Traffic is a growing problem across the country, though, and it’s only going to get worse.
A new report commissioned by Australia’s motoring clubs has revealed Sydney is the nation’s most congested city.
Melbourne wasn’t far behind, while Canberra came in third place. Darwin was the least congested city in the country.
The study, commissioned by the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) using road metric data from HERE Technologies, analysed a handful of key routes across our capital cities. The information will be periodically updated.
It measure average speed, percentage of speed limit, free-flow speeds, percentage of free-flow speed and variability of commute time.
Darwin (72.2km/h) offered the highest average speed, ahead of Brisbane (71.5km/h) and Canberra (65.5km/h), while Adelaide (54.3km/h) was
Melbourne drivers were worst off when it came to variability, with the average commute time varying by 27.9 per cent, leading (or should that be trailing) Sydney on 26 per cent, and Adelaide on 24.5 per cent.
“Traffic jams push up emissions and air pollution – damaging public health and the environment,” said Michael Bradley, AAA chief executive.
“Business costs rise and productivity declines when workers and goods are stuck in traffic. These costs end up being passed on to consumers, feeding into our rising cost of living.”
“The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics estimated that congestion cost Australia $16.5 billion in 2015. Without major policy changes, congestion costs are predicted to reach between $27.7 and $37.3 billion by 2030,” he elaborated.
Already the growing number of cars on our roads is taking its toll. Over the five-and-half years covered by this report, speeds in Brisbane and Sydney fell by 3.7 and 3.6 per cent respectively, while Melburnians have suffered a massive 8.2 per cent slowdown.
“Without decisive action, these congestion problems will only get worse and Australians will spend even more time in traffic,” Bradley said.
Traffic is clearly getting on the nerves of commuters. Earlier this year, a study of 1000 inner-city residents of Melbourne and Sydney found it was their biggest forward-looking concern, with Charlie Nelson, director of the study, arguing “governments of all colours have failed to keep up with population growth”.
There’s elections in both Victoria and New South Wales in the next 12 months, and this is going to be huge as an issue for the candidates,” Nelson said.
A congestion charge has been floated as one possible solution, with Infrastructure Australia calling for a “reformed charging framework for our roads” rather than encouraging governments to build their way out of traffic.
“Road market reform has the potential to deliver significant improvements in network performance and address fairness issues, while also establishing a secure and sustainable source of funding for our roads,” said Infrastructure Australia chief executive, Philip Davies.