Australia’s first traffic congestion benchmarking report has found average speeds on Hobart’s roads have slowed since 2013, and that the city was now the fourth most congested capital in Australia.
The report – Road Congestion in Australia prepared by the Australian Automobile Association – used mapping and location data to monitor and benchmark road congestion in all capital cities.
RACT Executive General Manager Membership and Community Stacey Pennicott said the report – which confirmed what Hobart residents had known – found that Hobart had experienced a decline in average speeds and an increase in congestion.
“The report also found that Hobart had the third most variable airport route of all cities, with average travel speeds decreasing by 3.6 per cent since 2013,” she said.
“And that Hobart was the fourth most congested city after Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.”
Mrs Pennicott said Hobart’s average speed fluctuated from 2013 to 2018.
“Average speeds significantly declined in 2015, improved in 2016 and 2017, and declined again in 2018,” she said.
“The report found that from 2013 to 2017 Hobart performed worse during afternoon peak compared to morning peak periods, but this shifted in 2018 when morning peak performed worse.”
The report also found increased travel times between Hobart and the suburbs of Sorell, Moonah, Glenorchy, Bellerive, Howrah and Kingston over the past five years.
The Sorell to Hobart travel time is particularly concerning – an increase of 2.2 minutes on the morning drive to the CBD.
For some context, Sydney’s problem roads saw increased travel times of between 0.7 and 2.7 minutes over the same time frame, key routes in Melbourne recorded increases of between one and 3.7 minutes and Brisbane roads saw increases of between 0.8 and three minutes.
Mrs Pennicott said the RACT had previously referenced traffic congestion as a major issue of concern, both at peak morning and afternoon times and “Addressing the problem and encouraging debate is important,” she said.
“Our recent work to develop a 30-year single, comprehensive and cohesive plan for improved traffic movements in the Greater Hobart area demonstrates the significance the RACT has placed on addressing the issue of growing congestion... The RACT is concerned that there is no overall vision for improved mobility across Greater Hobart."
“A long-term vision is critical as our population continues to grow and as visitor numbers to the state increases.”
Registrations are now open to attend the RACT’s free public forum – on 19 November – to discuss its Greater Hobart Mobility Vision.
The forum will help shape the vision which the RACT will use to advocate on behalf of all Tasmanians.
It will include contributions from an independent panel of five experts the RACT has assembled to refine public submissions from key stakeholders and the community regarding future mobility.
Meanwhile, The Tasmanian Government has announced it would introduce new laws to State Parliament this week taking ownership of Hobart's Macquarie and Davey streets.
One proposal under the new Roads and Jetties Amendment bill would see vehicles towed away for breaches in the streets clearway time zones.