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Author Archives: Mr Hounsell

Facilitating a privacy-protecting empirically-driven continuous-optimisation approach to sustainable public transport operations using Big Data recorded by Tap On Tap Off electronic ticketing systems

Mathew Hounsell B Comp. Sci. MSF(Res) was awarded a Master of Sustainable Futures (Research) by the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) on the 5th of November 2020.

The thesis is available as Open Access from UTS Library https://opus.lib.uts.edu.au/handle/10453/144073

Use your ETS records to understand your operations and make your customers happy.

We can only understand what we can measure; we can only act on what we understand.

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Updated with Sydney Metro’s “Response to issues raised in the submissions”.

Regarding the Revised station design for Bankstown Station. Includes the provision of a new north-south connection across the rail corridor between Appian Way and Restwell Street.

Reordered Submission June 2020. Dear Sir/Madam,

I am a Transport Analyst and Planner. I was asked to address the NSW Legislative Council to Transport & Customer Service Committee Inquiry regarding the Sydenham to Bankstown Metro Conversion. I have worked extensively on projects with Sydney Trains including on the Responsive Passenger Information System designed for customer congestion management at Town Hall and other important interchange stations.

I will be brief, as I only saw this proposed change on the day submissions closed.

Firstly, the proposed bike parking area is too small. The northern commuter car park only has space for 50 cars, a tiny fraction of possible demand. Central Bankstown is too be redeveloped as Transit-Oriented Developments. Therefore, 40 car spaces should be retained for disabled passengers, and the space on the west of the driveway should be converted to secure covered bike parking. This would significantly increase the station’s passenger catchment.

Secondly, to 1) reduce crowding, congestion, and delays, 2) improve fire and life safety, and 3) increase patronage; I would recommend the instillation of exits on the eastern end of the metro station. These eastern exits would allow quick exit in the event of an emergency. These eastern exits would spread passengers more evenly on the trains. These eastern exits would attract passengers from further afield and connect all passengers quickly to more locations. These eastern exits might allow some bus stops to be relocated to improve network efficiency.

Diagram of proposal
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Built around Sydney’s tramways in 1890s, Newtown needs KPIs to prioritise humans not cars.

Proposed changes overlaid on aerial photography

The proposed transformation will activate Newtown as a premier destination for locals, as well as domestic and international visitors.

  • Bring the tram sheds back to life – creating a new gathering point. Landscape and open the areas around the tram sheds, with increased passive surveillance and human scale lighting. Make more spaces to sit, reducing crowding, and create new cooling green islands.
  • Create quicker connections between business areas with new paths. Most people head straight to northern King St. Use shared identity, anchors, and wayfinding to encourage visitors to spread.
    • Newtown only receives 10% of the international visitors as the Opera House
    • Reactivate Brennan Lane and the old path along the Bank Hotel.
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Making Enmore’s commons safer for children, removing rat-runs, and giving more space to people

Proposed changes overlaid on aerial photography

This compact area can be used as a low-cost minimal-disruption demonstration transformation.

  • Safe 30 km/h limit in these narrow residential streets will increase pedestrian safety, decrease pollution, and will achieve Vision Zero.
    • Speed limits of 50km/h on narrow streets (60km/h on Liberty St) are dangerous and frequently results in accident and near-misses.
  • Raised continuous sidewalk on all roads throughout the area will psychologically calm traffic by showing the area is human-centric.
    • The daylighting zones will be enhanced with seating, tables, and swings.
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Opening the Stanmore commons to make space for people, businesses, and cooling greenery.

Proposed changes overlaid on aerial photography

The Sydney Metro Sydenham to Bankstown conversion will see a train stopping at Stanmore:

  • every 3 minutes in peak-hours,
  • every 8 minutes off-peak,
  • currently waiting time is at least 15 minutes.

A protected cycleway will soon be installed on Gordon Crescent and Railway Avenue connecting Petersham to the universities, CBD, and beyond.

The inner-west cycleway network overlaid on an aerial photograph
– Stanmore Station is circled in purple.

These changes will make Stanmore an accessible location for the western corridor.

These changes transform the 1950’s car-centric design focused on through-traffic, into an attractive human-centric commons:

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‘Sydneysiders are transitioning to a digital working-from-home future, but movement data has revealed the scale of this shift is linked to where you live.’ Hanrahan, Nguyen (2020-08-27)

My Quotes

Mathew Hounsell, a transport researcher at the University of Technology Sydney, said the data showed that people in professional jobs who could work from home during the lockdown were continuing to do so.

“This is starting a change that has happened in other places and industries, towards a more distributed digital team. What we’re seeing is essentially a behavioural change that we would expect to continue,” he said.

Hanrahan, Nguyen (2020-08-27)
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“In Adam Ruins Everything, host Adam Conover employs a combination of comedy, history and science to dispel widespread misconceptions about everything we take for granted. A blend of entertainment and enlightenment, Adam Ruins Everything is like that friend who knows a little bit too much about everything and is going to tell you about it… whether you like it or not.”

Why Jaywalking Is a Crime

Adam reveals the derogatory origins of jaywalking and explains how the auto industry made it illegal.

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Rabe, Gladstone(2020-07-16) opened with ‘Public transport users in Sydney are slowly returning with a surge of 10 million commuters in June but experts warn it may take years before passenger numbers go back to pre-coronavirus levels.’

My Quotes

“I don’t think things will ever return to quite what they were,” University of Technology transport expert Mathew Hounsell said.

“There has been a significant behavioural change among the professionals in the CBD, as a lot of people realised they can work from home.”

He added that more people would choose to walk, cycle or drive to work in coming months amid fear of community transmission of COVID-19 on public transport.

Rabe, Gladstone(2020-07-16)

Citation: Rabe, Gladstone(2020-07-16)

Tom Rabe and Nigel Gladstone. 2020-07-16, “’It could take years’: Slow recovery predicted for public transport”, Fairfax Media LtdNine Entertainment Co. https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/it-could-take-years-slow-recovery-predicted-for-public-transport-20200715-p55c91.html

Trams: Rebuilding what was lost

Sydney had one of the world’s largest and most used urban public transport systems. Mathew Hounsell explores Sydney’s old tram system and looks at what inner city councils are interested in resurrecting.

In 1945, the NSW Government op­erated the city’s urban transport network as 291 kilometres of sur­face light rail that served 405 million passengers a year, all while making a profit.

The history of Sydney’s light rail is a fascinating one. Sydney’s first trams were horse drawn, and later cable cars were introduced along the North Sydney line. It was the flexibility and reliability of electric trams that allowed the tram system to take off and saw the first electric power plants built in Sydney, with spare capac­ity for businesses and homes. The network expanded a few kilometres at a time, like a growing tree, except in some circumstances where powerful politicians decided a tram would improve their local streets.

Mathew Hounsell

Read the whole thing in the Inner West Voice.

How does public transport stack up against motorways?

Regardless of how it is financed, all infrastructure is paid for by NSW residents , through either fees or taxes. So we deserve to know whether the government is prioritising projects that give us the greatest bang for our buck, writes Mathew Hounsell.

To move 24,000 people in an hour takes twenty double-deck trains, 100 light rail vehicles, 240 bendy-buses or a ten lane toll road.

The NSW and Commonwealth governments plan to spend $1.26 billion to build a 14 kilometre motorway from the M7 to the proposed airport at Badgerys Creek [1]. A six lane motorway could carry up to 7,200 persons an hour to the new employment centre of Western Sydney at a cost of $90 million per kilometre. Transurban, the remaining Sydney toll road operator, plans to build NorthConnex, a twin three lane, nine kilometre, motorway tunnel for $3 billion – $333 million a kilometre. The proposed WestConnex motorway is estimated to cost at least $15 billion [2].

That 7,200 hourly capacity looks feeble when compared to rail. For example, the Moreton Bay Rail Link (Commonweath and Queensland governments) is costing $1.15 billion [3]. It’s a 12.6 kilometre railway with six stations and twenty-two bridges, most over roads. With modern signalling one such two-track rail line can carry between 36,000 persons an hour, or 48,000 if you’re as ambitious and competent as the French.

Mathew Hounsel

Read the whole thing in the Inner West Voice.