47 transport infrastructure projects, including the Brisbane Metro and the Cross River Rail, have been identified as critical if South East Queensland is to unlock congestion and keep pace with the region’s growing capacity.
The Council of Mayors South East Queensland (SEQ) has released a road map of transport projects aimed at avoiding traffic gridlock and addressing transport and congestion challenges in future decades.
A first for the region, the SEQ People Mass Movement Study explores the impact SEQ’s population growth will have on the region’s future transport demand.
The road map pinpoints 47 critical projects across SEQ needed to adequately meet this growing demand. It also determines when these projects are required to meet demand and the estimated cost of project delivery.
Some of the big ticket items in the Council of Mayors’ (SEQ) road map include faster rail services for the Southern, Northern and Western Corridors; construction of the proposed Sunshine Coast Light Rail; a bypass for the Centenary Motorway and a tunnel corridor for the North-South Link.
A proposed North-West Transport Corridor, consisting of a passenger railway and four lane urban motorway, is also a key focus.
The estimated cost to deliver all 47 projects between 2019 and 2041 is around $2.7 billion per annum, an achievable figure based on the average historic transport infrastructure spend in SEQ of $2-3 billion per annum.
However, Council of Mayors (SEQ) Chair and Brisbane Lord Mayor, Cr Graham Quirk, said an average of $3.5 billion per annum was required in the years to 2031.
Cr Quirk said a higher spend would ensure a strong level of regional connectivity, through faster rail between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Ipswich.
“This total investment rate achieves the vision of 45 minute regional connectivity and 30 minute Smart Cities,” he said.
Cr Quirk said the clear message from the study was that a “business as usual” approach would not keep pace with the anticipated population growth in SEQ.
“Our research shows that even if every committed and planned project in this region is delivered, the majority of SEQ’s major road corridors will be over capacity by 2031. By 2041, the region will be in gridlock.
“The SEQ People Mass Movement Study highlights our region’s dependence on private vehicle use, now and in the future. Without access to efficient and reliable public transport options, many commuters have no choice but to use the car as their primary mode of transport.
“A significant shift in thinking is required in SEQ from all levels government to ensure we don’t end up with traffic like Sydney and Melbourne. Fortunately, our region still has time to address these issues, but we need to act now.”
The SEQ People Mass Movement Study was commissioned by the Council of Mayors (SEQ) and delivered by Lagardere Sports/EKS, with SMEC.
Funding was provided by the Commonwealth Government and SEQ member councils: Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Logan, Moreton Bay, Redland, Scenic Rim, Somerset, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba.
It is anticipated that the study’s findings will inform ongoing discussions with the Federal and State governments and provide a strong foundation for the Council of Mayors’ (SEQ) current investigations into an SEQ City Deal and 2032 SEQ Olympic Games.
“The region has never had a shortage of plans or strategies from Federal, State and Local Governments, but this is the first time we’ve had a consolidated view of transport in SEQ,” Cr Quirk said.
“The SEQ People Mass Movement Study brings all of these plans into one complete regional strategy.
“As the population continues to grow, this plan is an important step towards protecting the quality of life we currently enjoy in SEQ as well as ensuring that we can safely and efficiently move residents, tourists and freight throughout our region.
“The decision for the Federal and State governments isn’t whether they can afford to deliver these projects, it’s whether they can afford not to.”
View the complete list of 47 priority projects here.