ITLS6500 Individual Assignment

ITLS6500 Individual Assignment

You have been contracted by Transport for NSW to review the feasibility of Sydney Metro West (“SMW”). The case project is a large, complex project with substantial civil engineering components, and whilst the business case has been approved by the NSW Government, the delivery strategy is still in the process of being finalised. SMW represents an urban rail transport infrastructure project that is intended to meet the transport and economic growth requirements for Western Sydney. You are required to understand the decision-making process to enable the project to be successfully delivered.


Sydney Metro is an urban rail project providing public transport services to Sydney’s residents. The first stage of the project, Sydney Metro Northwest, provides a new rail service utilising metro-style trains between Chatswood and North West Sydney. The second stage, Sydney Metro City and Southwest, extends the rail service from Chatswood to the City under the harbour and onwards to Sydenham and Bankstown. The first stage is now operational and the second stage under construction. Sydney Metro West project is the third stage of Sydney Metro and will deliver a direct connection between the CBDs of Parramatta/Westmead. The fourth stage, Sydney Metro Western Sydney Airport is now in procurement.

The project has been under investigation for several years and a number of publications have been issued by NSW Government as the strategy has been refined. The business case has been approved by Infrastructure NSW and an evaluation summary posted. However, the final delivery strategy has not been published; past publications summarise proposed alternative strategies and highlight delivery issues.

Some of the issues facing the project include:

  • The business case and INSW evaluation approved the rationale for the project and how the project links with Sydney Metro and other parts of the public transport network, and the State Infrastructure Strategy. Review the INSW evaluation and comment on its key findings. How does the project compare to other stages of Sydney Metro? What do you identify as the key strengths and challenges identified in the evaluation?
  • How should the procurement be structured so as to maximise the potential for introducing cost efficiencies, innovation, system improvements, and future flexibility to enhance the customer experience?
  • What are the options around procurement, scoping of works, splitting responsibilities between government and the private sector? What are the issues affecting selection of a preferred option? What are the key considerations in developing a proposed packaging and contracting strategy for the project? Draw upon published information and identify the outstanding elements. Identify the issues driving the final selection by government in response to the changing feedback from the various parties in the private sector. Consider the specific characteristics of Sydney Metro West and how is it different from previous stages of Sydney Metro. Consider such issues as scale, alignment, site conditions, etc.
  • How can the project be disaggregated into package components and how are interface issues best managed? The packaging structure has been extensively discussed in past publications. Interface issues remain a key challenge. How have they been dealt with on previous stages of Sydney Metro and is a different approach justified for Sydney Metro West.
  • Does the private sector have the capability to deliver the various package elements of the project and what preferences around structuring are needing to be considered in developing a delivery strategy that will attract sufficient market appetite? Consider comments expressed in previous market soundings.
  • The project is challenged by the enormous rail procurement pipeline/competing projects/skills gap and how to deal with that in delivery strategy.
  • How does the project deal with evolving technology issues relating to rail infrastructure, trains, systems?
  • Who are the key stakeholders? What process for community consultation, customer impact and involvement has been undertaken? What key public interest issues can you identify and have these been properly addressed?
  • What are the key project risks and how can these be assessed, mitigated and managed? What contractual mechanisms can be applied to incentivise performance?
  • What governance structure would you recommend? Does the project sponsor have suitable decision making and governance structures to support the procurement and delivery of the project?
  • What innovative funding and financing strategies for the project could be considered to make the project more affordable? What role is there for value capture or value sharing? Consider the strategies used on Sydney Metro City and Southwest and recent announcements on Pyrmont station.
  • What are the wider economic impacts that the project will have and how can these be optimised? Are there any recommended actions to ensure the benefits can be realised? What are the planning implications?
  • What are the lessons of experience from the previous stages of Sydney Metro and other relevant projects? Extensive information on these major projects is readily available representing the more advanced stages of delivery. For example, information on business cases, procurement strategy, risk allocation, governance can be used to illustrate how similar issues facing SMW can be addressed

The recommended approach is to identify and address the key and contentious issues for the project that need to be considered in the business case. Where information is not readily available, students should propose what they believe is the correct approach. Do not spend time unnecessarily paraphrasing the case study or simply restating the project description. It is recommended that students spend time researching the following projects and relevant guidance material; a list of reference material is provided below.

In order to provide guidance on how to approach the assignment, some time will be allocated for discussion on similar case studies including:

  • Sydney Metro NorthWest/City and SouthWest
  • Sydney Metro Western Sydney Airport
  • Melbourne Metro
  • Cross River Rail
  • Sydney Light Rail

Students will be expected to complete assignments with a guideline of 2,500 to 3,000 words for the body of the report. Additional material can be attached as appendices, which are not included in the word count. Exceeding the word count will not be rigidly penalised but is not advisable.

The Due Date for the assignment is 26 May 2021 by 4pm.

The completed report must be uploaded on Canvas by the due date in either PDF or Word format. The front page must contain the following information: course code and name, student IDs, assignment name, and date of submission.

A written assignment is a means of communication. You should structure it so that it is easy for the reader to understand, using paragraphs to separate points and sub- headings to highlight subject matter. Given the practical nature of this course, use of charts, tables and bullets are advised.

The final written report should include:

  • An executive summary covering the key issues to be addressed, and main findings and recommendations;
  • The main body of the assignment, clearly addressing each section in turn.
  • A conclusion which draws all previous discussions together.
  • Recommendations
  • References and bibliography (Harvard style).
  • Appendices of material or data used within the assignment.

Common problems in previous years which cause students to lose marks include:

  • Poor referencing (quantity, quality and style)
  • Not relating the risks to the project in question (being too general)
  • Missing obvious risks (not thinking deeply)
  • Not backing up your arguments with evidence (eg. Don’t just say “the regulations could change and affect our project” – you must say how and why and provide evidence to back this up)
  • Making the report too “wordy”. Try to use tables, diagrams and bullets as far as possible.
CriteriaTotal mark
Structure, grammar/spelling5
Research (thoroughness)25
Referencing (quality, completeness, format)10
Coverage of main arguments (for and against)50


Greater Sydney Commission (2016a), Towards our Greater Sydney 2056,

Infrastructure NSW, Building Momentum, State Infrastructure Strategy 2018-2038, (February 2018)

Transport for NSW, Future Transport Strategy 2056, (2018) Transport for NSW (2012b), Sydney’s Rail Future,

Transport for NSW (2017), SMW – Project Overview, September 2017,

NSW Government, Sydney Metro, Industry Briefing, April 2018

NSW Government, Sydney Metro West, Project Overview, March 2018

NSW Government, North West Rail Link OTS PPP, Contract Summary, December 2014

NSW Government, Sydney Metro City and Southwest PPP, Final Business Case, October 2016

NSW Government, Sydney Metro, Industry Briefing, December 2018

NSW Government, Infrastructure NSW, Sydney Metro West, Final Business Case Evaluation Summary, July 2020

NSW Government, Transport for NSW, Transport Infrastructure Pipeline Event 2025, October 2020

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