The ACT Government’s Capital Metro light rail system Essay Example

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The Australian government has concentrated most of the transport building investment into the road. Consequently, the public transport in Australia has grown into an unbalanced and inefficient system that cannot meet the increasingly needs of the people. The government needs to come up with a systematic strategy that takes into account the optimal incorporation of every transport mode as per the needs of every city. Failure to do this will result in Australian cities coming to a stand-still. The Capital Metro light rail system seems to be the best approach to solving these problems (ACT Government, 2014).

The primary objective of the ACT government light rail system was not to realize an increase in land tax revenue through increased property values along the route but to realize improved public transport system. The light rail system has proven to offer broad-reaching benefits to the public transport, such as increased transport capacity, enhanced access to a town’s amenities to every individual of any ability and more reliable transport services. Moreover, light rail has some healthy benefits (McIlroy, 2015).

Light rail is the most reliable mode of public transport as it allows traveling at a consistent speed with considerably higher capacity for every lane of road volume compared to other forms of road-based transport. It operates on dedicated rights-of-way, separated from other types of transport and prioritizes traffic signals at the path intersection. Street Tramways run within mixed road traffic and are prone to delay. Light rail can carry up to 20,000 persons in one hour towards one direction in capacity equal to one traffic lane of road traffic (Currie, 2015). Given the same space, buses can only move around 8,000 people in one hour while arterial road lane cannot move more than 1000 people in one hour (Currie, 2015).

Light rail provides enhanced mobility in cities, especially when used in combination with other modes of public transport. It provides individuals with a movement package that is an efficient option to the car when it is well integrated with feeder bus and trunk services and national, regional and local railway stations and airports. Also, light rail provides many families with an alternative for no vehicle lifestyle with an array of economic and social benefits (South Australian Government, 2013).

Light rail improves the amenities of cities and the suburban area along its corridor and ensures their accessibility. Light rail can trigger urban regeneration as people and companies move near its station and corridors. Thus, the government can align light rail plans with complementary city planning policies and precinct planning to capitalize on urban renewal along its corridors and around its stations (ACT Government, 2014). Light rail also promotes community interaction around its stations, generating residential, commercial and retail investment. It thus contributes to increased density as well as activity around its stations, creating a greater sense of secure place with vibrancy throughout the day which further promotes interaction (Vuchic, 2007).

Furthermore, light rail promotes healthier lifestyles through increasing physical activity as people walk to light rail stopovers. It thus helps to mitigate some illness that results of living sedentary lifestyles. Individuals who use the public transport are more active than those who have personal cars. In fact, a research study carried out showed that persons who travel by public transport walk for an average of 41 minutes every day while those who drive walk for just 8 minutes (Currie, 2015). Moreover, it allows individuals for all abilities to access the urban and its amenities through the application of step-free low-floor automobiles and level access stops. In fact, the public transport enables the socioeconomically disadvantaged people in the society to experience an increased level of physical activity as they may not be in a position to participate in other activities such as sport as the advantaged people. Light rail is associated with low emissions and noise and hence is viewed as enhancing the urban environment. In fact, electronically-powered light rail is considered the most sustainable mode of road transport as it is linked to almost zero emissions (Vuchic, 2007).

Apart from improving the public transport system, the light rail system has also proven effective in stimulating increased investment in commercial and residential property development, urban revitalization and ensuing increase in property values. Light rail attracts a considerable increase in property development along its corridors and around its stations. As a result, the value of land surrounding light rail has considerably increased. It is estimated that light rail can create long-term average escalations of around 20% in surrounding property values (South Australian Government, 2013). As people and firms, choices to relocate in areas near the light rail stations and its corridors, the demand for land in these areas increases, resulting in higher prices. The other factors that drive the demand for land in these regions include higher density development policies by the government and the strength of the property market and urban economy.


The car-centric approach that the Australian government has adopted for a long time has failed resolves its public transport issues. As a result, the government is now ready to implement the light rail approach as it has proven to offer a broad range of benefits to the public transport including increased transport capacity, improved accessibility to everyone regardless of abilities, increased sense of community, and improved healthy. Besides, the light rail has resulted in certainty for residential and commercial investment as well as an increase in property value, though the initial intention of the government to implement the light rail was not based on this.


ACT Government (2014), Capital Metro Business Case.

Currie, G, (2015), Research perspectives on the merits of Light Rail vs. Bus, Monash University. Accessed on 29th March, 2016 at

McIlroy, T, (2015), ‘Light rail extension to Russell under consideration’, Canberra Times, Accessed on 29th March, 2016 at

South Australian Government (2013). The Integrated Transport and Land Use Plan

Vuchic, V (2007), Urban Transit: Systems and Technology, Wiley.