How to solve our city traffic congestion problems – simply! 36



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Moving the work to where the people live rather than moving the people from where they now live to where the work currently is, is a solution that should be looked at.

To give public transport commuters the system they believe they are entitled to, will cost more than those commuters are prepared to pay as part of their ticket price.

In NSW the tax payer contributes more than one billion dollars per year to build and maintain the existing rail system. I suggest tax payers would be unwilling to contribute substantially more than they are currently contributing.

To provide the road system that motoring organisations and car driver believe they are entitled to can only be paid for by, more toll roads, and or higher taxes, either specifically taxes targeting cars or from general taxation.

Everyone wants better roads and better public transport, but those same people are unwilling to pay the taxes to make the things they want happen.

There is another very simple alternative, which is to reduce the transit distance between where people live and where they work.

Using Sydney as an example but the same applies to Melbourne and Brisbane. There are 20,000 people per day who commuter from the Wollongong area to Sydney every day to work, there would be just as many from the Blue Mountains to the West and more from the Central Coast Gosford area to the north. I think I can safely say that 90% of those commuters would prefer to work in the local area, where they live than make the 90 minutes each way commuter to Sydney.

Using the South as an example the 20,000 commuters from Wollongong are travelling by road and rail through the Sutherland Shire and St George area, adding to the congestion in those area.

There are also a substantial number of people who commute to the Sydney CBD from the Campbelltown area in the South West, Penrith in the West and the Baulkham Hills Shire and Richmond area to the North West. Again I would suggest the bulk of those commuter would prefer to work closer to home if local jobs existed.

The Sydney train systems has about 1 million passenger journeys per day, which means about half a million people use the system, the mathematical  logic is, most people who travel to a destination make the return journey on the same day.

A conservative estimate would be that 50% of all train journeys are too and from the Sydney CBD.

If 50% of those commuters were able to work locally, that is not in the Sydney CBD that would reduce the load on the system by 25%. Also if future government policy was directed towards creating jobs in areas where people live, and will live that reduces future demand on the transport system. The numbers are about rail transport but they also apply to bus transport, there are long distant commuter bus services from the Northern Beaches to the Sydney CBD and from the North West. There is an 8 billion dollar, 16 km rail line being built to Sydney’s north west, so some of the current bus users might in future go by train, but until more train lines are constructed in what is now the inner city to carry people through those areas, congestion wins.

Up until sometime in the 1960’s the building high in Sydney was 12 stories, once that restriction was removed land owners were free to build buildings as high as they could, which dramatically increased the value of their real estate. To my knowledge developers were not required to pay a transport levy, to build the extra rail transport infrastructure required to handle the extra workers that would be coming into the Sydney CBD, to fill the new office buildings they were building. If there was a levy, it never got spent on extra rail infrastructure. In the last 50 years a line was built from Central Rail to Bondi Junction, which was extra capacity (1960’s), The airport line was built in the 1990’s but emptied trains into the existing City Circle line that was built in the 1920’s there no real increase in capacity to the Sydney CBD.

It could be argued that the taxpayers money that goes to subsidising Train and Bus services in Sydney is actually a subsidy to Sydney CBD property owners and business located in the Sydney CBD.

In the 1950’s and 1960’s when Australia has an unemployment rate of about 1% manufacturing business relocated from inner city areas to then outer suburbs, where the people lived as a way of attracting and keeping the staff they needed.

Today with the official unemployment rate at 6.5% and under employment not even recorded, let alone published, employers no longer have to chase people to work for them.

There are current no or very little incentives by government to encourage employers to relocate away from the Sydney CBD.

Today we have the internet and the NBN being rolled out, so there is simply no logical reason for people who need to work together, to all be actually sitting in the same building. Courts now have video links for example. Many businesses simply don’t have and or don’t need physical face to face contact with their customers, they are the ones that should be given encouragement to relocate some or all of the business to regional areas. It could be done on a step by step process so as not to disrupt the business or cause problems for existing employees

It would be far cheaper for the state’s taxpayers, to provide incentive to employers to relocate jobs to regional areas, than to spend buckets of money on long distance transport solutions.

The billion dollars a year plus that the NSW Tax payer currently puts into the City Train system is in fact a subsidy to Sydney CBD property owners.

Sure if this was done our cities will still need more roads and public transport infrastructure but not as much and that will save tax payers a lot of money, plus reduce the time people spend commuting to work and therefore give commuters more time with their families, which has all sorts of social and community benefits.

Kevin Latta

Kevin Latta is a retired Starts at 60 Community member. An accountant by training, he has been a CPA 40 year pin, so I has been involved in finance for some time.

  1. That is a saner solution to massive problem, but more would use public transport if it was reliable, not enough is invested in it. Our roads can’t cope, public transport is a mess and it can only get worse as immigration grows and the next Generation of kids get cars

  2. A better cheaper and easier solution is to create the infrastructure in rural areas and transfer the workers out of the cities this idea is an opinion I’ve had for a number of years it solves the problems in our Capitol cities and gives the country areas the boost they so desperately need

    1 REPLY
    • Wat if the workers don’t wanna live in rural areas
      You gonna force them ?????

      1 REPLY
      • In my article I used a figure of 50% of CBD users as a guide and a step by step approach, so nobody would be forced to re-locate. Also this recognises that not everyone works in an office or that all business could be successfully re-located,

  3. A lot of factories were moved to regional areas at one time, it should be happening more, it helps the country people get jobs, and cuts down travel time.

  4. No cars into the city with only one driver must have two or more people in car or according to your licence number ending in a odd or even number one day all cars ending in even are allowed the next day odd

  5. Not always possible to find work close to home. Moving business to regional areas make sense but will add to costs ( further from ports / airports) best solution seems to stagger work times

  6. Its a proposal that I understand as “decentalisation” – this has been attempted in many variations that I am aware of but there are either problems encountered that I dont know about or a singular lack of committment to the concept because it has never really taken off. Perhaps industry and commerce being so intent on casualising the work force is one of the problems – they would not want to go to the expense or decentralising any more than many causual or part time workers want or can afford lengthy and expensive daily commutes.

  7. reliable, affordable public transport.

    1 REPLY
    • Affordable Public transport, is NOT affordable, new rail lines in the inner city have to go under ground and that costs mega bucks. The North West Rail line in Sydney is costing $8 billion dollars for 16 km of two track under ground rail, $500 million dollars per kilometre, that is the problem

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