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Analysis and Comment (104)

Australia’s transport is among the least energy efficient, largely thanks to continuing investment in roads over rail. Australia’s transport is among the least energy efficient, largely thanks to continuing investment in roads over rail. Phillip Capper/Flickr

Australia’s transport is falling behind on energy efficiency

Australia has scored poorly in the energy efficiency of its land transport, and is well behind other major economies, a recent international scorecard has revealed. That means Australians are using more…
Rich or poor, being stuck in traffic is always annoying. Rich or poor, being stuck in traffic is always annoying. Shultz6/Wikimedia Commons

FactCheck: do poor people drive less?

“The people that actually pay the most are higher income people, with an increase in fuel excise… The poorest people either don’t have cars or actually don’t drive very far in many cases.” – Treasurer…
Faster than a plane? Faster than a plane? Alex Needham

Can magnetically levitating trains run at 3,000km/h?

Trains that use magnets to levitate above the tracks might sound like something from Back to the Future, but the concept of magnetic levitation has been around for many years. Maglev trains, which use…
Electric cars have still not won over the public, and not just because some look like this. Electric cars have still not won over the public, and not just because some look like this. wbaiv

Electric cars won’t really take off until costs come down (or petrol goes up)

The electric car trend is still to take off in the UK, with drivers largely put off by up-front costs, according to a survey by the Department for Transport. A measly 5% of respondents were thinking about…
Listening to that questionable music is one of the reasons we’re still driving cars. Listening to that questionable music is one of the reasons we’re still driving cars. Rommel Canlas/Shutterstock

To get people out of cars we need to know why they drive

Cars are still the favoured mode of transport in Australia, despite their known environmental and health impacts. We know that alternatives exist — walking, riding, and public transport — that can get…
You’re better off catching the bus than the train of you want to reduce your energy footprint. You’re better off catching the bus than the train of you want to reduce your energy footprint. John Ward/Flickr

Which transport is the fairest of them all?

How did you get to where you need to be today? Car, bike, public transport, or perhaps walking? Transport is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, globally and in Australia. The latest…
The unions may be delaying the inevitable. The unions may be delaying the inevitable. EPA

Unions are angry over East Coast rail – but are they right?

The east coast main line is to be reprivatised, and the unions aren’t happy. The three rail unions, RMT, Aslef and the TSSA have asked for a judicial review into the process, and have also questioned the…
Putting old airliners out to pasture early and replacing them would fill fields, but clean the skies. Putting old airliners out to pasture early and replacing them would fill fields, but clean the skies. Benny Davis/USAF

Aircraft scrappage scheme could clean up dirty airlines

Although aviation emissions contribute only 3-5% of the total impact on the planet’s climate, this is steadily growing and is a surprisingly intractable problem to solve. As prosperity around the world…
Stuck in a traffic jam. Stuck in a traffic jam. Shaheer Shahid/Flickr

New road rules: when can motorcyclists beat the traffic?

Motorcyclists are about to get a green light to “filter” through traffic on New South Wales roads. But what does that mean, for them and others sharing the road? And what are the rules for motorcycles…
Australians are addicted to the political theatre surrounding infrastructure investment. Australians are addicted to the political theatre surrounding infrastructure investment. Tracey Nearmy/AAP

Infrastructure needs science, so who put the politicians in charge?

The recent productivity commission report into public infrastructure left the most important policy question unasked, namely: if there were better ways for planning and building transport infrastructure…
The use of rail for freight can save lives. The use of rail for freight can save lives. NSW Govt/AAP

Too many loads on our roads when rail is the answer

“Without trucks, Australia stops” is now a fact of modern life. But when all costs are considered, road freight is an expensive way of moving large amounts of freight. And, as shown by ongoing fatal crashes…
Australia only keeps an estimated 23 days' worth of fuel in the country. Australia only keeps an estimated 23 days' worth of fuel in the country. Bidgee/Wikimedia Commons

Running on empty: Australia’s risky approach to oil supplies

It might sound unlikely, but Australia’s fuel gauge is worryingly low. We’re one of the world’s top energy exporters, but our stocks of liquid fuels – such as the oil on which almost the whole transport…
Build it, and they will come. Eventually. Build it, and they will come. Eventually. Chris Ison/PA

Fleet car could ignite a spark in damp electric vehicle market

The announcement came at New Year that David Cameron’s cabinet members might be about to trade in their limousines for electric vehicles. Such a move would make the UK government the world’s first to run…
But fare rises are in line with inflation. But fare rises are in line with inflation. London Permaculture

Believe it or not, rising rail fares are actually good news

I wonder how many friends I would make among commuters by suggesting last week’s 3% rise in rail fares is at least in part a good news story. Of course, there has been understandable indignation that fares…
Coming down to earth - just like house prices near airports. Coming down to earth - just like house prices near airports. Steve Parsons/PA

New runways to support leisure even as transport at home is cut

The interim report of the Davies Airports Commission published this week presents an in-depth analysis of aviation’s value to the UK economy and suggests the country will need a new runway by 2030, and…
Licensing authorities place the onus on drivers to report any medical conditions that might affect their driving. Licensing authorities place the onus on drivers to report any medical conditions that might affect their driving. Image from shutterstock.com

Doctors shouldn’t be forced to dob in unfit drivers

Few states mandate that doctors or other health professionals must report unfit drivers to licensing authorities – and for good reason. Driving is an everyday practice for many Australians, but that doesn’t…
Car Free Day - every Sunday in Jakarta. Car Free Day - every Sunday in Jakarta. Gunawan Kartapranata

How cities of the future could see cars parked for good

Is a car-free city possible? In many European cities walking and cycling already account for more than half of all journeys. In Britain, the Sustainable Travel Demonstration Towns project between 2004-08…
The world, north of the M25. The world, north of the M25. HS2

HS2: how will it affect my town?

Professor Peter Mackie Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds Leeds and its metropolitan region should be one of the big winners from HS2. Financial and legal services, engineering consultancy…
The proposed HS2 line near Altofts, south of Leeds: big changes, but who decides? The proposed HS2 line near Altofts, south of Leeds: big changes, but who decides? HS2

HS2: how do we resolve megaproject planning?

The UK’s largest infrastructure projects of coming decades have been wrapped in controversy: the HS2 high-speed rail line linking London to the north is mired in political wrangling and disputed facts…
High speed rail, Taiwan-style. High speed rail, Taiwan-style. loudtiger

HS2: mixed success for high speed rail worldwide

The last half century has seen the gradual development of high-speed rail (HSR) systems. From the inauguration of the first “bullet train” services in Japan in 1964 to the recent rapid developments in…
It’ll be quick, but will it be worth it? It’ll be quick, but will it be worth it? Gareth Fuller/PA

Hard evidence: is it possible to forecast HS2’s benefits?

The recent publication of the government’s strategic case for HS2 has added to mounting concerns about the strength and validity of evidence put forward to support the project. Previously, the business…
Leeds should do well, but what about the surrounding towns? Leeds should do well, but what about the surrounding towns? Lad2011

HS2: vital for the north, or just a quick escape route?

David Cameron said recently that opponents of HS2 are “putting the future of the north of England at risk”. Is he right? Professors Colin Bamford and Paul Salveson from the University of Huddersfield present…
A ‘ghost bike’ at notorious Bow flyover in East London. A ‘ghost bike’ at notorious Bow flyover in East London. Dominic Lipinski/PA

There are solutions to these needless cyclist deaths

It has been a grim month for cycling in London. Just days ago newspapers wrote of five deaths in nine days, and barely is the ink dry before yet another death this morning makes six in under two weeks…
How often do you see this? Not often enough. How often do you see this? Not often enough. Jaggery

UK lags behind as Europe adopts electric vehicles

The selection of cars launched and announced at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show underlines how the electric vehicle (EV) is finally showing signs of that long-awaited breakthrough to mass-market appeal…
The Arctic is not, and never will be, plain sailing. The Arctic is not, and never will be, plain sailing. Szecska

Northwest Passage crossed, but it’s not a boon for business

Disappearing Arctic sea ice has brought new opportunities for shipping, and placed the top of the world squarely on industry and politicians' agendas. When the bulk carrier MV Nordic Orion last week ferried…
Cars stuck in traffic at an intersection. Cars stuck in traffic at an intersection. www.shutterstock.com/e2dan

Stuck in traffic: how to get our cities and economy moving

The strength of Australia’s economy depends on how well our cities function - yet right now, it’s as if we’re driving with the handbrake on. Cities are crucial to productivity. When they work well, they…
Solar is taking off in Australia’s suburbs, but what are inner-city livers to do? Solar is taking off in Australia’s suburbs, but what are inner-city livers to do? Duncan Rawlinson

How will your energy get greener? Depends where you live

In Australia’s middle and outer suburbs, rooftop solar technology provides a clear way to reduce the emissions from the energy our houses use. But higher density housing types (apartments and medium density…
A focus on freeways will drive Australia’s transport emissions up. A focus on freeways will drive Australia’s transport emissions up. Leonard John Matthews

Abbott’s transport priorities drive Australia into the past

In last week’s election, the respective contenders to lead the nation offered contrasting views on the transport future. One opted to promote urban roads and the other, urban passenger rail. We chose roads…
Our cities may be booming, but what about our regions and suburbs? Our cities may be booming, but what about our regions and suburbs? Flickr/Takver

A more sustainable Australia: from suburbia to newburbia

A more sustainable Australia. As the 2013 election campaign continues, we’ve asked academics to look at some of the long-term issues affecting Australia – the issues that will shape our future. Australia’s…
Commuters will face a long wait for lower fares. Commuters will face a long wait for lower fares. Gareth Fuller/PA

Rail fare hikes hurt more than just commuters

Considering how many of Britain’s rich and powerful take the train to work, it seems odd to describe rail commuters as hard done by. And yet some undoubtedly are. Last week the government announced the…
It won’t look that sexy, but the concept is worth the attention. It won’t look that sexy, but the concept is worth the attention. SpaceX

Hyperloop and the future of ground transport

Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and co-founder of PayPal, has announced his vision for a new high-speed ground transportation system called “Hyperloop”. The system would connect Los Angeles to San Francisco…
Aftermath of the rail accident in northern Spain. Aftermath of the rail accident in northern Spain. Wikimedia Commons

Planes, trains and automobiles: the reality of transport risk

Recent days have seen a string of terrible road and rail accidents: train crashes in France, Spain and Switzerland, a coach crash in Italy and, without the same international publicity, the usual steady…
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? flickr: South Eastern Star ★

Bird strikes could ground Boris Isle of Grain airport plan

The London mayor’s recent decision to endorse the Thames Estuary’s Isle of Grain as the site for a new major hub airport has already raised concerns about threats to local birds, but perhaps it is threats…
BBC presenter Quentin Willson fills up at Nottingham’s hydrogen station. BBC presenter Quentin Willson fills up at Nottingham’s hydrogen station. Nottingham University

Hydrogen car progress hasn’t stalled yet

The promise that hydrogen cars would help reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the transport sector has been with us for a couple of decades. Readers may well have wondered what, like hoverboards, has…
Beautiful machines? Or deadly waste of time? Beautiful machines? Or deadly waste of time? Flickr/RMhowie

The dream of the car is over

I had always been obsessed with cars. To me, cars represented freedom, engineering excellence, modernity, technological brilliance, speed, fun and excitement. I still love cars but not like I used to…
Arriving at a station near you (if you’re in Taiwan). Arriving at a station near you (if you’re in Taiwan). jiadoldol/Flickr

Consider HS2 within wider networks to gauge true value

Transport megaprojects tend to make rather gloomy reading. The prevailing opinion, at least among social scientists, is that all big infrastructure projects share three characteristics: they take longer…
An expanding population means more cars on the road than ever before. So how can maths help ease traffic congestion? An expanding population means more cars on the road than ever before. So how can maths help ease traffic congestion? Mr. T in DC

Stuck in traffic? Maths can get you on your way

Mathematics may not be the first thing your mind turns to when you are caught in a traffic jam. Yet mathematics holds the key to understanding how traffic congestion develops, and how to prevent it. Perhaps…
Speed is not enough, we need growth. Speed is not enough, we need growth. Gareth Fuller/PA

Planes and trains can deliver the growth the IMF wants

The International Monetary Fund’s annual report on the UK economy calls for the Chancellor to boost economic growth through investing in infrastructure. While the IMF is right to make this point, we must…
Playing politics with transport will only lead to a train wreck. Playing politics with transport will only lead to a train wreck. Flickr/awmalloy

Keep them off the rails: politics and transport don’t mix

The 2013-2014 Federal budget includes billions of dollars allocated to transport, including a new Melbourne rail tunnel. At the same time the Victorian State government has plans for a different tunnel…
Ah, the freedom of the open road! Ah, the freedom of the open road! Walter Parenteau

New freeways cure congestion: time to put the myth to bed

Although the national budget is now apparently $12 billion in debt, a welter of state governments are pressing the federal government for support to build new freeways. The Victorian Government has just…
Is this our transport future? If the regulatory and safety issues are ironed out, many more of us could be boarding personal mobility devices for short commutes. Is this our transport future? If the regulatory and safety issues are ironed out, many more of us could be boarding personal mobility devices for short commutes. Nelson Pavlosky

Electric unicycles, minifarthings and the future of urban transport

Whether we like it or not, there is a pecking order on the road. At the top, either high performance sports cars or the massive B-double freight trucks reign supreme. On the lower rungs, pedestrians and…
The European experience with high speed rail suggests there are trade-offs with aviation depending on the routes. The European experience with high speed rail suggests there are trade-offs with aviation depending on the routes.

Is high speed rail in Australia value for money?

There is no doubt that the creation of a 1748-kilometre high-speed rail network connecting Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, and Melbourne is an exciting endeavour. But given the large capital costs - $114 billion…
So high speed rail might be a good investment, in future. It just might also be the worst of the possible rail projects to fund at this moment in time. So high speed rail might be a good investment, in future. It just might also be the worst of the possible rail projects to fund at this moment in time. AAP

Boondoggle or best thing we’ll ever do? What to make of high speed rail

Transport Minister Anthony Albanese today released the second phase report for Australia’s High Speed Rail Study. The AECOM report plots out a preferred route from Brisbane to Melbourne, predicts how many…
Overprotective policies constrain kids and teach them to value risk assessment over opportunity. Overprotective policies constrain kids and teach them to value risk assessment over opportunity. Sim Dawdler/Flickr

Kids need to take risks: Mum and Dad will just have to deal with it

We take an “efficiency” approach to childhood and child-rearing in Australia. We want kids to grow up and become productive economic citizens without them deviating from identified pathways, and society…
Australia’s transport planners are better than most at dealing with disasters. Australia’s transport planners are better than most at dealing with disasters. AAP Image/Supplied by SES, Samantha Cantwell

Keeping Queensland moving: transport in a flood crisis

Transport access is essential for people to get to the goods and services they need in daily life. Never is that basic access more appreciated, and more desired, than when it’s taken away from us, such…
Almost 1.3 million people die each year on the world’s roads, making road accidents the ninth leading cause of death globally. Almost 1.3 million people die each year on the world’s roads, making road accidents the ninth leading cause of death globally. AAP/Joe Castro

Is modern transport making war on the human body?

We demand and expect our transport systems to to get us where we want, when we want to be there, and as fast as possible. We are, however, human beings with human bodies. And as with any other built system…
It’s time to take solar transport fuels a lot more seriously. It’s time to take solar transport fuels a lot more seriously. National Renewable Energy Lab

Here’s to hydrogen: Australia is missing the potential of solar fuels

Many times in human history governments have tried to write policies based around future technologies and missed identifying the transformational keys. In the 1970s, for example, few if any horizon-scanning…
Cycling numbers are growing in the inner city, but falling on the outskirts. Cycling numbers are growing in the inner city, but falling on the outskirts. yewenyi/Flickr

More cyclists? That depends on where you live

If you have heard comments from friends or colleagues that there seem to be a lot more cyclists these days, chances are that you live or work in the inner city of an Australian capital city. A new report…
If you don’t deal with road transport, you’re really not dealing with emissions. If you don’t deal with road transport, you’re really not dealing with emissions. Rachel Wray

Oil’s well in the white paper’s version of future transport

Much of the recent debate over Australia’s new Energy White Paper deals with climate change, the planned growth of Australia’s coal and gas exports, and the future of electricity sector. And although when…
London bike share has proved more successful than schemes in Australia, but focusing on infrastructure could help improve sharing here. London bike share has proved more successful than schemes in Australia, but focusing on infrastructure could help improve sharing here. cat1788/Flickr

Fixing Australian bike share goes beyond helmet laws

Bike share programs in Melbourne and Brisbane were much heralded by the governments that installed them. But they’ve proved far less popular than schemes overseas. Is Australian bike share doomed? Since…
Our lives and lifestyles depend on mobility of people and freight; are we ready to lose that? Our lives and lifestyles depend on mobility of people and freight; are we ready to lose that? Martin Wurt

Wean transport off fossil fuels, or grind to a halt

Over the next 50 years the world will increasingly confront a dilemma. On the one hand, the global economy and local lifestyles depend on the mobility of people and goods. On the other, that mobility depends…
Australia must resolve numerous social, economic and environmental obstacles if it wants to reap the benefits of the Asian Century. Australia must resolve numerous social, economic and environmental obstacles if it wants to reap the benefits of the Asian Century. Image from www.shutterstock.com

Charting a sustainable future will be fraught with challenges in the Asian Century

Governments are forever immersed in the daily challenge of responding to what the former British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan once knowingly described as “events.” It was he who coined the resounding…
Seatbelts have long been mandatory in cars, so why are there still school buses without them? Seatbelts have long been mandatory in cars, so why are there still school buses without them? Seatbelt image from www.shutterstock.com

A national disgrace: all school buses need seatbelts

The NSW School Bus Safety Community Advisory Committee made a major recommendation in its report released this week that seatbelts should be installed on all rural school buses that operate outside lower-speed…
Health and transport authorities should focus on helping older drivers to drive safely for longer. Health and transport authorities should focus on helping older drivers to drive safely for longer. Older driver image from shutterstock.com

Getting older drivers off the road won’t solve safety problems

When an older driver has a crash with tragic consequences, there are calls for stricter licensing controls to detect “unfit” drivers and take their licences away, typically focusing on those aged 75 or…
Ride2Work day makes a real difference in levels of cycling: let’s have it more often. Ride2Work day makes a real difference in levels of cycling: let’s have it more often. Fernando de Sousa

Governments should get behind bikes, and not just one day a year

Australians are pretty enthusiastic about cycling for recreation. Cycling to work is another matter entirely. Arguably, cycle commuting is even more important than recreational riding: as well as the health…
Looking at the speedo won’t tell you which is travelling faster. Looking at the speedo won’t tell you which is travelling faster. Cole Young

Not so fast! How car commuting is taking your time

Are you addicted to speed? Has a “hurry virus” taken over your life? Building faster roads or buying a fast car or a second car may seem appealing solutions to time pressure. Yet our obsession with speed…
Infrastructure lobbyists are pushing for more funding to fill the “infrastructure gap”, but the investment doesn’t make sense. Infrastructure lobbyists are pushing for more funding to fill the “infrastructure gap”, but the investment doesn’t make sense. Indiana Public Media

Is Australia heading for a transport infrastructure bubble?

Every Australian State and Territory has an ongoing roads program and a “wish list” which it brings to the Federal Government for funding. The current extent of the multi-billion dollar program can be…
NSW premier Barry O'Farrell’s government is under pressure to deliver on infrastructure projects. NSW premier Barry O'Farrell’s government is under pressure to deliver on infrastructure projects. AAP/Dean Lewins

Transport master plan could backfire for O'Farrell government

The O'Farrell government’s new Transport Master Plan may be grounded in realism, but it is an election loser. The plan, which has been brewing since the change of government, puts the construction of new…
London’s Olympic Lanes are getting a lot of negative coverage, but they’re not a recent invention. London’s Olympic Lanes are getting a lot of negative coverage, but they’re not a recent invention. Joe Goldberg

London Olympics transport - not as bad as you might have heard

The London Olympic Games open on July 27, but designating one lane on the M4 motorway between Heathrow Airport and Central London as an “Olympic Lane” for athletes, officials, sponsors and media has already…
Sydney’s Olympics transport couldn’t have been smoother; London’s has already ground to a halt. Sydney’s Olympics transport couldn’t have been smoother; London’s has already ground to a halt. Andy Rain/EPA

Olympics transport: how did Sydney handle it?

The London Olympics seems paralysed with problems. The latest is protests from taxi drivers - who say they need access to special “Olympics lanes” - which have brought traffic to a halt. Is London going…
Double the normal number of overseas visitors will hit Heathrow this year. Double the normal number of overseas visitors will hit Heathrow this year. Department for Culture, Media & Sport

London 2012: locally green, but what about globally?

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are just around the corner, and promise to be a great global spectacle. At the same time, the organising committee are promising the most sustainable Olympics…
Want value for public money? Build bike infrastructure. Want value for public money? Build bike infrastructure. Brisbane City Council

Cutting cycling funding is economic non-sense

In the current climate of economic uncertainty and fiscal restraint, governments are quick to reassure us that they are making every effort to “do more with less”. Providing mobility for citizens in Australia’s…
Care and consideration make the road safer for everyone. Enforcing the law helps too. Care and consideration make the road safer for everyone. Enforcing the law helps too. Fernando de Sousa

Want safer cycling? Don’t dismiss dooring

Every year, more Australians - particularly in cities - are riding to work. More cyclists means fewer cars on the road, less congestion, less pollution and fewer health problems. But every year more people…
Cycling infrastructure gets people on their bikes, and the economic benefits are legion. Cycling infrastructure gets people on their bikes, and the economic benefits are legion. Janet Lackey

Bike lanes' economic benefits go beyond jobs

You might have heard that bike lanes are a waste of money. The Australian National Audit Office recently investigated the $40 million bike path scheme, announced in 2009 as part of the Federal Government’s…
Cycling in inner-city Sydney is up, thanks to better bike paths. Cycling in inner-city Sydney is up, thanks to better bike paths. William Feuerman

Biking Bourke Street - Sydney’s cycleways make sustainable transport possible

Just outside my bedroom window a sliver of the Bourke Street Bicycle Route passes by; a slice of Sydney’s network of cycleways which is continuing to grow, branching, meandering and extending throughout…
Sydney needs sustainable solutions to keep its growing population happy and healthy. Sydney needs sustainable solutions to keep its growing population happy and healthy. Franklin Heijnen

How full is full? Planning Sydney to be big, sustainable and healthy

Australia’s future population is again under the spotlight. The Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) has just released a new report on Australian population futures. And focus has sharpened…
US Republicans are sick of urban ‘elites’ and want to take their public transport funds away. US Republicans are sick of urban ‘elites’ and want to take their public transport funds away. Vittorio Sciosia

‘Kill the Subways’: the US Republican revolt and the politics of public transport in Australia

There is a high level of bipartisan support for public transport investment in Australian politics. Parties of all colours are willing to promise rail schemes and bus improvements (in marginal electorates…
Modern motorists have a pile of engine choices. Modern motorists have a pile of engine choices. Flickr/ Joost J. Bakker IJmuiden

The rise of diesel: but how cheap and clean is it?

Like many countries, Australia is seeing a growth in the number of diesel vehicles on our roads. Since 2006 the number of registered diesel vehicles has increased by a remarkable 40%; diesel passenger…
Electric cars won’t solve this. Electric cars won’t solve this. Michael Loke

Green cars? Electric vehicles are marketing a myth

“What is the value of zero?” asks the seductive commercial for the new Nissan Leaf (due to launch in Australia in April). Set against a montage of natural and man-made images of “0”, the Leaf advert asks…
Some jurisdictions are pushing for aviation emissions controls, but an international agreement seems far away. Some jurisdictions are pushing for aviation emissions controls, but an international agreement seems far away. Cardiff Friends of the Earth

See you in court: solving aviation emissions is an international mess

Aviation is a growing source of emissions. Emissions from aviation are increasing against a background of decreasing emissions from many other industry sectors. Airlines - with their international reach…
Future freeways could be very different places. Future freeways could be very different places. johnsnape

The beginning of the end for automobility?

Car travel is becoming a victim of its own success. If we in the West had only kept cars for ourselves, automobility could have survived much longer. But we shared them with the rest of the world, and…
Times have changed; the car industry needs to catch up. Times have changed; the car industry needs to catch up. aussiefordadverts/Flickr

Australian car industry needs lower emissions, not handouts

The Australian Government has been bailing out automotive manufacturers since 1985. Both that year’s Button Plan and the 2008 Bracks Report recommended restructure and additional funding. But unless the…
Legislation would have less real effect than better manners. Legislation would have less real effect than better manners. Looking Glass

Bicycle registration is not the answer for bad behaviour

There’s nothing like a “bikes vs drivers” story to whip commentators into a frenzy, and this week’s stoush between Shane Warne and a Melbourne cyclist is no exception. Whenever this issue comes up, there…
The Pacific Highway has a long history of fatal truck accidents. The Pacific Highway has a long history of fatal truck accidents. AAP

Shifting freight to rail could make the Pacific Highway safer

Articulated trucks such as semi-trailers and “B-Doubles” are involved in about 30% of fatal road accidents on the Pacific Highway. As the number of trucks carrying freight between Sydney and Brisbane increases…
To make roads flow better, we need traffic lights to be more efficient. To make roads flow better, we need traffic lights to be more efficient. sinkdd

Going places: why better traffic lights make better sense

If you’ve ever been caught in a traffic jam – and who hasn’t? – you’ll know Australia’s urban road networks are fast approaching full capacity. With the holiday season not far away, traffic jams and road…
It’s time to abandon Australia’s “helmet experiment”. It’s time to abandon Australia’s “helmet experiment”. Tejvan Photos

Make helmets optional to double the number of cyclists in Australia

There’s little doubt Australia would have healthier communities if more of us chose to cycle for transport, exercise or even relaxation. But mandatory helmet laws, introduced in Australia in the 1990s…
How can we dispose of 20 million tyres a year while minimising our environmental impact? How can we dispose of 20 million tyres a year while minimising our environmental impact? ppip

Recycling helps tyred-out rubber hit the road again

Used tyres pose a major environmental risk around the world, with more than one billion tyres disposed of every year. Most of these tyres end up in landfill. Estimates suggest more than 20 million passenger…
Is Australia going down the East Asian high-rise route? Is Australia going down the East Asian high-rise route? eugene

The carbon devil in the detail on urban density

How dense could we be? Very, if you follow much of the commentary in Australian debates about the way we should plan our cities. High-rise residential developments have been springing up in all Australia’s…
Is the family car of our imagination the family car of the future? Is the family car of our imagination the family car of the future? blentley

The end of the Commodore? Redefining the myth of the Australian family car

Over the past ten years, total vehicle sales in Australia have increased by roughly 35%. But sales of the once-most-popular cars, the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon, have halved. This fall in sales has…
Qantas management have taken a risky approach to end their dispute with unions. Qantas management have taken a risky approach to end their dispute with unions. AFP/William West

Planes set to fly again - but what now for Qantas?

Qantas planes are set to return to the air today after Fairwork Australia ruled to terminate an industrial dispute that grounded the airline over the weekend. The extraordinary action on Saturday by Qantas…
Before the motorcar “owned” the road, cyclists weren’t seen as space-taking nuisance. Before the motorcar “owned” the road, cyclists weren’t seen as space-taking nuisance.

Wide Open Road: how did Australia plan pedestrians, cyclists and transit out of its cities?

The ABC documentary Wide Open Road is a totally fascinating history of the car in Australia. The characters who pioneered the car in the Australian bush 100 years ago are remarkable. The images of Australian…
It needs to be easier for cyclists to safely navigate our busy city streets. It needs to be easier for cyclists to safely navigate our busy city streets. H4NUM4N

Helmet-cam captures bike accidents (and could make cycling safer)

CYCLING IN AUSTRALIA: Every year, dozens of cyclists are killed and thousands are injured while riding on Australian roads. Statistics such as these, coupled with all-too-frequent horror stories about…
Sydney has a lot to learn when it comes to cycling culture. Sydney has a lot to learn when it comes to cycling culture. Mikael Colville Andersen

Why Sydney’s cycling culture needs an overseas influence

CYCLING IN AUSTRALIA: There are many reasons cycling should be actively encouraged in our cities: increasing fuel prices, obesity levels and environmental concerns, just to name a few. Yet in comparison…
Intelligent walls could soon help you navigate around public transport. Intelligent walls could soon help you navigate around public transport. Infostructure/Vinh Nguyen

The smart future of public transport

Can you imagine a public transport environment free from the complications of buying a ticket and validating it? What if fare evaders were automatically singled out for their faux pas? Or how about the…
European women love to get on their bikes. European women love to get on their bikes. kamshots/Flickr

Bikes as transport: getting Australian women along for the ride

Cycling for transport in Australia is characterised by several “missing” population groups: women, children, adolescents and older adults. Women comprise about one-fifth of commuter cyclists in Australia…
Would-be cyclists are deterred by mandatory helmet laws. Would-be cyclists are deterred by mandatory helmet laws. Jase Wong

Have helmet laws put the skids on Australia’s bike share scheme?

Public bicycle hire schemes have the potential to generate the well-known health benefits that come with increased exercise. But while Australia has bravely adopted such schemes, mandatory helmet laws…
Is it time for Australian rail to speed up? Is it time for Australian rail to speed up? yewenyi/Flickr

Can Australian high speed rail overcome its bumpy history?

The Australian Government has released an “implementation” study for high speed rail (or HSR) on the east coast with a further study to follow. The proposal looks at corridors between Melbourne, Sydney…
Counterintuitively, the carbon tax may make it harder to get a bus. Counterintuitively, the carbon tax may make it harder to get a bus. Dale Gillard/Flickr

Public transport - collateral damage of our new carbon price

Transport accounts for 14% of Australia’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and has one of the fastest emission growth rates. Cutting our national emissions might, therefore, be expected to shine a blowtorch…
Exempting petrol to protect rural families isn’t very forward thinking. Exempting petrol to protect rural families isn’t very forward thinking. Sids1/Flickr

Carbon-tax-free petrol is a hollow victory for everyday Australians

Full revelations of the Gillard government’s carbon tax are expected in the coming days, but the decision to spare the Australian motorist has just been announced. Picking that this might happen was a…
Investment in Australia’s ports is one obvious priority to enhance growth - but let’s broaden our outlook. Investment in Australia’s ports is one obvious priority to enhance growth - but let’s broaden our outlook.

With the NBN locked in, it’s time to bridge our infrastructure gaps

There has been much debate in the popular and political discourse on the state of our national infrastructure. The general consensus, despite Victoria’s Baillieu government’s failure to put forth any proposals…
Getting out of the car: easy for some. Getting out of the car: easy for some. Hunter Desportes/Flickr

Driven to despair in Australia’s outer suburbs

In cities all over the industrial world, people are driving less. Changes to society and the structures of our cities have made jumping in the car less popular. But what does this mean for people who have…
For politicians, there’s no bright future in pushing up petrol prices. For politicians, there’s no bright future in pushing up petrol prices. Alcohol Gasoline/Flickr

Driving off a cliff? The politics of petrol and carbon-pricing

Politically, increasing petrol prices is one of the least popular things a government can do. But is there any point to a carbon tax if it doesn’t cover petrol? Vladimir Putin has just found how quickly…
Being paid to drive is becoming a thing of the past. Being paid to drive is becoming a thing of the past. Daniel Dionne/flickr

Federal Budget 2011: Honk your horn, the fringe benefits tax is changing

After 25 years, one of the craziest taxation rules in Australia is about to be fixed. The federal government is expected to announce a revamp of fringe benefits tax rules for company cars in Tuesday’s…
I don’t care what it is, I just want it to be on time. I don’t care what it is, I just want it to be on time. Drown/Flickr

Getting public transport right means less emphasis on rail

News of a new bus route will most likely be greeted with indifferent silence, but lobbying for a new train line can keep thousands of potential commuters busy for years on end. It seems that everyone loves…
Congestion charging will reduce Australian traffic loads. Congestion charging will reduce Australian traffic loads. Burning image/Flickr

The case for congestion charging in Australia

As you sit in your usual morning traffic jam, increasingly agitated, blood pressure flying, do you continually wonder “Why can’t they fix this mess?” Widen some roads. Build some new links. Improve the…
At least three-quarters of city commuters travel by car. At least three-quarters of city commuters travel by car. AAP

Carbon tax on petrol has zero chance of cutting emissions

Emissions trading is back in the news and in national political debate, as is the related question of how it will affect Australian motorists. Fair enough. This should receive attention because greenhouse…

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Research Briefs (7)

Want to create jobs? Build a bike path

Research from Massachusetts has found that every dollar spent on cycling infrastructure creates more jobs than a dollar spent…