Population ponzi to grind Melbourne to a halt

By Leith van Onselen

Infrastructure Victoria is the latest to warn that Melbourne is facing eternal gridlock as its population soars way beyond the capacity of the road system. From The Age:

Melbourne is set to become so choked by cars in coming decades that the average speed during the morning peak will drop to just 31 kilometres an hour – even with billions of dollars of planned road and rail upgrades.

In a depressing analysis of the challenges facing Australia’s fastest growing city, Infrastructure Victoria bluntly warns it will be impossible for Melbourne to build its way out of congestion…

As it is, about 30 per cent of car trips today happen on congested roads during the morning peak.

But by 2046, the number of daily trips made on the transport network is expected to soar by 74 per cent.

The report, suggesting state and federal governments could be forced to take some tough political decisions in the near future, found congestion is already costing about $4.6 billion a year. But this is expected to more than double to $10.2 billion by 2030.

It said within 15 years, delays caused by traffic snarls will be costing every Melburnian an average of $1700 a year more than under a scenario where traffic could move more freely…

Infrastructure Victoria chief executive Michel Masson said a new road pricing regime was badly needed to better manage demand…

He said it would be impossible for Melbourne to build its way out of the problem, given the rate of population growth.

Infrastructure Victoria’s report has coincided with another from business consultants Ernst and Young, which warns that Melbourne’s tram system also risks grinding to a halt. Also from The Age:

Slow tram speeds caused by increased congestion on the roads is a growing problem – trams travel at average speeds of 15.7 km/h now, down from 17.2 km/h in 2012, the report says.

It also notes that Melbourne needs better tram stop design and traffic treatment at major stops, to ease overcrowding and safety problems…

Melbourne needs more trams, with greater separation so they don’t get stuck in traffic so much…

“The forecast population growth and changing employment patterns in Melbourne will change transport demand, placing considerable strain on our public transport system, as people become less reliant on car ownership and increasingly look to public transport to meet their evolving travel needs,” the report predicts.

This site has long supported road pricing, since it discourages drivers who make relatively low value trips. Those who aren’t prepared to pay will make the trip at another time, shift to public transport, or decide it’s not worth making at all.

Research shows that a 5% reduction in the number of vehicles can increase average vehicle speeds by 10-30%. Moreover, road pricing would obviously reduce the need for new infrastructure spending by using what is already there more efficiently.

That said, road pricing treats the symptom of congestion and not its true cause: Melbourne’s rampant population growth caused by Australia’s high immigration program.

In the decade to June 2015, Melbourne added an incredible 832,000 people – the largest population increase out of Australia’s capital cities (see next chart).

ScreenHunter_16219 Nov. 21 15.03

Moreover, official projections have Melbourne’s population increasing by around 1,850 people per week (97,000 people per year) for the next 35 years!

ScreenHunter_16207 Nov. 21 10.45

There is simply no way that road pricing could possibly mitigate such growth and prevent congestion and overall livability from falling.

As the Productivity Commission illustrated in its recent Migrant Intake Australia report, immigration policy is a defacto population policy. If our policy makers choose to persist with a high immigration program then Australia’s population will hit 40 million or more by 2060, with most of this added population flowing to Melbourne and Sydney. However, if we cut immigration back significantly, Australia’s population will be much smaller, as it will be in our major cities (see next chart).

ScreenHunter_16208 Nov. 21 10.59

Indeed, the Productivity Commission estimated a 13 million difference in Australia’s population size in 2060 between persisting with historical rates of immigration (40 million) and zero net overseas migration (27 million).

Given the strains across our big cities, Blind Freddy can see that the optimal thing to do is to reduce Australia’s net overseas migration to much lower levels than the circa 200,000 currently. This would unquestionably relieve pressures on congestion, housing, and overall living standards, while forestalling the need for costly retrofitting of infrastructure to accommodate more people.

It is a policy choice how big and crowded Australia’s cities become. We must exercise this choice by cutting immigration significantly and aiming for a smaller, more sustainable and more liveable Australia.

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Comments

  1. Leith, good on you for maintaining the rage, and you’re right of course; the optimal thing is to reduce our migration numbers, but both sides (or all sides) of government have made it abundantly clear that they absolutely refuse to listen to general opinion in this matter. We are powerless. We could vote them out next time, but we have two choices – either we vote for a party who is hell-bent on growing the population at breakneck speed or we vote for a party who is hell-bent on growing the population at breakneck speed. They will NOT listen to common sense, and in any case, the racist card will be brought up every time.

    It’s frustrating to watch Melbourne and Sydney’s quality of life deteriorate by the day, but when you say it’s a policy choice how big and crowded our cities become, sadly, the choice is not yours or mine. It’s the choice of those at the behest of the real estate industry and big business. We get told what’s good for us, and no discussion is ever welcomed.

    • I voted for SAP and ONP on 2 July. But I dare not say that on my Facebook!

      I will vote for Pauline at every election from now on.

      • I’m with you here, but how’s she going since her snout entered the trough? She’s been non existent on this topic. Has the media blackbanned her or is she happy to just make up the numbers in Parliament now she’s there? This is the risk with these so called political disruptors – full of bluster and hot air pre election and lacking action once in the hot seat.

      • I will vote ON too. Pauline has not got the numbers to push anti immigration at the moment. She has been ridiculed terribly as an ignorant moron each time she has mentioned that since the 90’s to now. The traitorous anti environment Greens for Big Population dont help as they fight tooth and nail as their numbers drop and ONP increases and they dislike her lots so LNP is the only choice.
        If we get a big economic fall in the next couple years this will increase anti immigration ire and make it easier.
        OK she is sweetly getting LNP preferences, excellent what else is she to do. Look at Trump, was getting ready to run since 1980(discussed on Oprah then) nested in the Republicans who gave him a name.

      • Me too!
        I’ve gone a step further and joined and donated. I’ve also offered volunteering. My inner city suburban neighbours and the parents at the school are in for a surprise….but then again, so might I be.

  2. One way to cut immigration is to stop letting kids of 457 visa workers study in Vic government schools for free. Charge every one of them $10k/year.

    And charge foreigners $2,000 per year for car rego.

    And $25/day for a train/bus ticket.

    That would be a treat. 🙂

  3. I’ve personally followed the advice of many commentators here – and have left Melbourne. A young, highly educated and productive citizen lost to continental Europe permanently.
    Apart from the English language, there is really nothing I miss about Australia.
    The cost of housing is ludicrously lower. Any complaints about higher VAT rates are trumped by the huge reduction in this largest living expense. Food and drink are notably cheaper too.
    Being able to go out and buy beers at any store late at night, have shots at a nightclub after 3am, and ride a bike without a helmet free of the nanny state is hugely refreshing.
    Many in my new country are bewhildered at why I’m here – they all want to move to Australia. I have to joke about ‘dangerous animals’ or ‘the weather is too hot’ to hide the truly shitty situation :-/

  4. “But by 2046, the number of daily trips made on the transport network is expected to soar by 74 per cent.”

    Does the report take into account improvements in technology by then or only projected increases in population?

    I’d expect that by 2046 there will be a large reduction in full ownership (per capita) of cars, with the population making use of electric, self driving cars. Go outside your door, say “Ok Google, drive me to work”, within 1 minute a self driving car with 2 other passengers from your local area rocks up and collects you taking the three of you to the city, reducing the number of vehicles you would have previously used by 66%, using the fastest route that won’t impact on traffic congestion.

    • It’s bad enough taking the bus with coughing and splattering passengers.

      I wouldn’t want to get in a car with a couple of strangers.

      I’d feel worse if I got in a car with one stranger…. who was wearing a G string and a beard.

    • Yes BB, because people are all civilized, mannered and behave in such linear, algorithmically predictable ways.

      It may be dismissed as “it’s implementation detail, focus on the big picture, square!” but I think the “antisocial component” has to be addressed before this utopian view of yours turns into a nightmarish dystopian reality.

      All I can say is that as someone who lived in the eastern block, once “everyone is responsible” for something, in reality no one is. They all stop caring, and more to the point they start sabotaging it.

      It’s a nice intellectual frottage exercise on a Monday morning, I give you that.

    • When that day comes, human, both driver and pedestrians, will be banned from the roads. That is the only way self-driving cars can be made ‘safe’ from legal liabilities.

    • 30 years ago – 1986 – they were talking flying cars and hoverboards. Things aren’t that different today from 86, except for the congestion..

    • Its not a silver bullet. There is a great writeup elsewhere as to why self-driving cars will cause more congestion. This is the summary that I can remember:
      1) A self-driving car doesnt need to stay parked in the work parking lot. It can drive back home. This means that instead of using the road twice a day (once in each direction) it uses the road 4 times a day.
      2) Instead of seeking a park, if someone only intends on being in the shopping center for a short while, they can tell their car to ‘circle the block’ for an hour. If enough people do that-> congestion.
      3) (my opinion) People who might currently use public transport would now be able to use a car again as parking considerations are no longer an issue
      4) (my opinion) Councils will jump at the opportunity to sell existing parking lot space. So long before points (1) and (2) come into effect, councils will have sold off the parking lots under the argument ‘technology solves all problems’. By the time the congestion issue is recognised, it wont be possible to go back to a parked car model.

      There were some other points but you can see how self-driving cars change the rules a lot.

      • Why wouldn’t you assume that driverless cars will be privately owned? Having the car ready in the driveway, and being able to store your stuff in it are some of the biggest reasons people prefer a car to public transport.

      • I think you are missing a couple of things. Cars won’t need to all fit 5-7 people. Most ‘cars’ will be single width pods (like a BMW C1), as if they are self driving they can drive side by side (or even 3) and closer together (like forming a ‘train’.) You could ‘order’ a 4-16 person car. So your density of cars on the road can increase by more than a factor of 4 (where there was a car, with another 2 car lengths behind you now have 2 side by side and another 2 filling that gap.) The time to drive will decrease as car will not need to stop at intersections – they ‘know’ other cars in the intersection and will drive thru the gaps (think of 2 marching bands criss-crossing each other). There will be a number of car parks purchased to house some of the driverless cars if that is the usage pattern. Again, they can fit 5-10 times the amount of cars in them as they don’t need lifts/stairs or more than a few mm between each of them (no one needs to get out, or have random departure times – it is last in first out).

        Google/Apple Home will know/remember/guess that when you finish brushing your teeth that you will want a single car pod going to work out the front of your house in 5 minutes, and when your alarm goes off you will want it on average in 73 minutes.

        If you do the maths on what you fully pay each year for your car (depreciation, maintenance, fuel, etc) then it won’t take a very cheap service to be cost effective.

      • Even if the cars arent privately owned, many of the same issues will still exist. You’ll still have cars on the road that would otherwise be parked, you’ll still have people who would rather a car circled the block than wait an extra x minutes/hours for another to be dispatched and arrive.

        The thing about pod size, pods being dispatched automatically, traffic lights being unnecessary due to pods being aware of each other- All of it assumes a fairly instant and generic implementation of driverless vehicles. Human drivers will continue to be on the road with driverless cars in the same way that cars from the 70s and 80s are on the road today. The adoption rate will be slow because every driverless car accident (and there WILL be accidents) will be “man bites dog” newsworthy stories leading to a significant portion of the populace refusing to adopt until they’re 100% sure that its ok, or that they have no choice. The only way a pod is being dispatched automatically as a result of my life being routine, is if I make an agreement with the dispatching company to pay for the dispatch regardless of whether I use it. This is because if they dispatch one when I dont need it and didn’t explicitly order it, how could I possibly be charged for the use? And anyone who thinks technology will be cross compatible from day 1 should go sit down and watch of the latest movies on the HD DVD player. Or try switching between Android/Apple and back again.

        When people talk about driverless vehicles they’re always imagining the city. Where there are detailed council plans/approvals, the roads are all sealed, properly marked/signposted and so on. They assume they can use crowdsourcing for local traffic information. They dont think about the commercial traffic going out to farms on unsealed or poorly marked roads. Where breakdowns are a long wait for a mechanic, where the road may have a large branch across it still from last night’s storm.

        Taxi drivers have something to fear from driverless vehicles. But a country like Australia will have human drivers for a long time yet. And if the shit really hits the fan and poverty starts setting in? Guarantee you driverless vehicles will reduce in popularity if they’re easily stopped by an obstruction. Afterall, they’re potentially carrying cargo as well as their expensive batteries and car parts. Setup a fake order with a fake profile and steal the whole thing enroute. A thief’s dream.

      • What stuff is the average person storing in their car?

        Have you ever been in someone’s car ?!

        Just in our own car on a permanent basis: baby seats, a pram, sports equipment, phone chargers, money, sunscreen, a couple of towels, a torch and a first aid kit.

        Then there’s the stuff you might want to leave in it for a bit after getting home (because you have more pressing things to do), like shopping or the golf clubs.

      • I think you are missing a couple of things. Cars won’t need to all fit 5-7 people. Most ‘cars’ will be single width pods (like a BMW C1), as if they are self driving they can drive side by side (or even 3) and closer together (like forming a ‘train’.)

        That’s all very Popular Mechanics, but I think you’ll find a fairly large percentage of trips are 2-4 people, so a substantial portion of the fleet will need to be able to meet those needs.

        Then there’s the convenience thing. Since the vehicles will never be right outside (especially the further and further you get from the CBD) there will nearly always be a wait.

        Finally there’s the penetration problem. Your scenario is unrealistic until every vehicle in the road is autonomous, which is decades away at best.

        If you do the maths on what you fully pay each year for your car (depreciation, maintenance, fuel, etc) then it won’t take a very cheap service to be cost effective.

        I’ve done the maths. On a pure $$$ basis it would be about the same cost for me to not own a car, use public transport and taxis, and hire a car for the times when taxis are not appropriate.

        I own a car (and a motorbike) because it’s convenient, practical and, as someone else reminded me, fun.

        Like I said, almost all the benefits touted from a consumer perspective about not-privately-owned robot cars already exist today in taxis, yet people have not given up their private vehicles in droves for taxis.

        These centrally-owned robot cars will need to be dirt cheap for people to give up their private vehicles en masse for them.

      • “What stuff is the average person storing in their car?

        Have you ever been in someone’s car ?!”

        Yep – used goGet car’s for about a year, including six months with a baby. It’s hard to imagine the convenience of being able to leave your stuff in the car until you have to remove every single item from your car every single time you finish driving. Just being able to leave the baby seat and the pram there is beyond price, or even, as you say, not needing to completely remove every single item you bought the second you come home (‘cos your’e charged for the time you have the car, not how far you drove)

        Now with two kids in two different car seats (i.e. for different age groups) it would simply be impossible to not own my own car and still get them anywhere beyond the youngest’s capability to walk (about 100m to the milk bar at the end of the street).

      • “which is decades away at best” – drsmithy

        Which is the time frame that forms the premise of my question, which no one has attempted to answer I might add. If you want to make yourself useful drsmithy, why don’t you start with an answer to the question?

        @Robert, your point about the baby gear is noted, but not really insurmountable (I just can’t be bothered getting bogged down in mostly irrelevant semantics). Some may choose to have a family vehicle at home for use at night and weekends and still have one parent using the ride sharing service if it’s cheap enough. Some people don’t have kids or have kids that are old enough not to need the special car seat and pram.

        The bottom line is that we shouldn’t be assuming society will still be using transport options the same way 30 years into the future. If you think differently, then we’ll have to agree to disagree.

      • The bottom line is that we shouldn’t be assuming society will still be using transport options the same way 30 years into the future.

        But your hypothetical examples are all describing basically how people use transport options today !

      • @BB – the predictions 30 years ago about life today were extremely far off. My first car was made almost a decade before I was born. It still runs.There are still Kombi vans. Manual transmissions are still a thing. The first electric car was made over 100 years ago. Just because a technology exists, doesnt mean it will become dominant. Many inferior technologies beat technically superior ones because of price or local conditions.

    • The question I always ask is: people could have been doing this already for decades, with taxis, yet have not. Instead they choose the inconvenience of driving themselves. Why will robot cars be any different, when the same people who choose to drive themselves today, will be able to hop into their self-driving car tomorrow and read the paper or play minecraft on the way to work ?

      • Why don’t people use a taxi now (over public transport or driving their own vehicle)? Probably a lot to do with cost.

        Take the driver out of the equation and split the total 3-4 ways. What would previously have been a $40 taxi fare might cost you around $5-10.

        If you had the choice of a shared car ride with 3 other people with door to door service for $7.50 or $5 for public transport, 50 other people in the same carriage, with a 10-15 minute walk either side… which would you choose?

      • But the cost of the driver is bugger all. Taxi drivers make the equivalent of maybe $10/hr.

        Your driverless Uber is not going to be a lot cheaper than a current taxi (if at all).

        A shared car trip is likely to be longer than a public transport equivalent as well, due to disparate pickup/dropoff locations and congestion.

      • I only addressed ride sharing vs public transport above, but I expect when the cost is low enough it is likely to win over vehicle owners also. Whether this transformation starts by 2046 is another matter… but we can’t just assume everything will stay the same from a transport perspective with the disruptive technologies that are creeping in.

      • Apart from the cost, the obvious answer is that people don’t want to wait even a minute for the car to arrive (and it’s difficult to see why driverless cars would reduce the wait time compared to current taxis or Ubers, especially if you’re going to share the ride with other passengers – something that seems fantastically unlikely to take off btw)

      • Not that different in the sense you may have to book the pickup, except the driverless cars will be able to workout the most efficient/fastest/closest vehicle able to make the collection which will reduce the time it takes for the vehicle to reach your door and when the vehicle can arrange collection of multiple passengers heading in the same direction it has the potential to substantially reduce the cost per passenger.

        You seem to underestimate the impact that automation will have on the car industry over time. I take it you won’t actually be answering the one question I had then? If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance…

      • Not that different in the sense you may have to book the pickup, except the driverless cars will be able to workout the most efficient/fastest/closest vehicle able to make the collection which will reduce the time it takes for the vehicle to reach your door and when the vehicle can arrange collection of multiple passengers heading in the same direction it has the potential to substantially reduce the cost per passenger.

        Oh, please. This was done this a decade ago with good “old”-fashioned GPSes and telephone booking systems. Heck, it was done many decades ago with puny humans, scheduling books, and street directories.

        I drove cabs for years. The real problem in your plan is basically everybody hates multi-hires. Riders only do it when they’re desperate (properly desperate – as in, take a multi hire or it’s a 30-60 minute wait desperate).

        You seem to underestimate the impact that automation will have on the car industry over time.

        I don’t think so. My view is that autonomous non-private vehicles offer little more than taxis have for years except – maybe – slightly lower costs.

        On the other hand, autonomous private vehicles have not only all the things people already prefer over taxis, but the advantage of not having to drive as well.

        Hence my conclusion is that there’s little reason to believe people will give up private car ownership in the foreseeable future.

        I take it you won’t actually be answering the one question I had then? If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance…

        I don’t actually know what you’re talking about. I thought all your questions had been answered. My overriding point is that this is not a technical “problem”, it’s a people “problem”.

        If you don’t own a car now, you probably won’t own a car in the future and all it really holds for you is a little less eau de chauffeur.

        If you do own a car now, why aren’t you already catching taxis & public transport everywhere ? Chances are the answer is the same reason you’ll want a private vehicle in the future as well, even if you’re not turning the wheel.

        I really have nothing vested in this. Quite frankly, I don’t care either way and have a preference to be wrong. But I want a better reason for why I’m wrong than ‘because futuristic technology’.

      • My question is simply, “is projected increases in population the only thing taken into account when calculating trips?” (in the report mentioned)… let me know when you can answer it.

      • I think this is it. The introduction claims it is only about road pricing, so I would guess it has just taken

        On page 29 there are some graphs that reference “KPMG 2016” as the source. I think this is the document it’s referring to which, similarly, only seems to be talking about congestion charging. On page 5 it has a table of demand- and supply-side factors driving congestion.

        That’s about as far as I’m prepared to chase it up. So at this stage I’d have to say the answer is “I don’t know”.

      • Driverless vehicles are discussed on page 36, along with other potential technological changes, including technology to better manage the network. However, the report authors appear to conclude that these technological changes are unlikely to decrease demand significantly.

        So I’d go with ‘no, it is not the only thing considered’.

    • “Ok Google, drive me to work”
      And just exactly what kind of “work” will that be? In 2046, almost everything will be done by machines better than humans. Did you ever notice that George Jetson went to “work” each day, but once he got there he was paid to just sit around at his desk and look busy, without actually doing anything?

      • On the topic of future work for the Jetsons:
        Buckminster Fuller, inventor of the geodesic dome, had some interesting ideas in this period of tech advance and employment retreat:
        “We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”

      • I think he had to push a button to create a sprocket. I vaguely recall an episode or movie where George decides to strike or something and he has a line like “Good luck finding someone else who knows how to push a button!”

  5. “..while forestalling the need for costly retrofitting of infrastructure to accommodate more people.”

    Is forestalling infrastructure improvements really a good idea? Best commit to them now while interest rates are low.

    As an example, HSR was floated at a cost of $2B back in the late 80s, whereas the cost now is estimated at closer to $100B, far outstripping inflation. Surely forestalling anything at this point will just end up making it more expensive later on?

    • darklydrawlMEMBER

      Whilst I agree with your point and often think the same thing – some of the blame of this ‘pushing costs off to the future’ business is to do with how humans cost things. See NPV as 101 example. As a rule, we are not very good at this.

  6. We all know this is the result of the Laberals ‘jobs and growth’ agenda – ‘growth’ being the short form of growth in population.
    To avoid a solution, continue to ignore how the Nordic countries run their economies.
    Politician is a synonym for fool.

      • Thanks Kipron, just updated my knowledge of Norway with a little reading.
        Norway is now host to lots of refugees from Pakistan, Somalia and Syria plus those from within the EU chasing work eg. Polish, Hungarian, etc.
        Maybe I should have written: To avoid a solution, continue to ignore how the Nordic countries used to run their economies until recently.
        Either way, the Australian model of building an economy based on just adding consumers without increasing export income or building an appropriate level of infrastructure is bound to crash under the weight of its own inbuilt inefficiency at some point.
        Not sure if that is part of the plan. Doesn’t say much for the planners if it is.

      • Which is begging the question – if what Australia is doing with immigration is so completely and obviously doomed to failure, why is Norway copying it?

  7. Simple solution – build deep underground rail infra linking up the hub and spokes system like most other cities have.
    In order to take the train anywhere requires going to the city and out rather than a direct route.
    Build Doncaster Rail.

    Work on having people ditching their cars.

    Where is the return on investment?

    you’ll likely win it on your health budget.

    Otherwise – look at phasing out current vehicle dimensions and look at building a 2/3 width vehicle – have the vehicles made in Melbourne only potentially out of light weight vehicles – then you can have inner city roades 3 lane across instead of two. Most cars only have single occupants in them as it is.

  8. Whilst I totally agree with the observation that the build in infrastructure in Melbourne is woefully inadequate and has been for many years irrespective of the political party in office the prediction does remind me of the predictions around the turn of the 20th Century that London and New York would be Knee deep in horse shit – technological change negated that odious outcome. Advances in technology will again make the predictions less certain but that is not to excuse the apathy of the current crop of useless and inadequate politicians masquerading as leaders.

    So far as immigration is concerned state governments could do worse that encourage settlement in some of the larger regional centres that are within say 1.5 hours commuting distance or say up to 150 km by substantially lowering stamp duty on property purchases in designated regional centres and at the same time invest in high tech train (i.e. high speed) services into and out of Melbourne and Sydney thus enabling employment for those needing to work in a “big” city environment

    All that is required is some vision and commitment – not very likely unfortunately

    • I agree that it would be good if some (or most) of the immigrants populated the rural areas, but manufacturing has gone, and apart from some service industries, there isn’t a lot of employment. Forget the very fast train – they’re talking about between Sydney and Melbourne, but between the cities and the country towns would be cost-prohibitive. Maybe, long after we’re gone, if the country towns do grow into large cities, there might be some justification for fast trains.

      • We are on the same track (no pun intended here). Although I support high speed rail between Sydney and Melbourne (maglev) towns like Bendigo and Ballarat out of Melbourne and Gosford and even Newcastle out of Sydney could accommodate increased population. Relatively fast ($150km /hr) and frequent trains with modern signalling and upgraded track could handle commuters working in Melbourne and Sydney in whatever field of employment that they are currently engaged.

        The key is to make the towns economically attractive as places to live as an alternative to reduce the pressure on the intra city infrastructure associated with ever expanding suburbs.where the commuting time gets longer and more congested.

  9. Today, a trip from the inner West to the Inner North of Melbourne which would normally take some thirty minutes took an hour and thirty minutes.
    A fatal accident on the West Gate Bridge AND a truck/container rollover on Dynon road.

    Delightful.

    • darklydrawlMEMBER

      hahaha… If traffic has an average speed of 31 km/hr fitter cyclists would be out performing the cars with some ease – at least in the flatter parts of Melbourne such as the Nepean Hwy. I know I often beat them over the 30 kms from home to the CBD.

      • That’s my point. Peak hour Beach Rd circa Sea Baths smash fest all the way to Albert Rd. With enough traffic it’s cycling FTW every time. Nepean some more traffic, or major issue (Palace fire, anyone?), becomes even moreso.

        You don’t even need to be that fit. 30clicks in the absence of a howling block northerly is a fairly gentlemanly pace, especially on someone’s wheel.

        All this does is highlight the flagrant stupidity in failing to develop some decent, safe, cycle-commuting infrastructure (the shared pedestrian/dogs-not-on-leashes/kids running crazy path does not count).

        PS: down to Mordy? Aspendale?

      • darklydrawlMEMBER

        Exactly SuperUnknown. Edithvale to be precise. I usually do Nepean Hwy as it is faster and more direct (and in the peak hour traffic I find it a lot safer as the left lane is very wide with no parked vehicles and few entry / exit points to cause you bother). Preaching to the converted re: bike paths. No idea how many times I have explained that road bike / commuters don’t use the (so called bike) paths for exactly the same reasons you don’t drive on them…. Anyway… I digress.

      • You don’t even need to be that fit. 30clicks in the absence of a howling block northerly is a fairly gentlemanly pace, especially on someone’s wheel.

        You guys have obviously been riding too long. 🙂

        I’d be willing to bet most of the population couldn’t hold 30km/h even on a road bike, and almost none of them could on something more comfortable and practical.

        Different matter with electric assist bikes, of course (thought aren’t they speed limited). Apologies if that’s what you mean by “someone’s wheel”.

      • darklydrawlMEMBER

        “You guys have obviously been riding too long”… heh… Yeah, you are probably correct – I know lots of folk who could easily ride, but drive instead. Electric bikes (at least the legal ones) have some issues. Firstly the power is usually limited to 25 or 30 km/hr max and then you are on your own steam. Secondly they are really heavy vs a road bike (30+ kgs vs 8 kgs or so). Thirdly they usually have fairly crap range on them. My commute is 60 kms each way – that would be right at the limit for many electrics, even with a recharge during the day.

        This is more a policy than a tech issue though. Those limits are largely due to regulation rather than physics.

      • darklydrawlMEMBER

        “My Commute is 60 kms each way” – Duh! Try 30 kms each way (for a 60 kms return trip).

      • 30 clicks is really too slow on a road bike when your preferred mode of transport is cycling whilst drafting onto the back of cars.

        A good strategy for others is putting the bike in the boot and parking 5-8 kilometres out of the city and rolling the last part of the commute in – or even having a folding bike that you tack onto the train/bus with you.