Perth’s top 5 transit-oriented development locations revealed

As train access increasingly shapes Australia’s property landscape, a new report unveiled the top five priority locations for transit-oriented development (TOD) in Perth.

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The Property Council of Australia (PCA) assessed and scored locations in the western capital against multiple factors to determine the best candidates for TOD, a planning approach that focuses on creating walkable communities centred on efficient public transportation systems.

Considering key factors such as housing, movement, amenities, employment, and urban ecology, the report identified five standout choices for fostering a thriving TOD ecosystem, which included Leederville, Cottesloe, Maylands, Bayswater, and Burswood.

Executive director of Property Council WA Sandra Brewer said the report emphasises the importance of constructing housing and amenities around existing public transport systems to accommodate population growth and meet residents’ preferences for desirable suburbs.

“Transit-oriented developments play a critical role in improving connectivity, boosting public transport usage, and providing diverse housing options, ultimately enhancing affordability for all,” Ms Brewer said.

A separate report recently released by KPMG showed train access is increasingly shaping the face of Australian neighbourhoods, with over a third of new dwellings built across Australia’s four largest capital cities over the last 15 years revealed to be built within a kilometre of a train station.

Moreover, the report also found the trend was growing, with new builds increasingly clustered around these transit hubs as developers responded to the desire for public transport access.

Speaking on the results of the study, Ms Brewer said it was not expected that locations such as Leederville and Maylands — which she described as surrounded by “high-quality amenities” — were the top choices for TOD.

“These vibrant mixed-use precincts offer convenient access to public transport, activity centres, parks, and open spaces,” she noted.

The report, which was made in collaboration with Perth-based urban planning and design consultancy Taylor Burrell and global engineering and consulting firm Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC), also identified additional stations where TODs could potentially thrive, including Stirling, Glendalough, West Leederville, Claremont, Cannington, Cockburn Central, and Fremantle.

Karen Hyde, principal at Taylor Burrell, said that while it is generally known what comprises a good TOD and why it should be a priority, there has been limited practical implementation of TOD principles within the local property landscape.

“We all know the theory behind what makes a good TOD and why we should have them in a world when choice and sustainability [are] becoming increasingly important in people’s lives,” Ms Hyde said.

“Unfortunately, Perth has really struggled to get them on the ground in the successful way that we’ve seen in some other countries, and we are hopeful that this research will help contribute towards some positive change in the way we approach TODs.”

To further advance transit-oriented developments (TODs), the report presents key recommendations aimed at ensuring their success.

One crucial recommendation is to foster greater collaboration among all levels of government. By adopting a comprehensive, whole-of-government approach, the report stated it “becomes possible to align visions and build upon recent state announcements aimed at enhancing planning systems”.

In addition, the report suggested exploring financial incentives to attract property investors to TOD projects. By providing attractive financial opportunities, such as tax breaks or grants, it becomes more enticing for investors to participate in TOD initiatives. This, in turn, can stimulate the development and implementation of TODs in a more effective manner.

Ms Brewer underlined that the value of TODs lies “not in quantity but in their quality”. “High-value, mixed-use development provides the greater area with an urban precinct with a strong residential, commercial, and/or retail hub is eminently desirable for many residents within a five kilometres radius,” she said.

Lastly, the executive highlighted the critical role TODs play in “shaping and enhancing suburbs”.

“The delivery of TODs will improve connectivity in suburbs, increase public transport use and create diverse housing options, making housing more affordable overall,” Ms Brewer concluded.

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