New report shows need for greater transport infrastructure investment

The Australian Automobile Association has released the country’s first congestion benchmarking report which has shown a need for greater investment in transport infrastructure.

The Road Congestion in Australia report uses mapping and location data to monitor and benchmark road congestion in all capital cities, revealing that average speeds have slowed by up to eight per cent since January 2013.

The report shows that in the five years to 30 June 2018, average driving speeds declined markedly in Australia’s capital cities. Speeds in Sydney and Brisbane fell by 3.6 per cent and 3.7 per cent respectively. In Melbourne, the slow-down was 8.2 per cent.

The report also measures variability of travel times. Highly variable average speeds make travel times less predictable and less reliable. Variability across the major capital cities has increased since January 2013, with Brisbane experiencing the largest increase at 1.2 per cent.

The report draws on anonymised trip data collected from a variety of devices, including vehicle sensors, smartphones, portable navigation devices, road sensors and connected cars. This offers a clear picture of travel patterns while also respecting user privacy.

In 2015, land transport congestion cost Australia $16.5 billion. Without major policy changes, congestion costs are projected to reach between $27.7 and $37.3 billion by 2030.

AAA Chief Executive, Michael Bradley, said, “No one benefits from congestion and everyone pays. But if we are to develop effective solutions, we first need a strong understanding of the problem, and how and where it’s changing.

“This report confirms what most people living in our major cities know all too well. But we hope it also helps stimulate discussion and problem-solving, so that Australia can develop smart measures to address our worsening congestion.”

The AAA has been calling for the Australian Government to guarantee a minimum of at least 50 per cent of net fuel excise revenue be invested in transport projects. Over the next four years, the proportion of net fuel excise returned to infrastructure is projected to decline to just 32 per cent in 2021-22, well below the past decade’s average of 50.3 per cent.

View the full Road Congestion in Australia report at: https://www.aaa.asn.au/2018/10/15/first-national-read-of-growing-traffic-congestion-released/.

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