Transport in Adelaide
The metropolitan area of Adelaide, South Australia is served by a wide variety of transport. Being centrally located on the Australian mainland, it forms a hub for east-west and north-south routes. The road network includes major expressways such as the Southern Expressway, the South Eastern Freeway, the Port River Expressway, the Northern Expressway and the under construction South Road Superway. The city also has a public transport system managed by Adelaide Metro, consisting of a contracted bus system including the O-Bahn Busway (a guided busway), six metropolitan railway lines, and the Glenelg-Adelaide-Hindmarsh Tram.
Road transport in Adelaide has historically been comparatively easier than many of the other Australian cities, with a well-defined city layout and wide multiple-lane roads from the beginning of its development. Adelaide has been called a "twenty-minute city", with commuters having been able to travel from metropolitan outskirts to the city proper in twenty minutes or less. However, the RAA now considers these roads are inadequate to cope with Adelaide's growing road traffic volumes.
In 1964 the 'M.A.T.S.' plan (Metropolitan Adelaide Transport Study) was commissioned by the S.A. Government. It examined establishing a large network of highways along Adelaide's main urban transport corridors. The plan went as far as the State Government of the day purchasing land along Adelaide's major roads, in preparation for highway construction. However, later State Governments abandoned the plan during the 1970s. The consequences of the political rejection of this plan are now being realised as increased traffic has caused travel times to increase, and congestion on main thoroughfares such as South Road has become a daily reality.
Adelaide is connected to Port Wakefield Road and the Sturt Highway in the north, and the South Eastern Freeway in the South East. The Southern Expressway acts as a bypass for congested South Road in the southern suburbs of Adelaide. The expressway is unique for changing direction according to peak flow.
The focus of Adelaide's public transport system is the large fleet of diesel and natural gas powered buses. The majority of services terminate at the city-centre or at a suburban interchange. Buses get priority on many roads and intersections, with dedicated bus lanes and 'B'-light bus-only phases at many traffic lights.
The Adelaide Metro buses are operated by:
- Torrens Transit - East-West contract area (includes City Free)
- SouthLink - Outer South, Outer North and Hills contract areas.
- Light-City Buses - North-South and Outer North East contract areas (includes the 300 suburban connector and O-Bahn services).
The O-Bahn Busway is one of a few guided busways in the world. With large growth in the North-eastern Suburbs of Adelaide in the 1970s and 1980s, Adelaide was faced with a transport dilemma. The Adelaide O-Bahn was constructed in 1986 in response, after beating competing proposals of expanded rail and road networks. (One of the competing proposals was to build an Adelaide underground, but proved to be cost-ineffective in comparison).
Interstate bus routes to and from all the major Australian towns and cities connect to Adelaide. The main terminus for intra and interstate coach-liners is the Franklin Street Coach Terminal at Franklin and Bowen Streets in the city-centre. Beginning in 2005, the terminal is to undergo a complete $25 million reconstruction, in conjunction with the much larger $375 million former Balfours site redevelopment – the end-product being a new multistorey bus station and various residential and commercial towers.
The Tindo ("Tindo", Kaurna word for sun) solar bus is an experimental battery electric vehicle that operates in Adelaide. It uses 100% solar power, is equipped with a regenerative braking system and air conditioning and can carry up to 40 persons, 25 of whom are seated. Hailed as the world's first bus service powered exclusively by solar power, the bus service connects Adelaide City and North Adelaide as part of Adelaide City's sustainable transport agenda. The Tindo is part of Adelaide's Free bus services, operated under the call signs, 98A and 98C (until very recently known as the Adelaide Connector bus service). Other Free services in Adelaide include the City Loop, operating under callsigns 99C and 99A, formerly known as 99C only. The 99B, the Beeline, was another free service which ran until 2007, when the Glenelg tram line extension was finally inaugurated.
While Adelaide's suburban passenger-rail network does not suffer the chronic delays of its inter-state counterparts, it is comparatively under-developed; Adelaide is the last mainland capital with a non-electric network, with a 10-year $2 billion transport program commencing in 2008-09 to rebuild and electrify the network. Adelaide is also the midpoint of the long distance Indian Pacific service between Perth and Sydney, as well as the terminus of The Overland to Melbourne and The Ghan to Alice Springs and Darwin.
In late 2005 the State Government released a State Infrastructure Plan. This saw a A$56 million upgrade of the Adelaide's sole remaining tramway, from the city centre to the historic beachside resort of Glenelg. The tram line was extended from the city centre to a new terminus in the inner north-west suburb of Hindmarsh. There are now fifteen Flexity Classic Light Rail vehices and six Alstom Citadis (model 302) in service with the older H-type trams being used only for special and tourist-oriented occasions. Further plans exist to extend the tram to Port Adelaide and Semaphore. A CBD tram loop too, is being considered and the latest Adelaide Airport master plan has also revealed a tram extension to the airport in the near future.
The Adelaide Airport, located at West Beach, is Australia's newest and most advanced airport terminal and is designed to serve in excess of 6.8 million passengers annually. The new dual international/domestic terminal replaced the old and ageing terminals known locally as the 'tin sheds', and incorporates new state-of-the-art features, such as glass aerobridges and the ability to cater for the new Airbus A380. The airport is designed to handle 27 aircraft simultaneously and it is capable of processing 3,000 passengers per hour. It was officially opened in a ceremony in October 2005 by South Australian Governor Marjorie Jackson-Nelson, Premier of South Australia Mike Rann and Prime Minister of Australia John Howard. Due to problems with the new refuelling system, the new airport terminal was not used for interstate domestic flights until 17 February 2006.
- Adelaide Metro
- Buses in Adelaide
- Railways in Adelaide
- Trams in Adelaide
- List of Adelaide railway stations
- List of public transport routes in Adelaide
Superseded Transport Authorities
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