Travel demand management

Your city is changing

The NSW Government has developed and implemented an integrated Travel Demand Management (TDM) approach in order to support the changes in the Sydney city centre. The three components of the TDM approach are:

  • Network management (‘Keeping Sydney Moving’)
  • Capacity Creation (more infrastructure and services)
  • Behaviour change (the Travel Choices Sydney city centre project).

Capacity creation: more infrastructure and services

Since the release of the first version of the 2013 Sydney City Centre Access Strategy a number of transport initiatives and projects have been completed in response to the changing city centre. Additionally, multiple new transport projects have been announced and will be underway over the next five to ten years in order to adapt to the expected changes.

Sydney City Centre Access 2018 update aims to provide an insight on recently completed projects, the impacts of new projects and developments and further initiatives to provide the most efficient, reliable and safe access to, from and within the Sydney city centre.

Since the release of the Sydney City Centre Access Strategy in 2013, the following transport related projects been announced or completed. See our achievements.

We will actively manage the demand and disruption on our traffic and transport network and will continue to respond to initiatives.

Network Management: Keeping Sydney moving

Transport Coordination (TC) was established within Transport for NSW in June 2017, to manage the transport network by enhancing our ability to effectively plan for and manage disruption, improve real-time management of the transport network and deliver customer information. A Coordinator General was appointed to oversee the TC including overseeing the planning and operations of traffic, transport and communications during the transformation of the Sydney city centre and South East.

TC includes the following branches that work collaboratively:

  • Sydney Coordination Office (SCO) - Our CBD Transport Taskforce was established in 2014 as part of a key recommendation from the 2013 Strategy. In May 2015, the Taskforce was incorporated into the SCO, with the responsibility for coordinating all traffic and transport in the Sydney city centre and to keep the city moving during the construction of the light rail. The scope for the SCO was extended in 2016, to include the management of other major project interfaces such as WestConnex, NorthConnex, the Sydney Metro, Macquarie Park and Parramatta. This expansion in its geographical area was an endorsement of the SCO's success with its work in the Sydney city centre. SCO continues to manage traffic and transport disruptions associated with major transport and road infrastructure projects across the Sydney Metropolitan area.
  • Transport Management Centre (TMC) - The TMC’s purpose is to lead planning and coordination for the proactive 24/7 real-time management of the transport network (including public transport), enabling seamless, safe and reliable journeys for our customers. The TMC also works closely with event organisers and venue operators to develop and implement appropriate traffic and transport management plans to minimise impacts.


We will continue to manage disruption across the Sydney transport network.

Travel Choices

The Travel Choices program was established in August 2015 to provide information to individuals, businesses and organisations on the changes to the transport network and enable them to change their travel behaviour for trips to, in and around the Sydney city centre. The program also provides support to help shape longer term, sustainable travel behaviour change. The aim of the program is to reduce private vehicle peak hour travel to and through the Sydney city centre by 5-15%, between 2015 and 2018 and beyond the opening date of the CBD and South East Light Rail (CSELR) project. The program is made up of the Tomorrow’s Sydney Travel Choices above the line advertising campaign and the below the line engagement.

The Travel Choices CBD project is a free resource to help individuals, businesses and organisations prepare for and adapt to the changes in Sydney’s transport network. The program is an intelligence led behaviour change program that uses data and network information to understand where there are current and forecast pressures on the transport network. This information is used to target interventions aimed at redistributing movement to different modes, times and routes or reducing travel on the network by promoting remote and flexible working options.

Since the inception of the project, there have been great successes in changing travel behaviour of individuals, businesses and organisations throughout the city centre. This has been achieved by encouraging people to change their behaviour based on the principles of the Four R’s: Remode, Retime, Reroute and Reduce.

The advertising campaign has successfully raised awareness of planned works with more than 70 per cent of Sydneysiders aware of the infrastructure changes. Campaign results have shown that it has lifted awareness significantly and encouraged people to actively plan and take actions to minimise the impact of disruption. Across all measures those that have seen the campaign respond on average 20 per cent more positively with greater support for transport construction amongst those that have seen the campaign despite being affected by construction.

Travel Choices has been implemented across the Sydney city centre, reaching 176,000 customers and engaging with over 660 organisations to support long term travel behavioural change.

Opal data has enabled us to quantify the changes that have occurred since the launch of Travel Choices. The data in the visualisations on this website compares Opal data from January to June 2015 to January to June 2018, and shows the positive impact Travel Choices has had on changing people’s travel behaviour. Moving forward, access to Opal data will continue to help us in planning and implementing transport services for customers.

We will continue to work with businesses and individuals to support behavioural change.


The remode principle centres on supporting our customers to understand alternative transport modes for their journeys that provide cheaper, healthier, faster and more sustainable options. This concentrates on getting drivers out of their cars and switching to public transport and/or active transport. Walking and cycling as transport modes is promoted.

A high level of success has been achieved for remoding, with customers increasingly choosing public transport options.

Train, bus and light rail have all seen an increase in patronage from Jan-June 2015 to Jan-June 2018.

Train, bus and light rail have experienced an increase in patronage during this 5pm-8pm period outbound.


The retime principle of the Travel Choices program focuses on avoiding travel during peak times, especially between the hours of 8am-9am and 5pm-6pm. Benefits for customers could include a reduction in travel time and more comfortable journeys. Real-time travel apps assist customers in finding the most suitable time to travel, for the most comfortable journey, particularly in shoulder and off peak periods. Off-peak travel may also provide travel cost savings with off-peak Opal fares.

Our data demonstrates that there has been a reduction in people travelling in peak time and successfully retiming. This is outlined in the following key points:

  • Total customer inbound journeys have increased with customers retiming to different periods in the morning peak (5am - 10am).
  • For Jan-June 2018, the morning peak (5am - 10am) has shown an average reduction of 12% for inbound vehicles into the Sydney city centre, equivalent to 7000 to 8000 less vehicles travelling to the Sydney city centre.
  • Vehicle numbers into the Sydney city centre have reduced by 6.5% throughout the day. 


As part of the 2013 Sydney City Centre Access Strategy and construction of the light rail project, the allocation of space for certain Sydney city centre streets was reconsidered to cater for changes in the bus, bicycle, pedestrian and private vehicles network and a hierarchy produced.

As part of the Travel Choices program, users of the Sydney city centre road network are encouraged to use the city’s preferred driving routes on the edge of the city and to avoid driving through the Sydney city centre wherever possible. Customers are also encouraged to remode (use public transport options rather than drive), which, in conjunction with ‘rerouting’, frees up more space on the road network during the peak periods to support more efficient bus and bicycle journeys.

Preferred driving routes around the Sydney city centre were established, with supporting infrastructure and capacity upgrades.


The reduce principle focuses on reducing the number of private vehicles travelling to, through and out of the Sydney city centre in peak times and encouraging better use of public transport. Examples of policies and procedures are outlined in the Travel Choices Flexible Working Toolkit.

Where appropriate, transport customers in the city centre are encouraged to explore alternative working arrangements such as:

  • Using teleconference facilities.
  • Working from home for part of the day or working remotely, to avoid travelling in the peak.
  • Carpooling or car sharing.

Overall inbound and outbound traffic demands on the Sydney city centre core over a 24 hour period, from 2015 to 2018, have decreased by an overall average of 6.5%.

There has also been a shift with more vehicles travelling in and out of the city centre outside of the 8 – 9am peak hour.

Reduced vehicle numbers during the morning peak.


Freight and servicing includes the delivery of goods (freight) and the provision of business/trade related activities (servicing) to support businesses and individuals. A reliable and efficient supply of goods and services to businesses and residents in the Sydney city is vital to support these activities.

With goods and servicing operators often competing in peak times to utilise the Sydney city centre transport network and kerbside space, this needs to be carefully managed to ensure the city’s place making objectives of considering people and amenity are met.

There is an additional challenge to meet these supply and servicing demands during the major construction of the CBD and South East Light Rail, other major commercial and residential developments, and, into the future, construction of the Sydney Metro.

Working with the Freight Servicing sector we have implemented retiming, remoding and courier hub initiatives to maintain efficiency of service at times when there is a constrained network.