Featured publication

Transit and Urban Renewal Value Creation

Hedonic Price Modelling Assessment of Sydney’s Key Transit and Transit-Oriented Urban Renewal Investments (2000–2014)

LUTI Consulting and Mecone Planning (with support from the NSW Government and the CRCSI) have jointly conducted an integrated land use and transport Hedonic Price Modelling assessment of Sydney’s key transit and transit-oriented urban renewal investments over the period 2000 to 2014.

The LUTI-Mecone study analyses the land value uplift associated with access to transit infrastructure, a change in land use zoning, and a change in allowable development density. The study then presents an argument for integrating transit and urban redevelopment projects to optimise the land market capacity created from infrastructure investments.

The results from the LUTI Mecone study highlight the following:

  • The value created from the investment in public transit varies by mode, with the average heavy rail public transport accessibility benefit across the Sydney Metropolitan Region is 4.5%, with an uplift of up to 50% in some subregions analysed. The value uplift for other transit modes whilst generally positive, varied with respect to its permanency, whilst the average effect of being within 100 metres of a main road is minus 7.6% due to the impact of noise and other transport externalities.
  • In terms of land use planning zones, the Sydney CBD zoning has the highest proportional benefit, followed by the Mixed Use zone and Residential zoned land, with Business and Industrial zoned land valued below Residential. Therefore, significant value can be created for projects if land catchments surrounding new infrastructure are rezoned to their highest and best use for the specific mode and corridor.
  • The increase in development density benefit across the metropolitan region is explained by the Floor Space Ratio (FSR), where every 1:1 increase in FSR equates to a marginal 23.9% increase in land value. The change in FSR across a corridor to take advantage of an increase in accessibility can induce a significant uplift in land value as developers, new residents, and businesses seek to locate themselves near the transit infrastructure.

The LUTI Mecone value creation study is the biggest land market willingness to pay analysis ever undertaken for Australia’s largest city, and builds on years of experience in other cities like Perth, West Australia. For the first time the public and private sectors have an evidence base demonstrating how Sydney’s urban land markets have valued Government’s investment in transport infrastructure and decisions around land use and Floor Space Ratio (FSR) allocations, and from this evidence base economic and financial models can be prepared for potential future integrated land use and transport projects.

Academic publications

Modeling Housing Typologies for Urban Redevelopment Scenario Planning

Trubka, R. and Glackin, S.

Computers, Environment and Urban Systems – forthcoming 2016

Increasing levels of urbanization, combined with growing populations and a need to manage urban redevelopment more sustainably has prompted the need for new tools for urban regeneration in established urban areas. While significant activity is occurring in the areas of volumetric analysis and 3D visualization, utilising these technologies in the development of urban planning tools requires a data schema for defining precinct objects for performance assessment while simultaneously addressing the complexity and interconnected nature of issues relevant to the urban built environment. This paper presents the outcomes of the research and development of a web-based 3D precinct visualization and assessment system, Envision Scenario Planner (ESP), which uses a library of housing typologies to generate easy-to-use, bottom-up, precinct-scale reports on residential infill. The paper illustrates how, through the specification of a residential precinct object data schema and the provision of a set of housing typologies, end users can quickly, and without domain knowledge, generate visualizations and assessments for a variety of housing scenarios, which allows them to determine fit-for-purpose solutions that address a range of issues relevant to contemporary planners and policy makers.

A web-based 3D visualisation and assessment system for urban precinct scenario modelling

By Roman Trubka, Stepehn Glackin, Oliver Lade and Chris Pettit.

ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing – December 2015

Recent years have seen an increasing number of spatial tools and technologies for enabling better decision-making in the urban environment. They have largely arisen because of the need for cities to be more efficiently planned to accommodate growing populations while mitigating urban sprawl, and also because of innovations in rendering data in 3D being well suited for visualising the urban built environment. In this paper we review a number of systems that are better known and more commonly used in the field of urban planning. We then introduce Envision Scenario Planner (ESP), a web-based 3D precinct geodesign, visualisation and assessment tool, developed using Agile and Co-design methods. We provide a comprehensive account of the tool, beginning with a discussion of its design and development process and concluding with an example use case and a discussion of the lessons learned in its development.

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Health, Transport and Urban Planning: Quantifying the Links between Urban Assessment Models and Human Health

Anne Matan, Peter Newman, Roman Trubka, Colin Beattie & Linda Anne Selvey

Urban Policy and Research – February 2015

We developed two simple, effective and consistent methods for predicting human health outcomes from physical activity in a typical urban development at a precinct scale. Considering the two primary transport outputs from an urban assessment model (vehicle kilometres travelled and mode share), we developed two methods using approaches based on the literature linking human health outcomes and transport. The two methods were applied to a case study and generated very similar results, demonstrating how a human health outcome from physical activity rates can be incorporated into an urban planning model and become part of the assessment process for urban development.

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The role of urban form and transit in city car dependence: Analysis of 26 global cities from 1960 to 2000

By James McIntosh, Jeff Kenworthy, Roman Trubka and Peter Newman

Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment – December 2014

Car dependence is in decline in most developed cities, but its cause is still unclear as cities struggle with priorities in urban form and transport infrastructure. This paper draws conclusions from analysis of data in 26 cities over the last 40 years of the 20th century. Statistical modelling techniques are applied to urban transport and urban form data, while examining the influence of region, city archetype and individual fixed effects. Structural equation modelling is employed to address causation and understand the direct and indirect effects of selected parameters on per capita vehicle kilometres travelled (VKT). Findings suggest that, while location effects are important, transit service levels and urban density play a significant part in determining urban car use per capita, and causality does flow from these factors towards a city’s levels of private vehicle travel as well as the level of the provision of road capacity.

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Tax Increment Financing framework for integrated transit and urban renewal projects in car dependent cities

By James McIntosh, Roman Trubka and Peter Newman

Urban Policy and Research – December 2014

Many car-dependent cities have major transit projects stuck in financial and economic assessment due to inadequate links between land use, transport, and funding. This has left most urban transport networks underfunded and requiring significant government support. During this widening transit funding gap, there has been an international increase in demand on transit systems, which is in part a response to the global peak in car use per capita. This paper demonstrates to transit proponents and practitioners how to facilitate infrastructure projects by optimizing induced and activated land-use change. A five-step framework for assessment is proposed that includes assessing the regional and local legislation and regulations to determine what alternative funding opportunities are available, undertaking accessibility beneficiary analysis, analyzing the project-induced land value uplift, developing an alternative funding strategy to implement integrated land-use and transport planning mechanisms, and preparing a procurement and delivery strategy. The proposed assessment framework enables transit business cases to extend project funding for integrated transit and land-use projects, especially in car-dependent cities. This is demonstrated through a case study of Perth, Western Australia.

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A co-design prototyping approach for building a Precinct Planning Tool

C.J. Pettit, S. Glackin, R. Trubka, T. Ngo, O. Lade, P. Newton, and P. Newman

ISPRS Ann. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci. – November 2014

As the world is becoming increasingly urbanized there is a need for more sustainability-oriented planning of our cities. Policy and decision-makers are interested in the use of evidenced based approaches and tools that will support collaborative planning. There are a number of tools in the domain of spatial planning and decision support systems that have been built over the last few decades but the uptake and use of these tools is somewhat limited.  In the context of Australia there is significant urban growth occurring across the major cities and a need to provision planners and developers with precinct planning tools to assist in managing infill and the densification of the existing urban fabric in a carbon constrained economy. In this paper we describe the development of a new precinct planning tool known as the Envision Scenario Planner (ESP), which is being applied initially in two cities, Melbourne and Perth to assist in the urban design and planning of Greyfield sites.  To set the scene in this paper we firstly provide a brief review of the existing state of play of visualization and modelling tools available to urban planners in Australia. The focus on the paper will be to introduce an iterative co-design prototyping approach for developing a best practice precinct planning support tool (ESP) from an earlier tool known as ENVISION. The first step of the approach is an exposure workshop with experts to refine the proposed tool workflow and its functionality. Subsequent iterations of the prototype are then exposed to larger audiences for validation and testing. In this paper we will describe the process and the preliminary findings in implementing the first phase of this iterative co-design prototype approach.

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Can Value Capture work in a car dependent city? Willingness to pay for transit access in Perth, Western Australia Transportation Research

By James McIntosh, Roman Trubka and Peter Newman

Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice – September 2014

This paper investigates the impact of transit on urban land markets in the highly car dependent corridors of Perth with a focus on where new fast rail transit services have recently been built. It determines people’s willingness to pay for transit access within different pedestrian catchments for each of the corridors based on hedonic price modelling using land value data on over 460,000 households. The case study uses cross sectional and panel data hedonic price modelling methodology for the calculation of willingness to pay for transit. It finds that land market increases of up to 40% can be achieved, and is particularly relevant to car dependent cities looking to capture the financial and economic value created to build transit extensions or entirely new systems, thus making a strong case for value capture funding of transit projects into car dependent suburbs and the potential for density increases near stations.

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Framework for Land Value Capture from the investment in Transit in Car Dependent Cities

By James McIntosh, Peter Newman and Roman Trubka

Journal of Transport and Land Use – March 2014

Many car-dependent cities have major transit projects stuck in financial and economic assessment due to inadequate links between land use, transport, and funding. This has left most urban transport networks underfunded and requiring significant government support. During this widening transit funding gap, there has been an international increase in demand on transit systems, which is in part a response to the global peak in car use per capita. This paper demonstrates to transit proponents and practitioners how to facilitate infrastructure projects by optimizing induced and activated land-use change. A five-step framework for assessment is proposed that includes assessing the regional and local legislation and regulations to determine what alternative funding opportunities are available, undertaking accessibility beneficiary analysis, analyzing the project-induced land value uplift, developing an alternative funding strategy to implement integrated land-use and transport planning mechanisms, and preparing a procurement and delivery strategy. The proposed assessment framework enables transit business cases to extend project funding for integrated transit and land-use projects, especially in car-dependent cities. This is demonstrated through a case study of Perth, Western Australia.

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Why Fast Trains Work: An Assessment of a Fast Regional Rail System in Perth, Australia

By James McIntosh, Peter Newman & Garry Glazebrook

 Journal of Transportation Technologies – May 2013

Perth’s new 72 km long Southern Rail System opened in 2007. With a maximum speed of 137 km/hr and an average speed of almost 90 km/hr this system acts more like a new high speed rail than a suburban rail system, which in Australia typically averages around 40 km/hr for an all-stops services. The Southern Rail Line was very controversial when being planned as the urban areas served are not at all typical of those normally provided with rail but instead were highly car dependent and scattered low density land uses. Nevertheless it has been remarkably successful, carrying over 70,000 people per day (five times the patronage on the express buses it replaced) and has reached the patronage levels predicted for 2021 a decade ahead of time. The reasons for this success are analyzed and include well-designed interchanges, careful integration of bus services, the use of integrated ticketing and fares without transfer penalties and, crucially the high speed of the system when compared to competing car based trips. The Southern Rail Line in effect explodes the current paradigm of transfer penalties, exposing this as a myth. The lessons for transport planning in low density cities are significant, and are explored further in the paper.

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Greening the Greyfields: Unlocking the Redevelopment Potential of the Middle Suburbs in Australian Cities

Newton, Peter; Newman, Peter; Glackin, Stephen; Trubka, Roman.

Proceedings of World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology – Nov 2012

Pressures for urban redevelopment are intensifying in all large cities. A new logic for urban development is required – green urbanism – that provides a spatial framework for directing population and investment inwards to brownfields and greyfields precincts, rather than outwards to the greenfields. This represents both a major opportunity and a major challenge for city planners in pluralist liberal democracies. However, plans for more compact forms of urban redevelopment are stalling in the face of community resistance. A new paradigm and spatial planning platform is required that will support timely multi-level and multi-actor stakeholder engagement, resulting in the emergence of consensus plans for precinct-level urban regeneration capable of more rapid implementation. Using Melbourne, Australia as a case study, this paper addresses two of the urban intervention challenges – where and how – via the application of a 21st century planning tool ENVISION created for this purpose.

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The Costs of Urban Sprawl –   Infrastructure and Transportation

Roman Trubka, Peter Newman, and Darren Bilsborough

Environment Design Guide – April 2010

This is one of three companion papers taken from a study that assesses the comparative costs of urban redevelopment with the costs of greenfield development. This paper shows that substantial costs could be saved in infrastructure and transport if urban redevelopment became the focus. The second paper GEN 83: The Costs of Urban Sprawl – Predicting Transport Greenhouse Gases from Urban Form Parameters assesses how these different urban typologies perform with respect to greenhouse gases. The third paper GEN 85: The Costs of Urban Sprawl – Physical Activity Links to Healthcare Costs and Productivity discusses the health costs and productivity losses that can be linked to human inactivity in suburban living. The savings in transport and infrastructure for 1000 dwellings are in the order of $86 million up-front for infrastructure and $250 million for annualised transportation costs over 50 years.

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The Costs of Urban Sprawl –   Predicting Transport Greenhouse Gases from Urban Form Parameters

Roman Trubka, Peter Newman, and Darren Bilsborough

Environment Design Guide – April 2010

This paper assesses how these different urban typologies perform with respect to greenhouse gases.  The redevelopment option in Australian cities is around 4.4 tonnes less greenhouse gas intensive per household per annum than greenfield development. The study shows how greenhouse gases can be calculated for any development based on simple physical planning parameters such as the distance to the CBD (a reflection of distance travelled and a proxy for density) and transit accessibility. Although the actual costs of greenhouse gas are small the significance of this work is that governments will need to demonstrate how they are reducing climate change impacts and thus greenfields developments will find it hard to pass this fundamental criteria of assessment.

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The Costs of Urban Sprawl – Physical Activity Links to Healthcare Costs and Productivity

Roman Trubka, Peter Newman, and Darren Bilsborough

Environment Design Guide – April 2010

This paper discusses the health and productivity benefits of active-travel associated with the different urban forms due to levels of density, connectivity, and variety in amenity. It shows healthcare savings related to active forms of travel over a 50-year urban lifetime are quite small at $2.3 million for 1000 dwellings. But if these more walkable developments are pursued then the benefits to employment productivity are large, estimated to have a present value of $34 million. This is a substantial benefit that is comparable in scale to the savings in transport and infrastructure, as well as the social costs of greenhouse gases, and should provide a critical input to urban planning decision-making.

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