Some new habits we've seen emerging during the pandemic could help us solve tricky problems like traffic congestion, which have challenged our cities for a long time.
NSW Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance announces a move to the next stage of planning for the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link project in November 2019.
Once again, the state looks intent on pressing ahead with a huge road project without releasing a business case. Among the many concerns is the failure to look at lower-emission alternatives.
The continued upward trend in our second-biggest source of emissions is a result of government inaction on a transport mix dominated by trucks and cars and a lack of fuel-efficiency standards.
Widespread use of autonomous vehicles could increase or cut greenhouse gas emissions. It all depends on public policy.
The sweeping introduction of driverless cars could see more vehicles on the road, driving longer distances. But smart planning could solve some of transit-associated environmental and social problems.
Demonstrations against freeway construction in Melbourne included a street barricade erected in protest at the F19 extension of the Eastern Freeway.
Barricade! – the resident fight against the F19
Public protests eventually forced the scrapping of some proposed freeways in 1973. Today, we have another round of projects and people are protesting again, with good reason. Government should listen.
When politicians use selected modelling results to justify their decisions on contentious projects like Melbourne’s North East Link, the credibility of transport models suffers by association.
Transport modelling has been tarnished by its use to justify the predetermined projects politicians favour. But, if used more transparently, it's a valuable tool for planning our future cities.
The Melbourne Transportation Plan included every freeway and major arterial road built in the city since 1969.
While called a transportation plan,
it was heavily skewed towards roads. We need the type of city-shaping thinking that underpinned the plan, but today's plans must match 21st-century priorities.
The Australian and Victorian governments have both promised funding for a Melbourne Airport rail link, but a private consortium’s unsolicited proposal is also on the table.
Unsolicited market proposals are not transparently assessed. Infrastructure should be built to serve the public interest, not shaped by its private backers, but the checks to ensure this are broken.
A whole range of social and technological changes could revolutionise how we travel in the coming decades.
Car owners’ attachment to driving and the willingness of others to switch from public transport could confound rosy predictions for autonomous vehicles.
Scenarios based on a survey of Adelaide commuters and analyses of traffic flows show it's possible the congestion could get worse in the transition to driverless vehicles.
In cities like Copenhagen that have good infrastructure for cycling it’s an established commuting option alongside road and rail.
A breakdown in the road or rail systems often causes commuter chaos in Australia. Some overseas cities are more resilient because they have other options – and our bicycle network could give us that.
If more of us were free to work from home, fewer of us would be stuck in traffic.
Daria Chichkareva, fkigali/Shutterstock
Two-thirds of surveyed workers work from home one day a week on average, but could do at least half their work out of the workplace. If they commuted less often, congestion could be greatly reduced.
Analysing big data can tell us how a big city ticks, including where suitable housing and jobs are, and how best to get to them.
We have learnt to be wary of big data, but it can also be your friend: one platform combines and analyses data about housing, jobs and transport to reveal very useful information about living in Perth.
Vancouver used traffic congestion as a ‘stick’ and the SkyTrain as a ‘carrot’ in a strategy to discourage car use and make the city a better place to live.
Instead of spending ever more on roads, we can learn from Vancouver's use of congestion as a 'friend' in managing the development of transport networks and of the city itself.
Urgent and radical change in urban transport policies and practices will benefit the planet and future generations.
To cut emissions within the 12 years or so we have left to avoid disastrous global warming, we will need to change our old transport habits, using a combination of strategies to achieve this.
Transport promises stretching as far as the eye can see: Victorian Labor’s big one is a $A50 billion suburban rail loop.
Whichever party wins, Victoria's new government will have promised the biggest transport infrastructure project in Australian history. So what are the promises and are they backed by proper assessment?
Road crashes and deaths are a grim daily reality all over the world.
Road traffic injuries are one of the leading causes of death worldwide.
Rift Valley Road in Ethiopia.
Smart roads in Africa could help reduce the impact of flooding and other disasters that affect rural communities.
Another election, another infrastructure promise – in the Andrews government’s case, a $50 billion suburban rail loop.
In the election bidding wars, parties commit billions to transport projects, often before all the work needed to justify these has been done. More cost-effective alternatives hardly get a look-in.
UK government minister Liz Truss says upping the motorway speed limit will increase productivity. Let's look at the facts.