1. Goals, objectives and targets

Transport systems are a central element of Australia’s economic and social systems. They allow the movement of people and goods, giving people and businesses the access they need in their daily lives and activities.

The ATAP Guidelines aim to provide an overall framework and rigorous techniques for planning and assessing transport systems within Australia. The Guidelines provide the basis for sound advice to government decision-makers about the merits of the various actions or initiatives that governments can take in planning, assessing and managing the transport system.

These actions and initiatives consist of a very broad range of options, ranging from strategies, strategic plans, new policies and regulatory changes through to infrastructure projects, both large and small. The term ‘initiative’ as used here covers the complete set of potential actions.

Transport system assessment, planning and management should be undertaken within this broad context and aim to make the best possible contribution to achieving community aspirations such as economic prosperity, social equity, public safety and environmental sustainability.

Defining and using goals and objectives for transport systems (and their components) ensures that proposed transport strategies, policies and other initiatives that flow from them:

  • Reflect the economic, social and environmental goals of all relevant levels of government (including whole-of-government) and society
  • Respond to government priorities
  • Align with the broader strategic directions set for the jurisdiction and for its transport system
  • Support, influence and integrate with current and planned land uses.

High-level goal and objective statements give guidance in choosing the best policies and options. They support a focus on exploring which option or mechanism is best suited to achieve a particular outcome, rather than simply directing decision-making towards investment oriented solutions. They also stimulate strategic thinking and planning, resulting in specific initiatives that are more likely to be considered and developed in a broader and more integrated strategic context.

Step 1 of the Framework involves defining, formulating and integrating goals, objectives and targets/KPIs. This critical first step sets the context for all subsequent steps of work. Figure 1 shows the relationship between goals, objectives and targets/KPIs and the conversion of those goals and objectives into practical transport options for solving identified problems.

A key point to note from the outset is the critical inter-relationship between land use and transport, and the need for close integration between them at all levels of planning. Accordingly, land use objectives are as important as transport system objectives. For convenience, the Guidelines refer mainly to transport system objectives; however, in each case, the importance of both land use and transport objectives is implicitly inferred at the same time.

Figure 1: Goals, objectives, KPIs and the FrameworkGoals, objectives, KPIs and the Framework

Five linked stages comprise Step 1 of the Framework, as shown below. These five stages should be used to guide the development of transport strategies, policies, plans and individual initiatives.

1 Select goals
  • Select high-level goals that are already established in existing government strategies, policies and plans
Section 2.2
2 Define objectives
  • Define transport system objectives that support the high-level goals
  • Consider and assess trade-offs and modify objectives if required
Section 2.3
3 Set targets
  • Establish targets and KPIs for each objective
Sections 2.4 to 2.6
4 Confirm strategic integration
  • Check strategic alignment between goals and objectives
Section 3.1
5 Identify integrated planning opportunities
  • Check goals, objectives and targets are integrated across planning levels*
  • Identify and action opportunities to integrate land use planning
Section 4
Stakeholder and public input Section 5
Stakeholder and community engagement should be undertaken to ensure a robust and transparent process for defining and integrating goals, objectives and targets.

* The planning levels concept and hierarchy are described in F01.