The cost of congestion

The State of Australian Cities Report released on Friday March 12 concludes that the cost of congestion in our cities will rise to around $20.4 billion by 2020, impacting adversely on Australian productivity.

The report is not, however, just concerned with the economic impacts of congestion, but with the social impacts including, for example, the reduction in the amount of time available for families to spend together.

According to the Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese, congestion will have a great impact on the city residents’ quality of life, saying that governments have a role to play in making cities less congested, less polluted and less frustrating for its inhabitants.

The report warns that our unwavering commitment to the dream of a stand-alone home means cities will continue to spread and cars will continue to dominate the urban landscape. It also found that productivity is slowing on an international comparison.

Brisbane and Perth were expected to more than double in population size in the next 20 years, with Sydney and Melbourne to reach seven million each. Transport emissions alone are projected to increase by 22.6% over the period from 2007 to 2020.

“After a decade of strong growth in international terms, since the late 1990s Australia’s relative productivity growth performance has deteriorated,” it says.

Efforts by all spheres of government, the private sector and communities to address sustainability have been increasing, but with variable success.

The final word, from Mr Albanese: “The cities of tomorrow will need to confront our energy-intensive lifestyles, our water consumption, the growth in motor vehicle dependency, in congestion and transport emissions.”

You can view the report in full at Australian Policy Online, here.

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