While it’s good news the Government has found a much cheaper alternative to Cross-River Rail, before committing billions of dollars to an underground rail and bus network (see this morning’s Courier-Mail report), the Government should ensure it has fully considered transport demand management options to ease congestion. Some of these measures may well avoid or defer the need for new infrastructure in the short to medium-term. Such measures could include:
- optimising train and bus fares so much higher fares are charged during peak times (e.g. 7-9am, 5-6pm) to encourage people to travel outside of these peak times;
- congestion charging for travel in the CBD, as recommended by the Henry tax review, with higher rates during peak times to reduce congestion;
- staggering the start and finish times of public servants (i.e. so not everyone comes in at 8-9am and leaves at 5-6pm), and encouraging private sector firms to do the same, as discussed by me in Increased train frequency unviable; and
- pressuring Brisbane City Council to ease restrictions on development in the inner city to allow much higher population densities, which would result in more people cycling or walking to work (see my post Benefits of higher urban population density – more cycling and walking to work).
I’ve posted before on how we need a comprehensive review of transport policy in SEQ: