The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) is working towards a better public transport system for the Sunshine Coast

The Sunshine Coast is a highly desired place to live, work and play, and for good reason.

With its stunning natural beauty, relaxed lifestyle and strong sense of community, the region is a leading destination to visit and a dream location to reside.

Already home to 393,000 locals1 and enjoyed by more than 3.8 million holidaymakers every year2, locals and visitors combined make more than 1.1 million trips each day3.

With expansive growth forecast for the region between now and 2041, a fresh approach is needed to provide more convenient, sustainable and accessible ways to get around and develop an improved public transport system that connects everyone.

What TMR is doing

TMR is leading a detailed business case for an enhanced public transport connection between Maroochydore and the Sunshine Coast University Hospital at Birtinya (Stage 1), with a possible extension to Caloundra (Stage 2).

The detailed business case for Stage 1 is currently underway and involves an assessment of alternative transport modes and investigates all components of the project to understand and demonstrate the economic, social, environmental and financial viability of a preferred option. Community feedback is an important part of this process.

In developing the detailed business case, TMR will also consider the work previously undertaken by Sunshine Coast Council (SCC) as part of its Mass Transit Options Analysis Report, endorsed by SCC in 2021.

If and when a detailed business case is approved, a project can be considered for funding for detailed design and construction.

  • Did you know?

    TMR uses Queensland Treasury's Project Assessment Framework to assess projects at critical stages. From the initial assessment of the service required, through to business case and delivery, a project’s progress and quality is assessed to ensure it meets strategic objectives and achieves value for money. For more information about the process, click here.

Have your say

Community feedback provides important input for the project team during this current planning phase and in future stages such as detailed design.

Consultation closed on 20 August 2023. The community will be invited to view further details and have their say in future phases of the project.

Current transport challenges and risks

The popularity and appeal of the Sunshine Coast also highlights some of the key transport challenges currently being faced. The limited availability of transport options means residents and visitors rely heavily on private vehicles to make local trips, leading to congestion on key roads and impacting the efficiency of all trips and freight movements. With rapid urban growth on the horizon, without considered and careful action, the region's lifestyle and liveability are at risk.

The Sunshine Coast's private vehicle ownership rates are the second highest in Australia4.

With continued car dependence, those who cannot afford or do not have the ability to operate a vehicle will face reduced access to essential services and job opportunities, leading to social and economic disadvantage.

Without a comprehensive public transport system, the appeal of the region to investment and skilled workers is reduced, hindering economic growth and prosperity.

During peak periods, key roads become majorly bottlenecked, causing delays and frustration for all road users. This leads to late arrivals, lost productivity and missed opportunities, reducing time able to be spent with loved ones or enjoying recreational activities.

Increasing congestion will lead to continued growth in car dependence, further exacerbating gridlock across the transport network, resulting in longer commute times, increased pollution and crash risks, and reduced quality of life.

With current limited availability of public transport options and public transport patronage sitting at just 3.4%5, a large volume of simple, local trips are being made by private vehicles on major roads.

This is placing increased pressure on the broader transport network and compromising its efficiency.

Rapid urban expansion and population growth is leading to increased traffic congestion and demand for essential services and infrastructure.

By 2041 the Sunshine Coast will need a transport network that can support 500,000 residents, 87,000 more dwellings and 85,000 additional jobs.6

Without futureproofing and forward thinking now, the lifestyle and liveability of current and emerging communities are at risk.

Future possibilities

Picture a Sunshine Coast that empowers everyone to easily get where they need to be and choose how they get there. One that allows residents to leave the car at home and seamlessly transfer from one public transport service to the next, spend less time looking for a car park and more time enjoying the attractions and destinations on the region's doorstep.

The opportunities a better public transport system can bring are endless, but here are just a few.

More available and affordable public transport services will make it easier for everyone in the community to access key destinations and attractions, regardless of their needs and abilities.

Unprecedented access to public transport services will allow locals and visitors to embrace the Sunshine Coast way of life and reap the health benefits of an active lifestyle.

By seamlessly and conveniently transferring between different modes of transport, like bikes, buses and the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line, users will have a range of travel options available to get them right where they need to be.

Having efficient, convenient and reliable travel options will enable everyone to reach their places of work, school or play, and back home again, safely and on time, all while helping reduce emissions and pollution.

Improving the ability of the public transport system to handle a larger volume of passengers will help meet the demands for travel to key local destinations and major events for generations to come.

How would better public transport benefit you?

Illustrations of people who may use the new rail line

Tell us in a few words how and why you would use this new public transport system. (max 140 characters).

16 September, 2023

kpies110 says:

Buses, trackless trams (buses) will not have the capacity needed. Gold Coast’s light rail is so busy and has reinvigorated the entire city

16 September, 2023

kpies110 says:

Light Rail is the ONLY option that is worth investment for this corridor. It has the capacity, the economic impact, and ride comfort.

15 September, 2023

sunnycoasttransportg says:

Another negative of buses - worse accessibility and worse bike provision on board. Don't listen to the selfish and regressive - we need LR.

7 September, 2023

Deafaussie says:

Would be great to have a fast train from landsbrough to maroochy as an alternative than bus.

7 September, 2023

Deafaussie says:

Also if light rail were to be built, can you develop pedestrian bridges/tunnels for easy access along with nature paths. People would love.

7 September, 2023

Deafaussie says:

It seems people would like to have light rail along maroochy to Caloundra and I agree as it’s necessary. Just make sure that it looks nice.

29 August, 2023

TAYLOR20232023 says:

Public transport is extremely limited with 1 bus an hr. I’m blind and spend thousands a year on Ubers. A train and light rail is a necessity

26 August, 2023

Deanv says:

I'd use it to get around the coast without needing to use my car as often.

23 August, 2023

Shandle says:

I would use this system all the time to travel to and from the coast - beats being stuck in traffic, finding and paying for parking.

22 August, 2023

GaznJill says:

No Light Rail along the Mooloolaba/Alexandra Headland beachfront. Leave the beautiful pocket of beach alone.

21 August, 2023

RachB says:

I'd use electric or on-call buses on the Coastal Rd. I'd use a metro/BRT mode on Kawana Motorway. Do NOT want noisy, brightly lit light rail

20 August, 2023

DrewH says:

Agree with light rail, but along the Alex/Mooloolaba foreshore????? Surely there is a better route that won't ruin the character of the area

This project is funded through contributions from the Australian Government, Queensland Government and Sunshine Coast Council

Project partner logos


1 Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2022, Region Summary - Sunshine Coast

2 Visit Sunshine Coast, 2021, Snapshot of 2020/21

3 Infrastructure Australia, 2019, Transport Planning for the Australian Infrastructure Audit - Transport Modelling for South East Queensland

4 Charting Transport, 2017, What does the census tell us about motor vehicle ownership in Australian cities?

5 Department of Transport and Main Roads, 2019, Queensland Household Travel Survey Interactive Report: How South east Queensland travels

6 Queensland Government, 2017, Shaping SEQ.