Australia’s first regular measurement of actual road network performance using anonymised and aggregated Uber data reveals the country’s best performing road corridor and areas with the worst traffic delays.
According to Infrastructure Partnerships Australia’s (IPA) Australian Travel Time Metric, the Perth Airport to CBD is the best performing road corridor in the nation.
“These figures show only a 90 second delay between the airport and Perth CBD during peak hour, making it the best performing major road corridor in Australia,” said IPA CEO Brendan Lyon in a statement.
“These figures show the benefit of good infrastructure on the Perth to CBD corridor, but also show the need for more transport investment across the rest of Perth which is slowing up.
The longest average traffic delay in Perth this quarter was 7.8 minutes between the CBD and Fremantle’s in the morning peak, while the largest increase in journey time was between the Outer Metro and CBD, which great by 62 per cent in the morning peak.
“Our research shows worrying signs that greater Perth’s travel times are growing quickly, while transport infrastructure funding has collapsed in light of the struggling WA budget,” noted Mr. Lyon.
“While the airport CBD corridor is the best in the country, Perth’s wider road and transport systems are stretched.
Mr. Lyon said a major problem for the Government is the fragile and denuded WA state budget, which lacks the money needed to get more transport projects off the shelf and underway.
“WA’s last budget slashed infrastructure funding over the next four years, but this will be a false economy given the short-term need for economic activity and employment and the long-term need for better transport infrastructure.”
The Australian Travel Time Metric placed Brisbane and Sydney equal last on traffic, but for different reasons.
“The data shows motorists spend 50 per cent longer getting across inner Brisbane and the CBD in peak hour showing precisely why Brisbane and Queensland need to find ways to pay for more and better transport,” said Mr. Lyon.
“The biggest drag on traffic in Sydney is the short-term disruption caused by the unprecedented level of transport infrastructure being built in every corner of that city. This means that while Sydney and Brisbane are equal last, Sydney can expect to see major improvements from 2019 as multiple construction sites that are slowing traffic now turn into new motorways and railways that ease congestion,” he said.
The metric found Melbourne is also the only Australian city with improving headline travel times too.
“Melbourne is the only Australian city that has seen a headline improvement in congestion with our figures showing Victoria managing the impacts of growth better than Sydney and the other capitals,” said Mr. Lyon.
“It’s good to see that where Melbourne’s transport performance has fallen, it is related to short-term impacts from new construction, particularly on the CBD-airport and CBD-Chadstone corridors.
“Even with these short-term construction impacts, Melbourne’s road users will on average experience congestion delays that are half that of Sydney.
“This sees Victoria well placed to accommodate population and traffic growth, with major new projects like the Metro, the ring road completion, the West Gate Tunnel and the balance of the grade separations all likely offering further improvements in travel times when they open in the coming years.
He noted that while showing short-term impacts from construction, Melbourne is performing better than the other capital cities but with faster population growth the state needs to keep sprinting to keep up.
Mr. Lyon said the metric provided key insight into how well the road system is performing, within and between Australia’s four major capital cities.
“Urban congestion is the classic ‘frog in boiling water’ problem, we all sense the water is getting warmer but through our partnership with Uber we are able to measure which capital cities are doing well and which are not,” he said.
“Transport infrastructure tends to focus only on what we put in, in terms of dollars spent and projects built, with Uber’s data we are now able to measure what we are getting back and whether it’s getting harder or easier to move around our major cities.”