Congestion

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By Matin Sabzichin

 

In the higher income world of traffic congestion statistics; Australia is second just under New Zealand with the average trip taking 27.5 percent longer according to a report in New Geography using data from the Tom Tom traffic index.

Adding more roads and lanes has not helped with traffic congestion as this is causing more people to depend on their cars. According to Vic Roads more than ten years ago the average number of people per car was 1.3 and now it is 1.2. The government is putting money towards the public transport system however it is using the most cost effective measures that it can, not realising that ‘you get what you pay for’, resulting in poor planning and services. This is causing more people to rely on their cars as they find that it is less cramped, more reliable and they are in control.

More improvements, services and ideas like free Wi-Fi on public transport will definitely lower traffic congestion, resulting in fewer cars on our roads. However with the way things are going it is going to be a while before we see our government spend enough money on the services that the public needs. The Napthine government would much rather spend more than 1 billion dollars on re-designing Flinders Street station so that tourists that visit Melbourne can see how great our transport system looks from the outside without having to use it every day. The annual economic cost of congestion is going to rise from 3 billion to 6 billion by the year 2020.

Another issue we are facing is parking at train stations; because most of them are lacking parking spaces this increases the amount of parking fines that commuters receive and pushes people to drive more instead of catching the train – unfortunately most of the car parks at a lot of train stations are usually quickly filled by the early commuters. In the financial year of 2012 until June 30th 2013, in Victoria alone, there were 6190 fines issued at train stations for parking. Werribee coming in first with 1115 infringement notices being issued despite it having 592 parking spaces.

There is another way to help ease traffic congestion and it is cost free; recently some schools have suggested earlier or later starts. These starts have been suggested as a lot of adolescents aren’t getting enough sleep. Templestowe college will be trialling these starts next year and if other high schools, and even primary schools, start embracing these changes it will help ease early morning traffic congestion with parents taking their children to school after the peak morning congestion.

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