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Have all the travel time savings on Melbourne' road network been achieved?


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The foremost economic benefit postulated and claimed for all road network investments is the value of travel time saved. This paper's aim is to empirically test whether the very substantial economic resources that have been consumed over the last two or so decades in the construction and use of major road network additions in Melbourne have helped to achieve the travel time savings which formed the main foundation of their economic justification. The study uses the annual traffic system monitoring data prepared by VicRoads for the monitored urban road network, and compares these actual data against the results for Melbourne's urban road system that were projected by various traffic modelling experts in the 1990s. In particular this study uses City Link as the case study to enable the comparison between such projections and actual traffic volumes and traffic behaviour. One of the key findings of this study is that the average whole of day speed on Melbourne's freeways overall has stayed at around the same level (78+ kms /hour) apart from 2000-01 (83.5 kms/ hour) and 2001-02 (79.5 kms' hour). Second, the average speed in kilometres per hour in both the morning and evening peak periods for the whole monitored urban network in the most recent year for which data are available — the year ended June 30 2007 — is the lowest it has been since 1994-95. Third, average travel speeds in inner Melbourne post the opening of City Link have reduced in both the morning and evening peaks. Even more concerning is the fact that average speeds across the whole day for both freeways and all types of arterial roads in the inner Melbourne
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A description of the occurence of generated traffic, its types, impacts and its incorporation into transport planning and modeling is presented. Generated traffic is the additional vehicle travel at a particular time and location due to a transportation improvement. The congestion-reduction benefit resulting from increased road capacity is reduced by the generated traffic. An increase in external costs is often caused by generated traffic. Traffic planning practices ignoring generated traffic are expected to result in inaccurate predictions and faulty decisions.
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Traffic congestion tends to maintain an equilibrium. Congestion reaches a point at which it constrains further growth in peak-period trips. If road capacity increases, the number of peak-period trips also increases until congestion again limits further traffic growth. The additional travel is called "generated traffic." Generated traffic consists of diverted traffic (trips shifted in time, route and destination), and induced vehicle travel (shifts from other modes, longer trips and new vehicle trips). Research indicates that generated traffic often fills a significant portion of capacity added to congested urban road. Generated traffic has three implications for transport planning. First, it reduces predicted congestion reduction benefits of road capacity expansion, particularly over the long term. Second, it increases many external costs, particularly over the longer term due to changes in transportation choices and land use patterns. Third, it provides relatively small user benefits because it consists of vehicle trips that consumers most willing forego. It is important that transport planning incorporate generated traffic. Failing to do so tends to overstate the benefits of roadway capacity expansion and undervalues alternatives. This paper defines various types of generated traffic, discusses the impacts of generated traffic, recommends ways to incorporate generated traffic into transport planning, and describes ways to use existing roadway capacity more efficiently.
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This paper explores the conception, development, design and operation of the Melbourne City Link Project—one of the world's first and largest fully electronic road tolling systems. The geographic, political and transport contexts of the project are described, including the transport need for the project and the reason why it was developed as a toll system relying totally on electronic toll collection. The operation of the project is then described with respect to the design assumptions and expectations. The methods of project funding and subsequent toll collection are described in some detail. The project is seen to have been a success, technically, politically and socially.
As affluence grows, it gets easier to travel faster and further. But research shows that, despite this, the average travel time in all societies remains steady at roughly an hour a day. The implication is that people are choosing to increase the distance they regularly travel, rather than opting for shorter journey times. While this clearly offers advantages in terms of reaching more desirable locations, the disadvantages are numerous - not least that of anthropogenic climate change, to which transport is the fastest growing contributor. However, the stability of travel time does not form part of the present conceptual framework of transport policy makers and professionals - consequently, misconceived decisions lead to unintended outcomes. in this intriguing book, David Metz examines the inadequacies inherent in the current thinking, along with the resulting problems, such as pollution, congestion and noise. He highlights the impact of the rapid increase in car use in China and India, and explores the general travel experience, public vs. private transport, and transport technology. in considering to what extent travel could be avoided, he arrives at a new paradigm to underpin sustainable transport policies, based on the fundamental characteristics of human mobility and focusing on quality, not quantity, of travel. Visit the Limits to Travel website at:
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