Transport norms could change following an Infrastructure Victoria report

Infrastructure Victoria has released research showing that fixing transport congestion is key to reducing growing congestion on the roads.

The research shows that a behavioural change is the best solution to reduce growing congestion and crowding on Victoria’s roads and public transport network.

In a report, Good move – fixing transport congestion, research shows that a comprehensive change to the pricing of roads, public transport and parking is key to motivating people to change their time and mode of travel. The report also outlines options for government to consider introducing.

The new work shows that up to 85 per cent of Victorians could pay less for transport when concessions and subsidies are included to ensure a fair and equitable approach.

Good move brings together new transport modelling, international case studies and community opinion that establishes strong evidence for comprehensive reform of our transport pricing system.

Infrastructure Victoria Deputy CEO, Dr. Jonathan Spear said there are three big problems with Victoria’s current transport pricing system. Problems he believes can all be addressed if Victorians change the way they pay and the way they travel.

“Firstly, we have our usual state of congestion on roads and over-crowding on public transport right across the system, then a reliance on new services and new construction to address that congestion, and finally we have no incentive for people to change their mode or time of travel,” Dr. Spear said.

With transport network pricing, prices are set to encourage people to travel at different times and by different modes, helping to take pressure off roads, trains and trams during peak periods.

“Our work shows introducing variable pricing across all modes reduces congestion, motivates people to change their time and mode and also gets the most out of significant government investment in new construction and increased services,” Dr. Spear said.

The Good move paper presents various scenarios across roads, public transport and parking. It showed that average speed in inner melbourne during the morning peak increase by about one third under all of the different scenarios.

It outlines various options for governments to consider ahead of major reform such as; trials of variable pricing to reflect time of day, mode and distance; introduction of distance-based pricing for electric vehicles; trials of variable pricing for on-street parking; and a full-scale trial of cordon charging in inner Melbourne and other congestion hot spots.

“We think the time to test some of this thinking is now,” Dr. Spear said.

“The community has told us they are ready for a change and given us practical and easy to implement conditions to consider in making this change. We also are seeing a groundswell of support from industry, all calling for change.”

“Government has invested significantly in extra services and construction to help ease congestion. A change to transport pricing across roads, public transport and parking complements, and makes the most of, this investment to deliver a better, more efficient and cost-effective transport network for all Victorians,” he said.

Infrastructure Victoria will develop further recommendations, based on more research and consultation, on transport network pricing for inclusion in the update to it’s 30 year strategy.

The draft strategy will be released in late 2020 with a final strategy due in mid-2021.

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