The Victorian Government is establishing Melbourne’s first-ever dedicated Congestion Management Team comprising six expert traffic managers, as traffic resumes to pre-pandemic levels.
Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Ben Carroll, said the team will be in place from May 2021 to respond in real-time to bottlenecks, incidents, and breakdowns in three of Melbourne’s traffic hot spots.
Optimising the network performance, the new team will also identify small scale changes that can improve traffic flow, such as extending turn lanes, currently causing queues, and blocking through-lanes.
As part of the Victorian Government’s $340 million package to keep people moving on the roads, the team joins 100 new jobs created to deal with increasing congestion as Melbourne emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.
The additional jobs include 12 new Incident Response Service Officers in six new response vans, bolstering the on-road fleet to clear incidents quickly and get traffic moving. Fourteen traffic signal engineer cadets will also begin a two-year training program.
The unprecedented investment in new transport jobs is on top of a significant increase in congestion-busting technology, including 500 extra traffic monitoring cameras and almost 200 wireless traffic sensors, with a further 200 cameras expected to be installed by the end of June 2021.
The latest traffic volume data shows that as Melbourne emerges from the pandemic, travel patterns have shifted, with trips on the city’s arterial road network rapidly increasing compared with volumes on freeways.
With many continuing to work from home, freeway volumes remain below pre-COVID levels at around 94 per cent, compared to arterial roads like Hallam North Road in Melbourne’s south-east – eclipsing 100 per cent of its pre-pandemic levels on two occasions since March.
The Princes Highway in Werribee and Warrigal Road in Chadstone recently ran more than 95 per cent of pre-COVID levels.
“Getting more people in transport jobs means we can keep the city moving – the new dedicated Congestion Management Team will bust congestion on some of Melbourne’s busiest roads,” Mr Carroll said.
“These new resources add even more capability to this world-class team – we have the tools and people in place to tackle congestion and keep traffic flowing.”