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GCRT project Lessons Learned

The Gold Coast Rapid Transit project is an exemplar public transport project in Australia. It is the first of its kind ever undertaken in a regional city and a first for the State of Queensland. This project has broken new ground in a number of areas of project planning and procurement and it is timely that these achievements and the associated lessons are captured ahead of the delivery of the light rail system. These lessons will not only be of value to funding and delivery partners including the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, the Australian Government and Gold Coast City Council but will also be of significance to those planning major infrastructure projects around Australia.

Structure of lessons and subject matter areas

The Lessons Learned paper has been divided into seven key sections which outline the project’s lessons learned in the subject matter areas of:

The seven key sections demonstrate the relevant lessons as recorded by the project team. For the convenience of the reader, the lessons are structured in a table format. The table is divided into three categories, ‘Great’, ‘Good’ and ‘Do Better’. The purpose of dividing lessons in this way is to align the lessons with the project’s in-house performance metric the Good to Great Performance Management framework. This framework allows the project to accurately measure its success against key performance targets. It assigns specific and measurable indicators that enable the project to determine whether the achieved outcomes were Great, Good or require improvement (Do Better).

Lessons which are described as ‘Great’ in this context are those which helped the project achieve well beyond industry standard results in the specific subject matter area and were considered vital to the project’s success. Similarly, lessons which are described as ‘Good’ in this context are those which also are considered to have met or exceeded industry standard but may have had a lesser impact on overall project success. ‘Good’ lessons may also include those that delivered a favourable outcome for the project however could have achieved ‘Great’ outcomes with additional work. Lessons which are described as ‘Do Better’ in this context are those the project team believe could have been improved upon or managed differently to deliver a more favourable outcome.

Methodology to derive lessons learned

A thorough methodology was undertaken to appropriately capture and document lessons from the Gold Coast Rapid Transit project. The project team undertook a series of workshops with key project team members who were directly involved and responsible for project outcomes across each of the technical disciplines which make up the project team. From the group, subject matter authors were chosen to lead the collation of lessons for each subject matter area. Upon completion, content was then submitted to a review panel which included project leaders from both the public and private sector. The role of the review panel was to confirm and/or challenge conclusions and assumptions and provide further rigour to the information collated.

Assumptions and disclaimers

The lessons captured in the series of technical papers canvass the project experience during the concept and development phases of the Gold Coast Rapid Transit project. The lessons are not intended to provide instruction or make recommendations as to how to undertake similar activities outside of this context.

The lessons are an objective and factual recount of the key technical areas of the project during this time and are provided solely to encourage thought and debate on project planning and procurement practices for the delivery of successful major projects.