Sydney’s traffic solutions?

With Sydney’s population forecast to reach 10 million by 2050, drastic measures with regard to urban and transportation planning are likely to be required for the city to be able to cope with the demands placed on its services and infrastructure.

The Sydney Morning Herald has been championing this cause of late, setting up independent task forces to analyse and put forward recommendations on how transportation and utilities are planned, funded and developed, named ‘Project Sydney’.

PCI’s blog has published several posts covering the Herald’s recommendations recently – see ‘Sydney Parking 2029’ for our most recent post covering the burgeoning rise in demand for parking and the resulting increase in related charges.

Today’s Sydney Morning Herald saw two more articles published on ‘Project Sydney’. The first, entitled “Abolish councils, make drivers pay”, summarises a report released yesterday by the Association of Consulting Engineers Australia. This report contains some fairly drastic recommendations, a significant redefinition of the local council zones to achieve greater planning efficiencies of scale and, more importantly, a complete user-pays model for all transportation – both public transport as well as roads.

Drivers would have to pay for every kilometre travelled, and train and bus tickets would no longer be subsidised, with users paying a “more realistic price” to meet the cost of providing and operating public transport.

The full report from the ACEA is available here, and as a PDF download here.

The second article, “Charge for road use, Rees urged”, covers a report from the Herald-backed independent enquiry into Sydney’s transport needs. The key recommendation of the article is that congestion charges, or ‘time-of-day pricing’, be implemented on all major roads in Sydney, not just the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The increased cost of use for motorists, it is suggested, would be offset by reinvestment in improved public transport services, or tax cuts. A suggestion is also made to replace the costs of registration and stamp duties with a higher rate of fuel excise to reduce congestion and protect the environment.

PCI believes that good planning is key to sustainable cities into the future. Back in July, PCI’s Managing Partner, Cristina Lynn visited several European cities. During her trip, she collected several notes and observations from both London and Milan. Cristina has authored a report into congestion charging, drawing on learnings from the experiences in both those cities, and applying these to Sydney’s growing traffic and population. You can read her report in full in our following blog post; entitled Traffic congestion – Sydney’s paradigm paralysis.

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