07 Oct 2019

Queensland's transport turmoil sees major roads slowing, commuters driven to despair

Brisbane commuter Amy Miller has tried every option to get to work faster, but her 14 kilometre journey takes her up to an hour or more regardless of which route she takes.

Ms Miller is not alone with commuters across south-east Queensland spending an increasing amount of time traveling each day, with major roads in the region crawling at speeds as low as 15 kilometres per hour during peak periods.

Key points:

  • Sandgate Road at Clayfield is Brisbane's slowest spot during the morning commute, at 15 kilometres per hour
  • Average speeds in Brisbane dropped by 3.7 per cent between 2013 and 2018
  • Data from the Australian Automobile Association shows Brisbane households spend $19,844 a year on transport

The congestion crisis has prompted warnings that parts of the state will be in total gridlock in decades to come without significant investment in new infrastructure and a clear plan for the future.

Data released last month from the annual Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey found commuting times had risen across Australia and people were considering quitting their jobs because of it.

The survey found workers now spend on average 4.5 hours a week getting to and from work — a rise of 23 per cent since 2002.

Sydneysiders have always fared the worst, closely followed by Melbourne, but both are now being chased down by Brisbane, which has blown out by almost 50 per cent in recent years.

'Every option takes up to an hour'

Ms Miller lives just 14 kilometres from her place of employment and has four alternate routes to work, but traffic congestion and limited public transport mean every option can take her up to an hour or more.

Ms Miller says she is worried it will take her even longer in the future, as the population increases.

The single mother of three leaves home at 7:00am three days a week, to drive from her home at Upper Kedron in Brisbane's north-west to her part-time job at East Brisbane.

"Usually an hour is what I allow myself but sometimes it can take a lot longer than that, it just depends on the traffic, the day of the week, if it's school holidays or not school holidays," she said.

Ms Miller has access to free parking at work, but the cost of the commute is also a big factor in the family budget.

"I do find that petrol is a big expense every week," she said.

"But I don't tend to take toll roads or the tunnels just because that would add so much more on to each commute."

Data from the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) shows Brisbane households spend $19,844 a year on transport — above the national average of $18,277.

An RACQ report found Brisbane's average petrol price was 141.9 cents per litre in June — more expensive than Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne.

And short-term off-street parking is the most expensive in the country, with an average hourly fee of $31.41.

SOURCE ; https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-20/queensland-traffic-congestion-crisis/11338212

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