail investment has lagged behind road funding and the regional rail network is now below global standards,” ARA Chief Executive Officer Caroline Wilkie said.
10 million people are expected to move to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane by 2060 resulting in increased transport demand which can be meet by faster rail connections.
The survey found regional residents would also be 71 per cent more likely to take the train if faster rail connections were available, while 84 per cent of regional respondents believed faster rail connections would make their region more attractive for people considering relocating.
The survey findings were released to coincide with the launch of the ARA Faster Rail Report, prepared by Arup. The report identifies a three step plan which would led to the creation of such transport connections.
The report highlights the urgent action to upgrade the existing railway infrastructure to deliver more reliable and more frequent services as well as the establishment of new fast rail lines in the next five to ten years. The report also calls the preparation of high speed rail transport services by preserving rail corridors now.