The Road Ahead : December January 2010
JIM MCEWAN STORY BY JENNY O'REILLY CONGESTION CHARGES FOR city- bound motorists could be the way of the future for Brisbane, as it battles to beat overcrowded streets. A recent transport costs survey conducted by the RACQ's public policy unit found more than 50 percent of members were prepared to pay $5 or more a day to cut congestion on the capital city's roads. Brisbane's congestion is costing $1.59 billion annually and this is expected to top $3 billion by 2020. Costs aside, it's the slow driving speeds, long trip times, reduced travel time reliability and increased queuing and delays that drive motorists 'around the bend'. RACQ's senior transport economist Susan Furze said it was vital the state's peak motoring body did the survey so it knew how to best advocate for its members on key issues like congestion. More than 2000 people shared their opinion in the online survey. Mrs Furze said a third of respondents were from Brisbane, a third were drawn from south-east Queensland and the other third came from across the rest of Queensland. The survey showed that 50 percent of members regularly drove on congested roads and 93 percent expected congestion to get worse over the next five years. The results indicated that there was greater support for an inner-city congestion charge to combat choked city roads than for CBD parking levies or road tolls. "Nearly 60 percent of our members said 'yes, a congestion charge would work'," Mrs Furze said, "and 54 percent said they consider a daily congestion charge of $5 to be reasonable." However, 26 percent of respondents supported no charge at all. Mrs Furze said every new road the State Government and Brisbane City Council were currently building seemed to be a toll road. "Based on our member feedback, we are asking the government and council to explore the idea of congestion pricing in preference to toll roads." Mrs Furze said the survey showed people would consider changing things like where they shopped, dined out or went to the movies if a congestion charge was brought in. "Most people wouldn't consider moving house or changing where they work," she said. "Public transport was definitely the thing people were willing to try first to avoid the congestion charge." Motorists say that congestion charging could help inner city Brisbane's traffic woes. visit www.roadahead.com.au MORE INFO MAKES YOUR DAY 53 DEC 2009/JAN 2010 THE ROAD AHEAD RACQ SPECIAL REPORT MOTORING FURTHER INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE ON RACQ'S WEBSITE, WWW.RACQ.COM.AU. CLICK ON 'LOBBYING FOR ROAD USERS', THEN 'TRAFFIC & ROADS'.
February March 2010