Dr Michelle Zeibots explains why so many Fs for Level of Service in EIS is a very bad sign

Dr Michelle Zeibots is a transport planner, specialising in the analysis of sustainable urban passenger transport systems. Michelle works at UTS at both the Institute for Sustainable Futures and in the Faculty of Engineering & Information Technology. She lectures and researches in the field of transportation engineering.

Yesterday, she published a post on her blog Letters of Transit which explains a term that regularly appears in the Westconnex EIS and business case – levels of service

The Level Of Service (LOS) framework is used to measure the performance of both roads and public transport services using a scale that moves from A to B, C, D, E and F. A is at the end of the scale that is meant to be good, while F is at the end that’s bad and meant to indicate system failure.

She concludes:

In the case of the M4 sections of WestConnex, they basically show that there is no or little improvement in congestion for many sections, and for any transport professional this sets off serious alarm bells.

Read her blog and you will see how many Fs will still be in the zone of the M4 East. Take for instance, Great North Road/Ramsay Street intersection or Parramatta Road/Hume Highway, they’ll both be F in 2031 with Westconnex.

This sounds really bad. Surely we are not going to spend $17 billion to have different cars sitting in the same traffic jams they are sitting in now. We must look more seriously at how public transport and traffic management can be used to get cars off the road.

Traffic Jam

Chris Standen’s Submission to Westconnex M4 East EIS : 49 issues with Traffic and Transport assessment

(Ed: This submission is by transport planner Chris Standen, who is currently completing a doctorate in transport economics at the University of Sydney. For more on Chris, see below. Readers will note that Chris has many questions for the M4 East Traffic Modellers. The People’s EIS are keen to hear the answers. We note that Chris Standen’s submission to EIS may have been slightly updated before it was finally submitted and we will publish the final version later)


1) I strongly object to the M4 East project, and to the broader WestConnex scheme.

2) The EIS has failed to model the impacts of implementing the proposed project (M4 East) relative to not implementing the proposed project (the ‘future do minimum’ scenario). The ‘future do something’ scenarios, on which the traffic, air quality, health and greenhouse modelling is based, include the M4 East project plus another uncommitted project to convert kerbside general traffic lanes on Parramatta Road to bus priority. With these additional bus lanes, the capacity of Parramatta Road would be significantly reduced and traffic volumes would fall accordingly, with drivers opting to use the M4 East tunnel instead. As such, the traffic volumes for the M4 East tunnel have been dramatically overestimated, and the traffic volumes for Parramatta Road have been dramatically underestimated in the ‘future do something’ scenarios.
The impacts of the project as proposed by the proponent (and as defined in Section 5 of the EIS), that is, the M4 East Tunnel with no new priority bus lanes on Parramatta Road, has not been presented in the EIS, as required by the SEARs.

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Submission by Sharon Laura of Haberfield

Few people know more about the impact of Westconnex than Haberfield resident Sharon Laura. Her home in Haberfield would be surrounded by massive construction sites should the M4 East be allowed to go ahead. Drawing on her long experience with social and health issues, Sharon has met, talked and provided support to hundreds of residents along the project route, including tenants and owners who are deeply distressed at having their homes taken off them with such short notice to leave. She is a spokesperson for the Haberfield Westconnex Action Group and has attended lots of EIS and information sessions where she has tried to get answers to her many questions. This is just part of her submission. Sub headings and some emphases have been added by People’s EIS editor

Sharon Laura ( sitting) at Stop Westconnex protest with neighbours. September, 2015
Sharon Laura ( sitting) at Stop Westconnex protest with neighbours. September, 2015

I write to submit in relation to the Environmental Impact Statement for the WestConnex M4 East project. I am opposed to both the M4 East project and all other proposed stages of WestConnex. I request a response to my concerns outlined in this submission. (20151030 SL Final Part A)

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Narrow interests plus public transport failure behind Westconnex M4 East – Lyall Kennedy Submission Part 2

(Ed: This is Part 2 of Transport Economist Lyall Kennedy’s submission to the EIS. Kennedy is a transport economist and ex Mayor of Ashfield Council. Part One is here)

What came first – WestConnex or the Strategic Plans

There is a requirement for the EIS that the proponent’s proposal is consistent with all Sydney’s strategic planning instruments. Requiring this project to be consistent with all strategic planning instruments sounds reasonable until you realise that all the plans were rewritten in 2012/2013 to place WestConnex at the centre of their transport strategies.

Up until 2012, metro strategy development in NSW was based on developing the broad strategy planning objectives and then discussing options to meet these strategic objectives before proposing individual projects/actions. Linking the M4 with the M5, as proposed by WestConnex, was never included as a project to realise previous Metropolitan Strategies.

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Comments on Air Quality Impact Statement

By Kerry Barlow

The Air Quality Impact statement is in Appendix H (This will shortly be published on this site.)

Executive Summary:

  • this Air Quality Impact Statement relies too heavily on the WestConnex Road Traffic Model (WRTM) forecast of reduced traffic on Parramatta Road for its claim that there will be Continue reading

Does Westconnex meet its core objectives ?

Some contributors have drawn the attention of the People’s EIS to the core objectives of the Westconnex M4 East project. They argue that we should assess the project against them rather than on a topic by topic basis. This is another approach which seems worthwhile.

The objectives are set out in the Executive Summary which we Continue reading

EIS admits deterioration in Parramatta Road traffic after M4 East

Nearly all other claims in the EIS depend for their validity of the traffic analysis. For this reason, the analysis of the traffic section is crucial. This article by the public transport advocacy group Ecotransit Sydney is republished with their permission.

Twenty years of failed promises

Twenty years ago the Greiner and Fahey Governments claimed construction of the M4 missing link and the M5 would significantly cut travel times and reduce congestion. Continue reading

Public transport group EcoTransit says WestConnex is $15 billion down a hole

Public transport advocacy group EcoTransit Sydney today published 50,000 copies of a newspaper about the WestConnex project that will be distributed free to communities across Sydney over the coming week.

The EcoTransit team claim that the WestConnex would be the biggest underground motorway in the world and per kilometre, the most expensive. Continue reading

Short submission prepared for Leichhardt residents

(Editor: One purpose of the The People’s EIS is to provide the public with resources that will assist in making submissions to the EIS. It’s impossible for most people to trawl through the vast amounts of information, let alone in the short time available. If you follow our commentaries, you can begin drafting your own submission by cutting and pasting comments that you believe are significant or with which you agree. You can make more than one submission. After you have prepared your submission, share it with friends and family and encourage them to use it or changing it according to their own views. Today, we received a short submission that will be distributed in Leichhardt tonight. You could use this submission as a starter for your own submission. We welcome submissions to our site, big or small.)

If you are making an online submission, here is the Department of Planning link Continue reading