A map of the proposed rail loop. (Source: Victoria State Government)
Currently Melbourne’s train network is monocentric (all lines go through the city), whereas major cities like London and Tokyo have a polycentric transport system. Only 5% of travel in Melbourne is on public transport, compared to 20% in London. The benefits of a polycentric train network are clear: With efficient public transport, London has been able to introduce congestion taxes and exclusion zones in city centres, cutting emissions and congestion while boosting the use of efficient public transit.
The opportunities for housing and other development around these new centres are also significant, and of course the projected cost of the project is impressive: around $50 billion from the most recent figures.
Sustainable large-scale infrastructure projects start with robust location data
Building this scope of project begs the question: what new technologies are available to governments, urban planners, and construction and engineering firms to ensure new projects are viable, and will meet the serious demands required of them?
One technology that’s underpinning the modern infrastructure pipeline is current, wide-scale 3D reality models of major urban centres. By offering a holistic view of an entire city’s footprint rather than just its CBD, 3D reality models have the potential to maximise efficiency and investments by allowing all stakeholders to visualise what’s happening at each stage of a project, including the wider context of the surrounding communities and the built environment. What’s more, photo-realistic, high-res 3D models help planners make decisions based on a single, reliable source of geo-truth, instead of wasting time attempting to align disparate datasets.
Stakeholders across a large-scale project benefit from current, high-res 3D datasets. Urban planners need accurate data to help them evaluate the potential community impact of a new infrastructure project. The accurate modelling of noise propagation, solar irradiation output, and predicted traffic patterns depends on the accuracy and currency of the datasets they're using. Government agencies rely on these models to share their vision for new projects with the larger community, and reinforce engagement activities. When it comes time to bid on a new project, construction and engineering companies need reliable 3D models to accurately predict materials and costs so they can submit competitive plans.
Another critical difference in wide-scale 3D datasets is the context surrounding the project corridors. Often, governments and construction companies rely on a single imagery dataset captured at the beginning of the project, which is never updated, even when the project spans many years, and which is limited to the confines of the land area directly involved in the development. This is a risky proposition at best, given that within six months, there are already likely to be new buildings, or even fresh transit projects underway. With regularly refreshed, wide-scale 3D models, stakeholders can understand change as the project evolves, and understand the impact of their project not just along the corridor, but across the entire city.
This scale of context also helps planners avoid costly blunders and allows developers to respond to changing environments as the project progresses. In short, the success of long-term infrastructure developments depends on frequently refreshed, wide-scale location data that enables agile responsiveness.
If liveability is the heart of a great city, density presents a challenge, not an insurmountable obstacle. Properly managed, with informed and responsive long-term planning using the best possible location data, growing populations present a unique opportunity to shape our future cities with greater knowledge, insight, and communication than ever before.
Learn more about wide-scale 3D: download the product brief.