The McKell Institute has released a new report on Melbourne’s transport infrastructure,considering ways to capitalise on the economic possibilities that population growth can bring, and what needs to be done  to ensure the city doesn’t come to a stand still.

Melbourne is facing the early stages of the challenge presented by a rapidly growing population. The current costs of congestion for Melbourne have been estimated at $4.6 billion per year, up $1.7 billion from 1990, and predicted to rise to between $7 and $10 billion by 2030.

The Getting Melbourne Moving Report, highlights the benefits a proactive approach and details 22 recommendations over five categories that will help Melbourne adapt to its growing future and become a world leader in innovative public transportation.

The five categories are:

1.Finding immediate fixes to congestion hotspots

The reports says solutions are needed to fix some of the immediate congestion challenges facing Melbourne, including better traffic coordination and enforcement of road rules to free up traffic, and removing barriers to tech-supported carpooling that is gaining traction around the world.

It also suggests a remote airport terminal in the Melbourne CBD to tackle growing congestion at the airport.

2. Progressing a data-driven approach

The report examines the role of data in improving the operation of Melbourne’s transportation networks, and advocates for collaborating with third party app companies, adapting existing infrastructure to autonomous vehicles, harnessing digital technologies to allow drivers better visibility over parking options for private vehicles, and modernising public transport ticketing.

3. Making better use of what we’ve got already

The report outlines the need to make the most of Melbourne’s existing transport infrastructure, and notes that while the provision of new infrastructure is important, so too is maximising the capacity of what’s already in place.

4. Investing in a modern, right sized fleet

The report argues that Melbourne must invest in a modern, right-sized fleet of public vehicles like trams, trains and buses. It suggests design competitions for buses could be explored as a way to improve passenger comfort, efficiency and accessibility, as well as the need to look at technologies such as collaborative breaking which could increase capacity in the train network.

5. Influencing the drivers of demand

The final category  puts forward recommendation for ways Melbourne can influence the key drivers of transport demand. It makes the point that a future facing city should think creatively about reducing peak demand on its infrastructure network by considering alternative hours for school or university and other public institutions. Reducing peak demand could speed up the city, shortening commutes and improving all round economic efficiency in Melbourne.

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