Maritime and Transport | Planning & Design

Expert speaks out on Sydney traffic

8 Oct 2008, by Informa Australia

[youtube=http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=er-rigZWCqM]

KEN DOBINSON, former NSW Roads and Traffic Authority Director
current Director of the advocacy group FROGS, or 10,000 Friends of Greater Sydney

The charging system on sections of Sydney’s road network needs to be applied more cleverly in the interests of better traffic management, says former Roads and Traffic Authority Director Ken Dobinson.

‘We do need a charging system on sections of our road network,” he says, rejecting the notion of a CBD congestion charge like that imposed in London.

“We already have it on [freeway] tolls, but we should do it more cleverly and get it to manage traffic better.”

Mr Dobinson says in an interview that Sydney’s freeway system, like many in the world, was planned properly.

However the plan was compromised by political decisions like cash backs on the Orbital and no tolls on the M5, which was planned with a toll and now gets overused, and a toll on the Lane Cove Tunnel, which is then not used enough.

Mr Dobinson, director of advocacy group ’10 Thousand Friends of Greater Sydney’ (FROGS) is to chair the Future City Transport Summit.

He says the city’s transport problems have resulted not so much from lack of funding but from imprudent spending and poor political decisions.

“We are spending enough money on transport in Sydney; we’re just wasting it by being over-indulgent on projects, for example the Cross City Tunnel and the Lane Cove Tunnel.

What we should be doing is spending on worthwhile projects like accelerating the clearways program and the bus program, buying more buses and getting metro trains to replace a lot of our double deckers.”

Mr Dobinson says the “carrot and stick” approach is very useful in getting people to change their behaviour. “Certainly we got the stick with the fuel prices rises but we’re missing out on the carrot. You can’t expect people to accept changes like that unless you give them an alternative mode to use.

“In this case we have very poor public transport in certain areas and in some areas like the north-west region we have none.

“I’m hoping that the summit will provide a better understanding of Sydney’s transport problems and some great ideas on how to make it work.”

Further information: www.futurecitytransport.com.au

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