Are we there yet?

Looking back ten years or so, and reflecting on what has transpired over the intervening years, amazing changes have taken place – many we could not have imagined, in terms of changes in society, developments in technology and economic growth … including the growth in duration and extent of traffic congestion. However, much of what … Read more

The Seven Whys of Travel Demand

Congestion is the dominant challenge in cities and infrastructure networks [1]

Putting the customer first is top priority for most transport agencies. This requires improving the quality of service to users by providing key infrastructure improvements, offering travel choices, managing as one network and providing integrated services.

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Dealing with Unexpectedness


How should we deal with traffic incidents at critical times and locations, which cause major, unexpected problems for users?

Operators of road traffic networks are under increasing pressure to maintain acceptable levels of service, with declining resources and competing priorities. Urban traffic networks are not able to keep pace with the growth in travel, as a result major roads operate at maximum capacity for extended periods.

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How do we transition to road user charging?

Two major challenges facing road agencies into the next decade will be dealing with increasing traffic congestion, and securing funding for infrastructure and services – hence the growing interest in road user and congestion charging.

As governments look for alternative sources of funding and give serious consideration to road user charging, then providing quality customer service will require a significant change in focus. Road agencies have limited opportunities for a direct relationship with their customers, the road users.

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New Technology to Cut Freeway Congestion

>As part of Melbourne’s $1.4 billion M1 upgrade project, a new traffic management system is being developed to effectively tackle congestion on the key freeway.

Victorian Roads Minister Tim Pallas has announced the $14 million contract to design the software for the new traffic management system has been awarded to Queensland company Transmax.

“The system is unique in Australia and will deliver significant improvements to the operation of the freeway, used by more than 160,000 motorists every day,” Mr Pallas said.

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Implementation Issues for Congestion Charging

Road user charging, be it in the form of tolled roads, HOT (high occupancy tolled) lanes or congestion pricing, is currently topical, largely as a consequence of traffic congestion and the shortage of funds to provide new capacity, but also in terms of the potential of the tool for generating revenue and managing travel demand.

London’s high profile Congestion-Charging Scheme has clearly raised congestion charging to the fore within the global transport debate. Yet a scheme suitable for London may not be suitable for other cities having different characteristics in terms of demographics, transport options and patterns of behaviour.

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Congestion … funding … congestion … funding

Debate in the US has focussed on the need to find considerable additional funding to meet the needs for a congested transport system.

The National Transportation Policy and Revenue Commission, set up by the Federal Government,  published their report Transportation for Tomorrow on 15 January 2008.

Interestingly the Commission of 12 ended up with three different views: the report, supplementary views and a minority report. So it appears that there is no easy, clear answer, even fora Commission specially set to answer the questions raised.

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Active Traffic Management in Europe

The combination of continued travel growth and budget constraints makes it difficult for transportation agencies to provide sufficient roadway capacity in major metropolitan areas.

The US Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and National Cooperative Highway Research Program sponsored a scanning study in July 2007 to examine congestion management programs and policies in Europe.

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Why is traffic congestion a problem?

Problems associated with the predicted levels of future traffic congestion and their proposed solutions have been extensively debated.

Political parties at State and Local levels, be they in government or in opposition, have laid out their ‘fix it’ proposals. So too have other interested groups such as the motorist associations.

Most transport professionals can agree on what is needed. We need to achieve long-term outcomes in terms of economically efficient and safe transport networks, which will provide access and mobility, equitably and which will cause minimum damage to the environment.

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