F0.1 Policy Choices and System Planning

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At a glance

‘Policy Choices and System Planning’ is a critical up-front phase of the ATAP Guidelines Framework. Along with the setting of goals and transport system objectives (Step 1, see F1), this phase provides the direction-setting guidance for all major transport system decisions.

The Policy Choices and System Planning phase involves repeated application of the ‘objective-problem-option’ focus (Steps 1B to 3). System planning involves developing integrated strategies and plans for a hierarchy of planning levels: jurisdiction(s), markets, city and region, network, corridor and area, route and link. The resulting suite of integrated strategies, policies and plans provide a big-picture, top-down view of the direction of transport development. From these flow ‘identified ideas’ for transport initiatives, to be further investigated in subsequent steps.

Strategic transport policy choices made by governments can be either an output of, or an input to, systems planning, or both. Which of these apply can vary with the different institutional settings between jurisdictions.

Planning needs to be multi-modal, and consistent and integrated within and across the planning levels. Integration of transport and land use is a critical requirement at all levels of planning.

The network strategy is shaped within the context of multi-modal options, infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions and funding settings. Over time, it facilitates consistency of approach across the corridors or areas and transport modes that comprise the network.

System planning is undertaken through a combination of studies and stakeholder engagement. Data collection and analysis provide essential input into strategy development. Network, corridor and area assessments generate key information on factors such as land use and economic activity. These factors in turn drive transport demand, traffic composition, demand forecasts and the condition of the existing system.

Consultation with stakeholders and between different levels of government is also fundamental in policy choices and system planning.