Can River Ferries Deliver Smart Growth? Experience of CityCats in Brisbane, Australia
Brisbane introduced catamaran river ferries (CityCats) in 1996 to help re-orient the city to its river, to encourage inner-city densification, and to spur changes in attitudes towards public transportation. The Brisbane ferry network has grown significantly over the past fourteen years and is now a key commuter and tourist transport mode that in 2008 carried 6.28 million passengers, servicing 23 locations throughout the city. Two new ferry terminals will be built over coming years with private land developers contributing partial funding for one terminal and total funding for the other. Whilst it would appear that the CityCats have been used successfully to achieve transit (or ferry) oriented development, a review of key transport and land use planning policy documents finds that the CityCats have not been used strategically to achieve TOD. This suggests that the relationship between the ferries and urban development has been more pragmatic and coincidental, whilst broader strategic planning has been focused more on general Smart Growth principles and transport planning and TOD policy has mainly centered on rail and buses. In the case of the two new ferry terminals, the developments that surround them will not be dependent on the ferries for their success - their riverfront location alone ensures this. As with previous nodes on the CityCat network, the primary motivation for developer funding of ferry terminals is as a marketing tool to increase sales.
Transportation Research Record
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Urban Analysis and Development