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Saturday, 25 May 2024

Environment and sustainability

We recognise the importance of maximising the environmental benefits of our operations and minimising the negative impacts

Environment and sustainability

An efficient public transport system is an essential part of a sustainable community.

Public transport and the environment

The Australian transport sector annually accounts for around 90 million tonnes of greenhouse gas (measured in CO2-e or carbon dioxide equivalent). This represents around 16 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions – making transport the second largest emitting sector after power generation.

Cars and other light vehicles make up more than half of transport emissions – equal to around 10 per cent of Australia’s total emissions.
Riding the bus, train and ferry is fun, fast and eco-friendly. There are many benefits of switching from car to public transport, as outlined below.

Environmental and cost benefits

Perth is rapidly growing and beginning to experience the same transport issues larger cities face around the world, such as increased congestion, increased costs of owning a car and driving, increased parking costs, and an increased social awareness of sustainable living.
The average commuting distance in Perth is 30km. Driving this distance daily, to and from work by car, generates around two tonnes of greenhouse gases a year.

Switching from car to public transport to commute to and from work will reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions and could save you approximately $5500 a year.

Community and economy benefits

Public transport is a key factor in effective social inclusion. It affords the public a reliable, safe and cost effective means of accessing health, employment and education services. This is especially the case for low income earners, the unemployed, seniors and people with disabilities.

Urban traffic congestion is a major impediment to productivity. The Bus Industry Confederation has estimated the avoidable cost of urban traffic congestion in Australian capital cities to be $12.9 billion in 2010 and in excess of $20 billion by 2020. By using public transport you can help reduce traffic congestion.

Transperth can move 50,000 people an hour along one of its rail lines. Compare this with a Kwinana or Mitchell freeway lane which can only move 2,500 people an hour. Think about how much slower your rush hour crawl along the freeway to or from the city would be if it wasn’t for the many thousands of commuters on Transperth trains.

A full bus load of passengers can take more than 50 cars off the road; and a full passenger train carrying 1000 people can take 800 cars off the road – equivalent to a 5km line of traffic.


Managing sustainability and the environment


We have a team of sustainability professionals who produce policies, put together reports and undertake audits. A summary of our sustainability initiatives, as well as our key environment documents, are outlined below.

Environment Policy

Our Environment Policy outlines how the PTA shall manage operations in an environmentally sustainable and responsible manner.

Environmental plans and strategies

The PTA prepares environmental plans as part our commitment to being environmentally responsible and meeting the requirements of government legislation. Our environmental plans and reports are provided on this page, when they're available, for interested parties.

For environmental plans and strategies relating to a PTA project visit the projects section of our website.

Sustainability initiatives

We’re making sustainability central to the way we work. Below is a summary of our sustainability initiatives:

  • Developed an Environmental Management System Manual to ensure that all activities managed by PTA staff and contractors are conducted in an environmentally sustainable and responsible manner.
  • Annually report carbon emissions to the Commonwealth’s National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Program including assessing energy usage across our operations to identify opportunities for greater efficiency.
  • Develop and annually report water efficiency initiatives and savings to the Water Corporation through our Water Efficiency Management Plan, which contains water efficiency targets.
  • Water loggers have been installed at some of our train stations for the early detection of water leaks.
  • Landscaping with native shrubs and trees at stations, depots and along the train lines to reduce water consumption and create habitat for native species (birds, animals and insects).
  • The three and six-car electric trains are fitted with regenerative brakes. When the breaks are applied, they generate electricity which is returned to the grid. This has reduced our energy consumption by a minimum 20 per cent.
  • Transperth is gradually replacing its bus fleet with buses conform to the Euro6 emissions standard, and all bus replacement programs have selected low emission vehicles.
  • The introduction of the SmartRider ticketing system has seen a reduction in waste by cutting the quantity of throw-away paper tickets required. Furthermore this system significantly reduces the energy and resources required to service cash ticket machines and collect cash fares by security organisations. The travel data collected by this electronic ticket system also allows the PTA to plan services more efficiently.
  • Our railcar washing facilities at Claisebrook, Mandurah and Nowergup depots recycle more than four and a half million litres of water a year.
  • Continue working with a number of agencies to promote the sustainability benefits of Transit Orientated Developments. These developments encourage residential developments around transport hubs, reducing reliance on car-based travel.
  • Adopt measures in our Project Definition Plans for evaluating sustainability and driving sustainability performance across all stages of our projects.
  • Consider energy and greenhouse requirements, recyclability, in addition to other ecologically sustainable development principles, in our business planning and procurement processes.


Our team of environmental professionals also support the delivery of major projects. Key functions of our environmental advisors are outlined below.

Environmental approvals

Project environment teams assist in the preparation of environmental impact assessments on future projects. Aboriginal and heritage, contamination, flora and fauna, groundwater/surface water and noise and vibration studies all feed into applications for various approvals as required. They conduct environmental monitoring (prior to and during construction) and rehabilitation (post-construction).

Environmental compliance

PTA environmental advisors support the delivery of projects through compliance reporting and site inspection to ensure project/location conditions and/or requirements are met.

The Infrastructure Sustainability Council (ISC) Rating Scheme is Australia and New Zealand’s only comprehensive rating system for evaluating economic, social and environmental performance of infrastructure across the planning, design, construction and operational phases of infrastructure assets.

From the get-go the METRONET Forrestfield-Airport Link project committed to being an innovative and sustainable project, providing a solution for enhancing the connectivity, liveability and prosperity of Perth and its eastern suburbs, including the airport. The PTA, in conjunction with lead contractor Salini Impregilo - NRW Joint Venture took a holistic approach that informed thinking and decision-making to meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.

In 2018, the project was awarded an Excellent Design Rating recognising the project’s commitment to an innovative and sustainable transport solution for Western Australia.

With the project complete and the Airport Line operational, an As Built rating was sought. In December 2022, the Infrastructure Sustainability Council awarded a Leading Rating – the highest classification within the framework – verifying that the commitments made as part of the design have been successfully implemented.

The METRONET Forrestfield-Airport Link project is proud to be the first rail project in Western Australia to achieve an IS rating, delivering a sustainable legacy for the people of Western Australia.

Environmental advisory services

PTA project environmental advisors provide support for unexpected environmental events that can occur while delivering projects, and often liaise with regulators to ensure our responses and actions are as environmentally conscious as possible.


Any environmental impacts from our day-to-day public transport operations are appropriately managed by our team of environmental professionals. Key areas of management are outlined as follows.

Contaminated sites

We identify, manage and remediate any contaminated sites across our system. This includes remediating and managing any asbestos-containing assets. A large number of our rail stations across the network have been remediated.

Noise and vibration impacts

While noise emissions from trains are exempt from the Western Australian noise regulations (and there are no regulations for vibration), it’s our priority to respond and resolve any noise and/or vibration complaints. We regularly prepare noise management plans for all night maintenance works, which are pending approval by local governments before works commence.

PTA acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community.
We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and to Elders past, present and emerging; and commit to building a brighter future together.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this site may contain images or names of people who are deceased.

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