Sydney Needs Smarter Public Transport for Smarter Workers

May 27th, 2014

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The Sydney Morning Herald’s economic writer Matt Wade believes that poor public transport could cost Sydney heavily in the long run. Research shows that mass transit systems support the successful development and growth of a knowledge economy.

In knowledge industries, the sharing of information, development of new ideas, and finalisation of deals – all high-value activities –rely on face-to-face contact. An accessible and efficient public transport – not roads for private transit – allows workers this face-to-face contact, says Tim Williams, chief executive of the Committee for Sydney.

For a services-driven economy such as Sydney’s, where manufacturing has not been the major output industry since the 1990s, supporting high-value service industries such as the financial sector must be a chief priority. Yet, Sydney still lacks a sufficient public transport system.

To continue supporting growth for Sydney means supporting knowledge-intensive companies, which attract highly educated workers and create extra employment across professional and other industries.

Sydney has an enormous task ahead, with financing being the biggest challenge. According to PricewaterhouseCooper’s 2012 report, Sydney ranked fourth-last on public transport and infrastructure in a survey of 27 major cities. Wade suggests that the proceeds from privatising electricity poles and wires could be diverted towards new public transportation links.