Options Available to Handle Traffic Congestion

Traffic congestion in the morningThe continuous growth of both the Australian population and economy is increasing the number of vehicles on the road. In urban areas, especially Central Business Districts (CBDs) pedestrians, cyclists and private and public vehicle use are on the rise. With the increase in movement, several factors have contributed to an increase in travel times, creating a chain of events that ultimately leads to a compromised lifestyle.

The State of Traffic in Australia

The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) released an information sheet in 2015 that contained data about the traffic and congestion cost trends in the capital cities of Australia until 2030. The document revealed that the total number of passengers that travel in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart and Darwin has greatly expanded over the past 70 years. In proportion to the speed limit, the average speed of traffic in the capital cities of Australia has declined.

The document also showed that in 2015, the traffic congestion in Australia cost a total of $16.5 billion. This number is comprised of approximately $8 billion in business time costs, $6 billion in private time costs, $1.5 billion in extra vehicle operating costs and $1 billion in extra air pollution costs. The document further indicated that in the next 15 years, the number would rise to a staggering $37.3 billion. The most common causes of traffic congestion are comprised of 40 per cent bottlenecks, 25 per cent traffic incidents, 15 per cent bad weather, 10 per cent work zones, five per cent poor signal timing and five per cent for other reasons.

The Impact of Using Equipment

Authorities are looking towards the improvement of public transportation in place of private vehicles to reduce the volume of traffic in urban areas. Authorities are also identifying infrastructure improvements that include widening roads or allocating separate pedestrian and cyclist paths. These solutions, applied over existing urban networks, have a positive long-term impact but are disruptive and expensive to implement.

As a short-term solution, traffic management experts from TranEx Group suggest installing equipment to control traffic flow, such as traffic lights, regulatory signage and temporary barriers, to manage traffic movement in highly congested areas. The timing and location of the traffic control equipment not only reduces congestion but also maintains road safety.

Ideally, road design and layout in built-up areas is holistic and blends the different modes of transport to maximise safety and efficiency. However, existing factors may restrict the ability to achieve the ideal traffic system. Authorities need a flexible approach when planning infrastructure to match the requirements of population and economic growth. Therefore, to achieve the long-term infrastructure goals, integration of short and mid-term solutions help manage the transition.

Traffic congestion in Australia is a national concern and requires the efforts of the government, public and private sectors and the citizens. A system that provides quick and efficient transportation, while prioritising health and safety, is a major driving factor of the economy. While the ideal solution may be compromised, the combined long, medium and short-term efforts help achieve a sustainable traffic management solution.

Posted on by George Cummins in Insights

Comments are closed.