Labor and the Coalition are promising $19 billion between them for transport projects – way down on the $163 billion promised in 2018 – but they’re as scornful of proper assessment processes as ever.
Reforming how drivers pay for the costs of their road use can help keep traffic flowing, which is just one of the potential benefits.
Traffic congestion is the main cost that cars create when they use existing roads. Road use charges are a more efficient and fairer way to cover the cost and help ensure traffic flows.
A trial of 1,400 drivers across Melbourne suggests time-of-use charges can be effective in easing traffic congestion.
A city-wide experiment suggests well-designed road use charges could ease congestion by encouraging people to drive at different times, take other routes or use other transport.
An artist’s impression of the new river crossing to be built as part of the West Gate Tunnel project.
Western Distributor Authority
Melbourne’s proposed road project relies on assumptions that inflate estimates of the traffic the new link will carry – but other choices about the future of transport are open to us.
Political calculations drove the Abbott and Baird governments’ decisions on investing taxpayers’ money in the WestConnex project.
Reckless government investment decisions are sadly the norm when it comes to transport infrastructure. Three key checks on the decision-making process can help ensure taxpayers get value for money.
Sydney’s WestConnex road project has a surprisingly low ‘worst case’ cost estimate.
Our infrastructure systems should promise what is worth having, and then deliver what is promised.
The car-based logic of Melbourne’s 1969 transport plan has been deeply implanted into Victorians’ collective consciousness.
Most enlightened governments have realised the focus on private cars at the expense of active and public transport is not viable.
Road user pricing would encourage people to take non-essential trips at a different time, or not at all.
Charging people to drive has been the dream of policy wonks – serving politicians tend to see it as political poison. So when federal minister Paul Fletcher raises it, that’s a step forward.
The budget doesn’t provide either the infrastructure investment or financing details needed to flesh out the Smart Cities Plan.
The budget paints a picture of higher debt, little relief for growing cities crying out for infrastructure investment, and no detail of how City Deals might work to fix this.
The report criticises the state’s failure to adequately integrate the planning of land use development and transport priorities, but falls into the same trap itself.
Infrastructure Australia’s latest report is substantial but, critically, it fails to incorporate the transport thinking needed to develop more compact cities that work better for everyone.
According to all the data, urban car use has peaked, but official traffic modelling forecasts a remarkable reversal.
On average, people won’t accept a commuting time of more than an hour. As cities grow ever bigger, new road projects can’t achieve this, yet policymakers still rely on modelling that defies evidence.
A focus on freeways will drive Australia’s transport emissions up.
Leonard John Matthews
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…