About us

The Planning and Transport Research Centre (PATREC) is a collaboration amongst The University of Western Australia, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Department of Transport, Main Roads Western Australia and Western Australian Planning Commission, to conduct collaborative, applied research and teaching in support of policy in the connected spaces of transport and land use planning.

PATREC is led by the Director, Prof Sharon Biermann, and supported by a Research Fellow, Yuchao Sun, and Personal Assistant, Dawn Woods.

Further resourcing is sought through the collaborating partners, and, as such, affiliates are appointed on a program/project base.

The Planning and Transport Research Centre (PATREC, Centre) was established in 2002 through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), with the participation of Western Australia’s four public universities and with involvement of the Government of Western Australia. The partner government agencies were not party to the MOU but participated through representation on the Board.

PATREC was hosted by Curtin University until 2011 and a series of annual reports covering activities and outcomes were produced until 2010.

In 2012 PATREC was re-established at The University of Western Australia (UWA). A five-year Collaborative Research Agreement, constituted "for the purposes of conducting collaborative research and teaching in the areas of transport policy and planning and urban and regional planning" was signed in April 2012 by the collaborating partners (UWA, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Western Australian Planning Commission, Department of Transport and Main Roads Western Australia).

2016 culminated in a new Collaborative Research Agreement signed on 8 December 2016 by the six PATREC core partners “for the purposes of conducting collaborative, applied research and teaching in support of policy in the connected spaces of transport and land use planning”. The new agreement includes a three-year rolling funding arrangement to provide a greater level of continuity. This followed an independent review of PATREC during 2015, conducted by Australian Venture Consultants Pty Ltd.

A PATREC Research Advisory Committee (PRAC) was established to (1) enhance collaboration and communication amongst partners at the research project level; and (2) introduce an element of formality and rigour to the process of project identification, selection, support, monitoring and dissemination. Comprising at least one senior representative from each partner organisation, chaired by one of the government partners, the PRAC meets three times per annum in advance of Board meetings, to advise the Board on more detailed research project matters including progress.  

Prof Sharon Biermann

Director of PATREC

With a PhD (Geography) from the University of South Africa which delivered an infrastructure potential cost model for integrated land use and infrastructure planning, Sharon Biermann’s key areas of expertise include: scientific research leadership and management of integrated planning and infrastructure programs, development of Planning Support Systems – computer-based spatial information and knowledge support for integrated urban and regional planning, integrated land use and infrastructure planning and modelling, urban form and sustainable cities and regions and urban water management.

Research Fellow Yuchao (Chao) Sun

Research Fellow Chao Sun

Chao completed his PhD in computational planning, for which he developed a bio-inspired computer algorithm that can design street layouts. Chao has experience in both academia and industry, in which he participated in a range of research and consulting activities including some large scale infrastructure and mining projects. His main research interests include future transport (impact of Autonomous Vehicles and telecommuting etc.), transport and traffic modelling and simulation, data analytics for transport, optimisation (genetic algorithms), and discrete event simulation for logistics and supply chain management.

Research Fellow Linda Robson

Director of PATREC Linda completed her PhD in Planning at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Both her Masters and Bachelor of Science degrees in town planning were completed at the University of the Witwatersrand, where she also lectured for a number of years. In 2000 Linda moved to the UK and took up the position of Strategy and Policy Officer at the Royal Town Planning Institute in London. She is a qualified town and regional planner with a wide range of international experience in land use management and design.