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Adelaide counting the cost of 'trailing the pack' in public transport

Adelaide counting the cost of 'trailing the pack' in public transportMarch 15 20:00 2018 Print This Article[1][2]

Posted March 16, 2018 07:00:23

Proposed Norwood tram Photo: An artist’s impression of the tram line proposed for the Parade in Norwood. (Supplied: SA Government)[3]

Adelaide must catch up on public transport investment or road congestion costs will continue to rise to a potential £2.25 billion by 2030, an expert has warned. The inner city has the highest share of journeys to work by car in Australia, a “rocketing car ownership” rate, and continues to fall behind most interstate cities in terms of public transport investment. Monash University professor of public transport Graham Currie said Adelaide’s population increased by 13 per cent between 2003 and 2014.

For much of that time public transport investment also increased by about 11 per cent, but from about 2011 to 2014 it declined. Car usage, meanwhile, increased to become the highest in the nation at 78 per cent in 2016.

Adelaide tram Photo: The extension of the Glenelg tram to the Entertainment Centre in 2010 has been a success among commuters. (ABC News: Malcolm Sutton)[4]

Those figures are likely to have improved marginally with the recent O-Bahn extension and incomplete tram extensions, but Professor Currie said Adelaide was still “trailing the pack” when it came to new public transport. “More roads are not a great thing for inner-city areas.

They’re just not solving the congestion problem and they’re inefficient,” he said. “They also tend to encourage more traffic. “Having higher-occupancy vehicles like public transport vehicles is much more efficient and it creates over the long term a better inner-area environment.”

Federal Government figures based on the full social costs of congested roads in Adelaide hit £1.1 billion during 2015. It was estimated to reach up to £1.5bn in 2020 and £2.25bn in 2030 without significant infrastructure investment. “Adelaide’s always trailing the other cities and I think there’s a case for investing more to try and catch up,” Professor Currie said.

So what are other cities doing?

Cities in the United Kingdom, France and Germany have been investing heavily in light rail infrastructure in recent years.

Professor Currie said there was “overwhelming evidence” that the likes of trams bolstered activity levels and urban density around such transport corridors. “These are very efficient and improve job opportunities, commercial development and economic activity in inner areas and improves life quality.”

Traffic builds on Goodwood Road. Photo: Buses are also affected by heavy traffic unless priority lanes are installed. (ABC News: Malcolm Sutton)[5]

He said buses were currently the majority carrier for Adelaide, but “unfortunately they share the road space with traffic so they’re reasonably slow”. “And as cities are growing, they’re getting slower … or we [need to] have greater investments in [priority] busways,” Professor Currie said.

“So I think there’s a case of investing in buses as well, as priority on the road, or even using signal priority.” Professor Jon Kellett from the University of Adelaide’s School of Architecture and Built Environment said one problem the city faced was its “dispersed population”. He said the population needed to grow in number and density in order to justify significant public transport investment.

“The [State Government’s] 30-year plan transit corridor idea is sensible as it seeks to concentrate more users in close proximity to intensive transit routes,” Professor Kellett said. “The tram investment to inner suburbs makes good sense, as does rail electrification. “One problem is that the Federal Government, which is a main source of funding, keeps switching priority back to road improvements and away from public transport.”

The 30-year plan includes an AdeLINK light rail network with five new tram lines linking Adelaide’s suburbs and beaches to the CBD along with a city circuit. When it was announced in 2013, the Government said it would be progressively laid out in conversation with local governments to determine priority routes and in sync with Commonwealth funding priorities. But since the announcement only one kilometre of new tramline has been laid — the North Terrace route to East Terrace — and a short spur to the Festival Centre.

Both remain incomplete.

How do the parties compare?

Labor’s promise ahead of Saturday’s election is to extend the Festival Centre spur two kilometres into North Adelaide and up O’Connell Street[6], and the East End link three kilometres through Norwood into the Eastern Suburbs[7]. Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan said both extensions would start next financial year at a combined cost of £538 million and take approximately two years. The North Adelaide extension would be the first stage in a planned network extension along Prospect Road to Grand Junction Road.

“We are committed to continuing to extend the network and could do so much sooner if the federal Coalition matched federal Labor’s promise to jointly fund AdeLINK,” a government spokesperson said.

The road into Blackwood roundabout congested with cars. Photo: Road congestion has increased with Adelaide’s population growth. (ABC Radio Adelaide: Malcolm Sutton)[8]

The Liberal Party’s policy is to rule out any expansion of the tram network into the inner suburbs. “Running trams down the Parade, Unley Road, Prospect Road and Henley Beach Road will destroy the amenity and beauty of the urban villages those roads service and deliver very little in return for such a massive investment,” Opposition transport spokesperson David Pisoni said. The party has not promised any new tram lines but instead pledged to build a right-hand turn from King William Road onto North Terrace.[9]

A Liberal government would also have Infrastructure SA “assess four alternative routes for expanding tram services within the CBD and North Adelaide”, Mr Pisoni said. This includes the extension up O’Connell Street and a city loop that utilised the East End link and the existing Glenelg to Entertainment Centre tramline. “Investigating the use of high-capacity electric buses and delivering a simpler, more efficient bus interchange network are ways of further improving commuter satisfaction with our public transport network,” Mr Pisoni said.

Artist's impression of the £259 million tramline extension to North Adelaide Photo: An artist’s impression of the £259 million tramline extension up O’Connell Street to North Adelaide. (Supplied: SA Government)[10]

SA Best leader Nick Xenophon believed all forms of transport, “either on track or a guided system, whether it’s the O-Bahn or cantilevered systems that are finding vogue overseas”, needed to be looked at.

“But it’s a question of how you roll it out to maximise the community benefit and to maximise the efficient movement of people through a city and into the suburbs while minimising overall traffic impact.

“There needs to be an inclusive approach, talking to communities in the city and the suburbs affected by those extensions, talking to businesses, and also to see what the impact will be on traffic flow.”

Professor Kellett said while trams were a good solution for Adelaide’s CBD and inner suburbs, the outer suburbs remained a problem.

“One solution is to get more concentrations of employment out in the suburbs so people have less need to commute.”

He said large cities like London, Paris and Sydney were making investments in underground public transport systems which were “unlikely to be justifiable for Adelaide”.

Topics: urban-development-and-planning, elections, rail-transport, road-transport, community-and-society, government-and-politics, population, adelaide-5000, sa[11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18]

References

  1. ^ (www.newsgrio.com)
  2. ^ Print This Article (www.newsgrio.com)
  3. ^ Photo: An artist’s impression of the tram line proposed for the Parade in Norwood. (Supplied: SA Government) (www.abc.net.au)
  4. ^ Photo: The extension of the Glenelg tram to the Entertainment Centre in 2010 has been a success among commuters. (ABC News: Malcolm Sutton) (www.abc.net.au)
  5. ^ Photo: Buses are also affected by heavy traffic unless priority lanes are installed. (ABC News: Malcolm Sutton) (www.abc.net.au)
  6. ^ two kilometres into North Adelaide and up O’Connell Street (www.abc.net.au)
  7. ^ three kilometres through Norwood into the Eastern Suburbs (www.abc.net.au)
  8. ^ Photo: Road congestion has increased with Adelaide’s population growth. (ABC Radio Adelaide: Malcolm Sutton) (www.abc.net.au)
  9. ^ right-hand turn from King William Road onto North Terrace. (www.abc.net.au)
  10. ^ Photo: An artist’s impression of the £259 million tramline extension up O’Connell Street to North Adelaide. (Supplied: SA Government) (www.abc.net.au)
  11. ^ urban-development-and-planning (www.abc.net.au)
  12. ^ elections (www.abc.net.au)
  13. ^ rail-transport (www.abc.net.au)
  14. ^ road-transport (www.abc.net.au)
  15. ^ community-and-society (www.abc.net.au)
  16. ^ government-and-politics (www.abc.net.au)
  17. ^ population (www.abc.net.au)
  18. ^ adelaide-5000 (www.abc.net.au)



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