Sydney and Melbourne enter permanent peak hour

Via Domainfax Sydney:

In parts of Sydney’s notorious Parramatta Road, congestion for westbound motorists now stretches from 7am to 6pm. On Military Road on the north shore, peak ‘hour’ lasts pretty much all day for people driving in either direction.

And it’s a tale told across Sydney. With the harbour city’s population surging by about 100,000 last year to more than 5 million, major arterial routes are under acute pressure.

…”That is what is called peak spreading, and it is very common,” said Michelle Zeibots, research director at the University of Technology’s transport research centre.

“When a road reaches maximum carrying capacity, then you see the volumes during the shoulder periods become greater, and we are seeing it in Sydney.”

For example, new figures show the weekday peak for westbound traffic on parts of Parramatta Road last year was at 2pm, when traffic slowed to an average speed of 16 kilometres and hour.

HERE smart cities specialist Daniel Antonello said traffic frustrations were not just about getting to work on time.

“Traffic congestion impacts people’s happiness, where they choose to live, how productive we are as a society and the success of our economy,” Mr Antonello said.

And Domainfax Melbourne:

If you feel like your daily commute is dragging out even longer, you’re right.

Peak hour on Melbourne’s roads is chewing up more time as the city – the fastest growing in the country – swells with people making more daily trips, mostly in cars.

About 75 per cent of Melburnians – more than 1.3 million people – use only a car to get to work, almost 110,000 more people than five years ago.

The growing number of drivers has put unprecedented pressure on the road network. During the commuter rush, average speeds on most major freeways are below school speed zones.

The morning peak period is spiralling out to up to three hours and if you’re regularly caught on a clogged freeway or arterial, you’ve probably wondered if there was a way to avoid it.

Correct. But brace yourself because it has it’s only just begun. King Malcolm’s and Queen Lucy’s plan to ghettoise Sydney and Melbourne has only just begun:

ScreenHunter_15805 Oct. 31 13.53

And they’ll have to keep on coming or the business model collapses.

Traffic will keep getting worse:

And as Infrastructure Australia projects, under every build-out scenario for Sydney and Melbourne, access to jobs, schools, hospitals and green space all crumble:

In all my days of tracking Australian economics and politics, I have never seen a policy vision so destructive to our living standards.

Just to fill the pockets of King Malcolm’s and Queen Lucy’s realty mates.

David Llewellyn-Smith
Latest posts by David Llewellyn-Smith (see all)


  1. It’s worse than that. It took me about 20 minutes to get the last few hundred meters to enter the domestic airport this morning after arriving at the road with before 6:00 am. Just madethe flight.

      • Wino Shinyface

        More and more people moving into those hectares of ghetto like dog boxes the stretch from mascot to Alexandria perhaps? But yeah something has to be done, could try more immigrants BWHAAAAAHAAAA…..

    • Absolutely foolish even thinking about driving or taxiing in to Sydney airport

      The train is wonderful why wouldn’t everyone use it ?

      • Wino Shinyface

        Train is about $30 each and have you tried getting your family’s suitcases on a peak hour train – never again for me

      • greedypuppyMEMBER

        The airport line ( ie the one shared with the south western suburbs) is a shocker – zero baggage storage and more often then not 50 year old carriages that are filthy. The worst welcome to Sydney present a wearied traveller could hope for

      • The airport train is a joke unless you are travelling alone or with other adults and preferably taking hand luggage.
        I did it once with suitcases and a 3 year old. Never again.

      • McPaddyMEMBER

        Train to airport from central HKG is about $17 return. It is spotless and always on time. Why is this kind of thing beyond us?

      • What is missing is commitment and making the airport line works. Currently, they just don’t give a thought to make it work.

    • Arrived in Sydney early last month, when it opened, just before 6am (early fly in circles a bit until) – light luggage, in a taxi by around 6.20am, traffic jams for most of the way to the North Shore – even then heavy, traffic even against the flow.

      Was thinking a decade ago, I don’t remember it ever being that clogged anywhere nearly that early. Despite the new lanes and tunnel they have put in subsequently!

      Need to build more NSW, a lot more, and quickly!!!

      • nexus789MEMBER

        Nothing of use or relevance will be built and any amenity that people once had is lost forever. The population thing is a gigantic con and clusterfuck perpetrated by our venal politicians.

  2. “When a road reaches maximum carrying capacity, then you see the volumes during the shoulder periods become greater, and we are seeing it in Sydney.”

    Y’all are misunderstanding the above. It is GOOD NEWS. Previously, Sydney’s road infrastructure was being under-utilised, now the fantastic economic managers of the Liberal Government have improved efficiency by making sure that the roads are used at capacity.

    This is called “working smarter, not harder”. Labor are just seething that they weren’t in government to do the same thing and be able to claim credit for this enhanced economic efficiency and competitiveness.

    You can’t ridicule Japan’s bridges to nowhere and China’s ghost cities and hate Sydney roads.

    • With the Malcolm’s MTM (Malcolm Turnbull’s Mess) NBN teleworking is not yet an option. Our’s HFC NBN is still have rectification works to be done on it, not available to connect. 🙂

  3. Wino Shinyface

    Yes this is serious, only more immigrants can fix this

    The Sutherland shire is now a complete cluster coitus, this would be of concern to 💩 hat Slomo you’d think…. BWHAAAAHAAA…

  4. I’m long 150cc Honda bikes!

    Since we’re building the third world, we have to look to the 3rd world solutions.

    • Wino Shinyface

      Then theres people saying not enough public toilets – how about everywhere is a public toilet huh, yep that’s future proofing a smart vibrant city

    • FiftiesFibroShack

      You’re not wrong. I took my neighbours Honda Grom into the city on Saturday. Lane splitted like a boss and pulled some nice clutch up wheelies. If I still worked in the city I’d be all over one. A couple of years avoiding public transport and it would almost pay for itself. I could’ve fit one in the lift and parked it in the office 🙂

      • Honestly, I’ve gone from seeing one Grom to four in my daily commute in the space of a year. I expect it to steadily increase although everyone I’ve seen must be 6ft because they look ridiculous…

      • I’ve been wanting one of those since I first saw them in Thailand. What did you think of it?

      • FiftiesFibroShack

        @Doha83 Yeah I looked silly, but far less silly than a bloke riding a scooter.

        @Timmeh They’re ok if you don’t have to ride anywhere with a speed limit above 80. It doesn’t really have much left after that. I’d have to live with one for a while to give you an opinion worth reading.

      • BradleyMEMBER

        The Grom is too low for my quest for vision to lane split all the way through the traffic quickly and safely. I abused a CB125E for a month and found it a doable inner city commuter. Much prefer the V Strom of course.

      • @FiftiesFibroShack, that’s exact reason running through my head that would make it acceptable when looking at them for myself! That and the economy is supposedly insane (they claim 180 but real world is apparently ~100mpg). My rough math agrees with your claim of it paying for itself in a year.

      • bhandleyMEMBER

        Good grief a grom! The 4wds will go bump bump and think what was that squishy thing I just hit?

  5. About 75 per cent of Melburnians – more than 1.3 million people – use only a car to get to work, almost 110,000 more people than five years ago.

    110k extra car users from 600k-700k extra people in 5 years sounds like a noticeable reduction in the proportion of journeys made by car.

    • Proportion sure but who cares about proportion. The rising gross number of car journeys is all that matters, especially when they are not building new roads as fast as the cars increase.

      • Sure, but the sentence seemed to be written to imply that road use was increasing or at least maintaining its popularity, when the reverse is true.

        Also, not being able to keep up with a 20k p.a. increase in road users in a city of close to 5 million looks a lot like simply not trying. You’d have thought the base case would be new population uses roads at a similar rate to existing – e.g. 75k pa increase is what they should be building infrastructure for, so to fail to cater for less than a third is astonishing.

    • DodgydamoMEMBER

      My observations from peak hour is that ‘new Australians’ appear much better at car pooling so immigration might be improving the stats!


    Sfunny how an extra18 second delay during an already hideous ‘drive’ can cause some to just lose it.
    The rising incidence of road rage we all feel while out and about will not improve.
    Courtesy and patience have been spent and all that’s left is retribution.

  7. I think this will be what leads to major differences in real estate price change in the next 10 years

    Leafy outer suburbs are going to become untenable for working people

    In Sydney I don’t understand why people haven’t already twigged : expensive areas in the northern beaches, inner south and pretty much the whole north shore and north west are basically impossible to get in and out of
    There should be a huge discount for living there because you are pretty much committed to wasting two hours of every day for the rest of your life

    Inner city and inner east are way underpriced (relatively)

      • Not at all

        I could spend $5million to live in a house in mosman

        The same money buys me a huge terrace in paddington, and saves me at least two hours of road rage a day

        I could buy a 1.4million apartment in zetland

        The same money buys me an apartment in woolloomooloo

      • It doesn’t take an hour to get from Mosman to the City. Indeed, if you catch a ferry it is a pretty quick and relaxing way to travel.

      • except when the sea is too rough or too much fog, and they put everyone on buses

        The point is that most people want or need to drive

        and that is essentially impossible in mosman – you are a prisoner

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        Yep, I’ll liberate all the animals at Taronga Zoo and put the cages to good use.

      • As a Paddo resident I am with you on this Coming. Even at its worst I am 35 mins from the office … by foot. Walk most days and if rainy or too hot take the bus and it is about the same time. I can see the buses on my bus app and i know where they are in Bondi then I will beat it in on foot. Great feeling.

    • Not sure about this. I know some people commuting from way out and it doesn’t add too much to their travel time especially if it is via public transport. Given the mortgage savings e.g more than $500,000 in most cases for the same house in Syd or Melbourne, on a 4% mortgage assuming an extra hour commute a day which is generous that’s a $41 per hour your earning doing nothing in your commute time vs living closer. If you can work at home some days even better. The outer suburbs were a great arbitrage play historically – slower/simplier lifestyle, cheaper mortgage, city salaries; although they are now being shafted with ghetto type infrastructure (toll roads, airports, etc) and make to look like the cities the people living in them were running from. It’s in “in-between” people who are just far enough who get the trains when they are already crowded, the buses that run past them because they already full, etc who suffer the most IMO.

  8. And they’ll have to keep on coming or the business model collapses

    Depopulating countries, as China will be before the time period on either of those population projection graphs runs out, don’t send migrants en masse, so either later in an uncontrolled fashion, or sooner in a controlled fashion, the business model is going to come to an end.

  9. PassingInterest

    “Just to fill the pockets of King Malcolm’s and Queen Lucy’s realty mates”

    By which you surely mean “voters”

  10. Super Phoenix

    I’ve got a solution. Introduce a new “stopping fee” on public roads, which will work similarly to the existing parking fees. The difference is that the new fee is payable when the car engine is on.

  11. What will happen is traffic moving as slowly as the crawl in Delhi. That will hit infringement notice revenue. So they will introduce more and more 40km/h zones, keep dropping freeways from 100 to 80, and maybe introduce 20 or 30km/h limits to protect revenue raising.

  12. reusachtigeMEMBER

    People who complain about traffic need to get themselves a driver. My driver is awesome. He’s discreet and takes care of those special issues that come up. And I get a lot of “work” done in the back while we travel making good use of the time.

  13. HadronCollisionMEMBER

    Bayside Melbourne, if you can, ride 2 work
    Free, check
    Daily exercise, check

    Escape whilst you can!!! 1 MILL buys some epic properties on the North Coast, I’ll be the first to shout you a beer! 🙂

    • Leave Australia and 1 MILL can buy you a home and put you well on the way to retirement.

    • Electric bikes are now good/cheap enough that I am trying to convince my husband to commute to work on one rather than pay $1800 a year to be squished onto a Metro train. Even a fairly high end e-bike would have paid for itself in saved train tickets within two years.

  14. Anecdotally, working in Perth at the moment.

    I got caught in a traffic jam at 6 pm on Saturday evening on Perth’s freeway (south) from Thomas Road to past Beelier Dve.

    The unchecked massive urban sprawl and infill in those southern suburbs and they have a TWO lane “Freeway”.

    And Perth’s MSM just celebrated Perth population passing two million. Like its a good thing – with infrastructure of major arteries built for it’s population circa 1997.

    Thankfully, I don’t have a job that requires me to drive to work.

  15. blindjusticeMEMBER

    Try dropping the kids off at childcare, going to work and repeat at the end of the day all on public transport

  16. Ended up sitting in traffic last night, yes night, 11 pm on a Sunday night! It wasn’t bad traffic I’ll admit but it turned what was expected to be a 30 minute journey into a 50 minute journey. It honestly gets worse every single year without fail. It’s almost as if adding motorists to the system without expanding the infrastructure is causing it but no that observation would be racist!

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      No, saying it’s because of excessive immigration is racialist. Saying it’s caused by asylum seekers is okay though.

    • Thanks for the link John – amazing.

      You don’t even need 13th century. Look at Paddo NSW – develop 1860s to 1890s. Human scale, nice victorian facades. Lots of corner shops and pubs, walkable suburb. Compare that with the ugly boxes developers throwing up out west as “townhomes”.