Taken for a ride: how the poor cost-effectiveness of Sydney’s automated Metro Railways provides a salutary lesson for infrastructure planning

Building rail infrastructure creates a significant opportunity cost for taxpayers. This makes it imperative for new rail capacity to obtain the best possible value. In this paper, we examine Sydney’s current programme of automated metro railway construction and identify several, not immediately apparent, factors which undermine value to taxpayers. Their root cause is a systemic failure to undertake adequate and effective project evaluation. Lessons applicable to transport infrastructure decisions globally highlight the importance of (i) retaining network compatibility; (ii) maximising utilisation of transport assets; (iii) undertaking comprehensive cost-benefit analysis which encompasses the full scope of works and flow-on implications of a major infrastructure decision; (iv) recognising changes in demand trends (v) maintaining a knowledgeable public service and (vi) holding decision-makers accountable for investments which lack justification.

  • Record URL:
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of Sydney. Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies

    Sydney, New South Wales   
  • Authors:
    • Day, C
    • Day, D
  • Publication Date: 2022-12

Media Info

  • Pagination: 17p
  • Serial:
    • Issue Number: ITLS-WP-22-23

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01872661
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB Group Limited
  • Files: ITRD, ATRI
  • Created Date: Feb 6 2023 3:42PM