The government is looking to improve infrastructure for non-car using commuters, with urban congestion estimated to cost the economy upwards of $13 billion per year.
If changes are not made, this figure could rise to $20 billion by the end of the decade.
On October 29, federal minister for infrastructure and transport Anthony Albanese released a discussion paper which proposes a number of possible strategies moving forward.
The paper, entitled Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport, is open for public consultation until January 31 2012.
It is available for free download at the Department of Infrastructure and Transport website.
Mr Albanese hopes that future policy will be able to decrease urban congestion and improve the health of the nation.
“Getting more people walking and cycling particularly within 20 minutes of transport nodes and economic and educational hubs, as well as catching public transport, will not only ease congestion on our roads and improve air quality, but also lead to better public health outcomes,” the minister said in a statement.
You may want to have a read of this discussion paper and make a submission. The government will need feedback from motorists, walkers, cyclists and public transport users alike in order to implement effective policies.
Urban congestion can negatively impact every one, as it slows down traffic and adds time to the commute to work.
More importantly, it can also pose a significant safety threat – the more congested our roads, the more at risk people are of having fatal car accidents.
This is one of the reasons why police step up operations over busy periods such as long weekends and public holidays.
Congestion is not only a problem for motorists – it also impacts pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users. The government’s discussion paper is therefore an opportunity for every road user to have their say on how safety and convenience can be improved.
Previous studies have already shown that the better the infrastructure, the safer the commute. Recent research by the University of New South Wales revealed that the number of head injuries seen in hospitals has been decreasing since more cycleways have been in the city.
“There’s no room for doubt that hundreds of serious head injuries are now being avoided every year thanks to helmets, bike lanes and segregated cycleways,” study leader Dr Jake Olivier said.