Road congestion could drop by as much as 60 per cent by investing more money in rail engineering projects, an industry organisation has claimed.
Research commissioned by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) suggested rail investment would be significantly cheaper than road-building initiatives and would achieve the same results.
The data showed rail would cost 57 per cent and 38 per cent less to construct than roads in Brisbane and Perth respectively. ARA chief executive Bryan Nye said rail engineering is fantastic value for money.
“Congestion is costly. It causes slower road speeds, longer travel times, heightened pollution, and increased vehicle running costs, all of which affect the productivity of a city and the nation,” he stated.
“If we continue as we are between now and 2031, without investment or action to reduce congestion, it will cost the city of Brisbane $48 billion and Perth $33 billion in economic and social costs.”
According to the ARA, halving congestion in Brisbane requires the construction of 2,300km of roads, which would cost $46 billion. Just $20 billion of rail investment would have the same impact.
Similarly, 2,000km of roads would be needed in Perth to reduce congestion by 50 per cent – at a cost of $40 billion. Railways would achieve the same for $25 billion.
The impact on commuting would be significant, the organisation argued, particularly as public transport investment is central to the Australian economy.
“Halving congestion would remove 127,000 cars from Brisbane roads and 163,000 cars in Perth each peak hour, giving the average Brisbane and Perth commuter an extra 73 hours per year,” Mr Nye said.
This is the equivalent of almost two weeks annual leave, as commuters in the Queensland and Western Australian capitals lose 11 million and 14 million hours a year respectively stuck in traffic.