Freeways no magic time-saving bullet >>> Same for New Zealand?

CBT’s Jon Reeves found this article in The Age yesterday, causing us to wonder when New Zealand will start listening to public tranport advice from overseas studies?  Somehow we seem to think we are different and that even if more roads don’t work for other countries, they will still work here.   The Age reports on the fact the Melbourne’s new freeways have produced no time savings, as surprise surprise, the roads fill up as soon as they are built:

BILLIONS of dollars spent building freeways across Melbourne since 1995 have failed to deliver the spectacular time savings promised to justify their construction, a study to be published today shows.

Transport analyst John Odgers, from RMIT’s school of management – in the first analysis of its kind for Melbourne – has reviewed the promises made by consulting groups whose work was used to successfully argue for several big freeways built in Melbourne since the 1990s.

I particularly like this bit:

The average speed Melburnians travel on freeways today is 78 km/h, the same as it was in 1995.

The article goes on to say:

Chief among the rationale for building each major new road, the study shows, was the travel time savings the roads were promised to create. The road builders claimed the savings would bring huge economic gains to Melbourne, as businesses and individuals moved about the city more efficiently.

But Mr Odgers’ study shows this has not happened – something disputed by those who worked on the road projects.


Mr Odgers has compared the forecast of travel time savings for the Melbourne urban road network made before CityLink was approved, with actual travel times reported each year since 1994 by VicRoads.

They show that Melburnians are spending hundreds of thousands more hours on freeways – leading to zero gains in speeds or travel times, as roads fill up as soon as they are built.

Speeds on Melbourne’s roads have dropped since 1995, from an average 44 km/h to 40 km/h. Average speeds in Melbourne in the morning and evening peaks are the lowest they have been since 1994.

In the morning peak, freeway speeds have fallen from 67.4 km/h to 58.8 km/h, and during the evening peak from 80.2 km/h to 73.5 km/h.

Could the solution for Melbourne and New Zealand be perhaps not more roads, but more public transport?!!

For the full article, click here.

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