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Case Study

Sydney CBD and South East Light Rail

Moving tram

The Sydney CBD and South East Light Rail (CSELR) project will introduce a 12-kilometre light rail service from Circular Quay to Kingsford and Randwick. 

The situation

Over half a million trips are made into Sydney’s city centre per weekday, with around 200,000 of these occurring during the morning peak, most of whom are carried on trains or buses. The buses are overcrowded, unreliable and cause congestion in the CBD. This congestion constrains growth and productivity and degrades the amenity of central Sydney. In addition, there is insufficient and unreliable access to key destinations within the inner south east, including Moore Park, the University of NSW and Randwick Health Precinct.

The CSELR will introduce a 12-kilometre light rail service from Circular Quay to Kingsford and Randwick. It will facilitate and support reorganisation of bus services within the CBD and the south-east region and specifically the way buses run through the CBD, which in turn supports the development of a pedestrian boulevard along George Street. Together, these projects will bring significant change, not just to transport users but to the urban development and economic pulse of the city.

As the centrepiece of the Sydney City Centre Access Strategy and the project upon which all other critical initiatives relied, it was critical to develop the CSELR business case in an extremely short timeframe to enable the government to proceed to delivery with confidence and as soon as possible.

Our approach

Advisian acted as the Business Case Manager for the CSELR Project, which involved coordinating and critically reviewing all the inputs into an integrated and coherent justification for the project, and demonstrating that it could be delivered. These disciplines canvassed transport operations, rolling stock, economic and financial, urban renewal, sustainability, environmental management, risk, operations and capital costs, procurement and stakeholders.

As the Business Case Manager, we identified requirements, oversaw their production and critically reviewed the inputs to the overall business case for submission and approval through TfNSW and NSW Treasury. A key part of this role was to manage the TfNSW Final Business Case Assurance (Gateway) Review.

Advisian was also engaged on a number of roles supporting the business case which involved:

  • Leading the Shadow Operations team including specifying customer, transport operations and rolling stock requirements
  • Developing the delivery strategy
  • Independent review of capital costs
  • Development and management of third party agreements with utilities and participating stakeholders
  • Providing commercial and transaction support
  • Preparation and coordination of documentation to support the TfNSW Assurance Review – Gate 3 Final Business Case

 

Large-scale projects are fragile and can be sensitive to seemingly small decisions that can significantly erode benefits over time. Benefits management is an ongoing process that ensures decisions taken at each project stage are not only technically and commercially prudent, but also set the project on course for delivering at least the value on which economic justification was predicated.

Results

Strategic scope framework
Advisian developed a strategic scope framework that resolved the complexity and interdependence with other integrated transport initiatives in central Sydney. This proved crucial in providing clear definition of the scope to stakeholders with competing interests; and clarifying the basis of the business case/funding ask and the economic appraisal.

Change management and benefits realisation strategy

Advisian also developed a change management and benefits realisation strategy that clarified governance and accountability issues and highlighted their importance to achieving the intended benefits. Large-scale projects are fragile and can be sensitive to seemingly small decisions that can significantly erode benefits over time. Benefits management is an ongoing process that ensures decisions taken at each project stage are not only technically and commercially prudent, but also set the project on course for delivering at least the value on which economic justification was predicated. This strategy that Advisian prepared showed how benefits needed to be managed strategically and dynamically throughout the life of the project.

Commendation for its appraisal, clarity, narrative and robustness

The business case won commendation for its appraisal, clarity, narrative and robustness. The business case was also delivered in an extremely short time frame, which was testament to Advisian’s decisiveness, collaborative management style, foresight and deep knowledge of transport and business cases.

The Assurance (Gateway) review team commended the team on the quality, clarity and comprehensiveness of the documentation assembled for their team.

Funding and approval

The project received funding and approval to proceed to implementation.

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