School of Civil Engineering

This article was written by Dr Jake Whitehead from the UQ School of Civil Engineering for The Conversation.

Road congestion is costing Australia more than an avoidable A$16 billion every year. This is set to almost double to A$30 billion by 2030. That’s why we have a new minister for cities and urban infrastructure, Alan Tudge, who says he’s looking forward to “congestion busting”.

It’s also why state election campaigns repeatedly focus on reducing congestion. The Victorian Labor government’s recent announcement of a plan to build “the biggest public transport project in Australian history” is a good example.

The proposed A$50 billion underground rail link will allow commuters to travel between suburbs without having to go into the city. And transport minister Jacinta Allan said it will take 200,000 cars off major roads.

While the project’s 2050 timeline is disappointing, this is a step in the right direction. If federal, state and local governments are serious about congestion, the discussion must continue to move beyond our obsession with more roads.

Building more roads is not a long-term solution to solving congestion. Most new roads, and the temporary de-congestion they may bring, simply lure more people into their cars. Eventually congestion increases, except now with more cars on the road, further exacerbating the original problem.

Read the full article below for the four alternative measures to “bust” congestion and improve our overall quality of life.