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Roads Australia Insider - November 8, 2016


EoI called for Outer-Western Roads Package

Expressions of Interest have been called for the western package of the Victorian Government’s $1.8 billion Outer Suburban Arterial Roads (OSARs) Program.

The Program combines eight high-priority road upgrades with maintenance on more than 700 kilometres of road stretching from Werribee to Footscray.

The upgrades will involve a combination of duplication and widening works to western arterial roads including:

  • Dunnings Road and Palmers Road, from Point Cook Road to Princes Freeway, Point Cook
  • Palmers Road, from Princes Freeway to Western Freeway, Truganina
  • Derrimut Road, from Sayers Road to Dohertys Road, Tarneit
  • Leakes Road, from Fitzgerald Road to Derrimut Road, Truganina
  • Dohertys Road, from Fitzgerald Road to Grieve Parade, Laverton North
  • Dohertys Road, from Foundation Road to Palmers Road, Truganina
  • Princes Freeway/Forsyth Road interchange, Hoppers Crossing
  • Duncans Road interchange, Werribee/Werribee South

The Government says the package will transform the outer-western road network by boosting capacity and improving road pavement conditions with intersection upgrades, almost 30 kilometres of lane duplication, and road maintenance.

The community is being invited to provide its feedback and help shape upgrade designs, with VicRoads also set to engage local councils, planning authorities, freight operators, and bus companies for local input.

The Government says the eight high-priority road upgrades will be delivered within five years, and the maintenance and rehabilitation contract will continue for a further 20 years.

The Request for Proposal is expected to go out early next year, with construction expected to begin 2018.


Car-sharing key to creating more liveable Sydney: AECOM

Up to 90,000 fewer cars could be on Sydney streets by 2036 if the number of car-share vehicles reaches 9,000 in the next two decades, according to new analysis by AECOM.

With nearly six million people expected to call Greater Sydney home by 2036, AECOM says each car-share vehicle has the potential to replace 10 private vehicles and, based on membership forecasts, this could see as many as 300,000 Sydneysiders using shared vehicles. This many car-share users would drive 180 million fewer kilometers per year than if they owned cars, and free up more than 1.2 million square metres of street space for other purposes, like bicycle lanes, street markets and pocket-size parks.  

“We estimate there will be at least 3,500 car-share vehicles in Sydney by 2036, and as many as 9,000 if the public is encouraged to embrace car-sharing and city leaders provide the necessary support,” says AECOM Cities Leader, James Rosenwax.

“We need to refocus our cities away from high car ownership and high numbers of single occupancy vehicle trips, especially in peak hours.

“One way to do this is by challenging traditional car ownership and utilisation models and to move our cities beyond ‘peak car’ – the point at which the number of privately owned cars and single occupancy vehicle trips on our roads stops increasing and starts to decline.

“This isn’t just about inner Sydney residents; the western suburbs are a huge growth area for our population and also transport on demand. If you jump ahead a few years and integrate ride sharing with automated vehicles, the ease with which those in Sydney’s south and west can use ride and car-share to close the gap between public transit and the home will be just as compelling - if not more so - as those in the city.”  

According to AECOM, ‘transport on demand’ or ‘mobility as a service’ – involving the use of phone apps to book shared vehicles, privately operated cars and mini-buses, and using technology to better plan journeys that allow people to switch seamlessly between public transport, car-sharing and multi-modal transport options  – could speed up Australia’s journey towards peak car.  

The AECOM report found that, on current projections, Sydney won’t see car ownership slide into decline for at least another 20 years. By then, there will be around one million more private cars in Sydney, increasing from 2.9 million in 2016 to about 4 million by 2036.

“This is why we need to accelerate shared mobility,” says Rosenwax.

“Once we have an informed and empowered consumer with access to integrated journey mobile apps with car-share, ride share and public transit availability and costing, the use of private cars and the need for residential parking is only going to diminish.”

View the AECOM report here.


Blow outs costing taxpayers dearly, says new report

Australian governments spent $28 billion more on transport infrastructure over the past 15 years than they told taxpayers they would spend, a new Grattan Institute report has found.

Cost overruns in transport infrastructure analyses all 836 projects valued at $20 million or more and planned or built since 2001. It finds that cost blow outs account for nearly a quarter of the total budgets of these projects.

WA’s Forrest Highway between Perth and Bunbury cost over five times, and the Hunter Expressway in NSW nearly four times, the amounts politicians initially promised they would cost. Premature announcements – when a politician promises to build a road, bridge or rail line without a funding commitment, often in the run up to an election – are the biggest culprits, according to the report.

While only 32 per cent of projects were announced early, these projects accounted for 74 per cent of the value of cost overruns over the past 15 years.

Cost overruns are rarely analysed from the first funding promise, yet once politicians announce a project, they and the public treat the announcement as a commitment, and two thirds of these projects end up being built,  says the Grattan Institute's Marion Terrill.

"All main political parties have committed to sound planning of infrastructure, and to making decisions with broad social benefit, yet in practice they continue to promise projects that Infrastructure Australia has not evaluated or has already found to be not worth building," she says.

"Governments should not commit to building transport infrastructure before tabling proper evaluation and the underlying business case in Parliament. And once a project is completed, governments should report to the public on how it performed against the cost-benefit estimates behind the original decision.

"Governments can also improve project assessment methodologies, collect and publish data that would enable cost estimators to learn from past experience, and not spend contingency funds on add-ons that are poor value for money.

"At a time of declining private investment and historically low interest rates, when many politicians and commentators are calling for more transport infrastructure spending, cost overruns are a vital public policy issue.

"Transport infrastructure has great potential to ease traffic congestion and support productivity, but unless we can curb politicians’ premature promises, it will remain the bluntest of economic instruments."  

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