The congestion curse that is jamming up our roads is caused by... building more roads to fix the congestion curse jamming up our roads.
In a new report for car share operator GoGet, the blame for worsening congestion is placed firmly at the feet of the very people who claim to be fixing it.
According to the report, building more road capacity is resulting in more people choosing to drive, and consequently congesting the very roads that were supposed to fix the problem,
This phenomenon, known as induced demand, is now accepted in transport circles around the world and has led to a roll-back in road building—particularly of radial freeways and arterials—in many leading cities.
But not Australia, where politicians continue to sell the "congestion busting" lie.
"The private car has brought incredible advantages to Australia, and no other form of transport currently matches it for ease of convenience," says the report .
"Unfortunately, those benefits—and a system that has preferenced the private car—has led to unprecedented congestion on Australia’s roads.
"Congestion is not just frustrating, it also has environmental and health consequences, including playing a role in increased mental health issues.
"The traditional response to congestion has been to build more roads. Unfortunately, we now know that building more roads triggers something called “Induced Demand”. Induced Demand effectively signals the public to buy more cars to use on these new roads which nullifies any extra capacity created.
"This has led to our current crisis, where average commuting speeds have dropped as low as 11km/hr in some of our major cities and 59% of businesses cite significant productivity consequences due to congestion.”
The report suggests a new strategy, called Remode, Reprice, Reshape, can help our cities be reborn as congestion-free centres of interconnected and vibrant communities, where the promise of the private car is realised in a congestion-free context and transport becomes more convenient, more affordable and more sustainable.