Articles on Roads

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A well designed user pays system for Australian roads would help boost productivity. Image sourced from shutterstock.com

Road users must pay, sooner rather than later

The longer Australia waits for reform to road use pricing, the more commuters will ultimately end up paying.
If the choice is between waiting in their cars and long waits on inefficient public transport, many people prefer to drive. AAP/Julian Smith

Traffic congestion: is there a miracle cure? (Hint: it’s not roads)

Once a new road opens, people switch back to cars and congestion increases back to a steady-state point of gridlock. For lasting effectiveness, policy needs to include congestion charges and better rail services.
The mathematical modelling of traffic networks can throw up conflicting results. Flickr/Wendell

The maths of congestion: springs, strings and traffic jams

The planning for any new road should include plenty of mathematical modelling. But getting the right numbers can be a challenge and there's the odd paradox to deal with as well.
More mines, more roads, as the government puts its drive towards economic development ahead of all else. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

There are no green shoots for sustainability in this Budget

Amid talk of paths to surplus and investing in infrastructure, both sides of politics seem to have forgotten Australia's longstanding responsibility to govern sustainably, and not just for the economy.
Tunnel vision: the claim that more roads equals less congestion fails to see the wider picture. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Do more roads really mean less congestion for commuters?

A new road may provide motorists with some level of respite from congestion in the short term. But almost all of the benefit from the road will be lost in the longer term.
A ranger looks at the skull of an elephant killed by poachers - a frequent side-effect of development projects that open up remote forests to human access. Ralph Buij

Roads to ruin: the pitfalls of the G20’s infrastructure bonanza

The G20 has pledged to spend more than US$60 trillion on new infrastructure in the next 15 years, much of which will affect pristine areas. Without a solid plan, the environmental toll could be huge.
Victoria’s voters have spoken – and they have said no to Melbourne’s new freeway tunnel. AAP Image/Julian Smith

The East-West Link is dead – a victory for 21st-century thinking

Labor’s state election victory in Victoria has fatally undermined Melbourne’s most controversial tunnel, the now-doomed East-West Link, with new Premier Daniel Andrews pledging to rip up the contracts…
Economic modelling suggests raising fuel taxes could get cars off the road - and therefore save lives. Khongkit Wiriyachan/Shutterstock

Increasing fuel taxes could save thousands of lives worldwide

Road safety is a seriously important public policy issue. Around 1.3 million people die in road crashes around the world each year. Among teenagers and young adults, road crashes are the number-one cause…
Most new roads will be built in developing nations. Here, a road-killed tapir in Peninsula Malaysia. © WWF-Malaysia/Lau Ching Fong

Global ‘roadmap’ shows where to put roads without costing the earth

“The best thing you could do for the Amazon is to blow up all the roads.” These might sound like the words of an eco-terrorist, but it’s actually a direct quote from Professor Eneas Salati, a forest climatologist…
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…
Roads are the way to go for the 2014 federal budget. tim rich and lesley katon/Flickr

Federal budget 2014: infrastructure experts react

The Abbott government has committed an additional A$11.6 billion for an “infrastructure growth package” that is heavy on roads, but aimed at fast-tracking what it considers critical infrastructure. The…

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