Bold transport vision aims to boost Melbourne's liveability
An ambitious 10-year transport plan to respond to Melbourne’s significant population growth by delivering more space for pedestrians, public transport users and cyclists will provide an $870 million boost to Victoria over the next decade, according to an independent report by Deloitte Access Economics.
Melbourne City Council's Transport Strategy 2030 will return to City of Melbourne councillors for final consideration on Tuesday. Lord Mayor Sally Capp said today the strategy would improve Melbourne's liveability, provide a boost to local businesses and reduce congestion.
By 2030, the plan to be considered by Councillors aims to:
- repurpose the equivalent of more than six MCGs worth of public road space and parking spaces to create more space for pedestrians, cyclists, greening, trading and other important uses;
- reduce through traffic in the busiest parts of the central city;
- convert central city 'Little Streets' into pedestrian priority shared zones with lower speed limits for cars to better support a thriving retail economy and café culture;
- work with the Victorian Government to deliver world-class, welcoming and safe public spaces around central city stations;
- transform Melbourne into Australia's leading bicycle city by creating more than 50km of protected on-road bicycle lanes on key bicycle routes in the heart of the city, and work with the Victorian Government to enable a further 40km of protected bicycle lanes;
- deliver 300 additional motorcycle parking bays on streets as alternatives to parking on footpaths;
- maintain access for essential car trips, especially for people with a disability, trade, service and emergency vehicles; and
- work with the Victorian Government to deliver consistency for motorists by introducing 40 km/h speed limits throughout inner Melbourne by reducing speed limits in Parkville Gardens, North and West Melbourne and Yarra's Edge.
"We are seeking the right balance between all modes of transport. We need all modes to work together for a liveable city, from building separated bike lanes for those riding, widening footpaths for pedestrians, introducing on-street parking bays for our motorcyclists and creating speed consistency for our motorists," the Lord Mayor said.
"We want to encourage everyone to come to Melbourne as a destination, whether it is by train, tram, car, bike or foot.
"However, we know that we need to make changes and upgrade our infrastructure to cope with our booming population. By 2036, another 500,000 people will be moving in and around the City of Melbourne each day.
"The strategy to be considered by councillors, aims to upgrade public space and amenity around major public transport hubs, increase space and accessibility for pedestrians and boost bicycle safety with dedicated bike lanes."
According to the Deloitte Access Economics Report, reprogramming traffic signals for how the majority of people move around the city – on foot, could generate an annual economic benefit of at least $15.4 million.
In addition, prioritising the 165,000 daily tram trips in the municipality would enable trams to move 20 per cent faster which has the potential to generate $24.9 million in annual economic benefit.
Key projects to be delivered in the first four years include introducing protected bike lanes on Exhibition Street, Latrobe Street Bridge and Rathdowne Street, 300 new on-street motorcycle parking spaces and working with the Victorian Government to deliver consistent 40 km/h vehicle speed limits across the municipality.
The strategy also flags trials of lower speed limits for some 'Little Streets' to continue the creation of pedestrian-priority zones at peak times. The move will boost economic activity through increased footfall in retail and hospitality precincts and improve safety for people walking in the city centre. Retail and hospitality contribute a combined $5.7 billion to the city's economy every year.
Council will also continue to advocate for a tram extension to Fishermans Bend as a critical catalyst for development of the area and for the Melbourne Metro 2 rail link as a priority infrastructure rail link for Melbourne's west and north.
Australian Government's Centre for Population launched
Planning to accommodate Australia's fast-growing population has been given a boost with the launch this month of a new Centre for Population within the Federal Department of Treasury.
The Centre will become the primary location for all population related matters inside the Australian Government and will work closely with the states and territories, academics and think tanks in order to share data, research, ideas and expertise on population.
In the immediate term, it will focus on four specific tasks:<
- integrating and sharing population data from across the Commonwealth and, should the states agree at COAG later this year, from within their jurisdictions;
- undertake better forecasting and annually track actual data against the forecasts;
- create greater transparency over population data to support better planning; and
- undertake key pieces of research. It will focus immediately on two items: population drivers and population distribution.
Last year the Federal Government established a new Population portfolio inside of Treasury and outlined an initial Population Plan which reduced the migration rate, encouraged more growth in the regions and smaller cities and boosted infrastructure. It foreshadowed working more closely with the states and territories to integrate the differing responsibilities that each level of government had, with COAG agreeing to establish a Population Planning Framework which is being considered by treasurers in October and leaders in December.
How ready are Australian roads for automated roads?
Austroads has released a series of reports that examine the readiness of Australian and New Zealand highways and freeways to support automated vehicles.
The reports follow on from previous work by Austroads and other agencies which studied how well automated vehicles could read existing line marking and road signs
“The project involved an extensive road audit that assessed how well vehicle machine vision systems could interpret more than 8 million line segments and 8 000 signs on a 25 000 km sample of the Australasian road network,” said John Wall, Program Manager, Future Vehicles and Technology, Austroads.
“This followed on from a review of available literature and engaging with local and international industry stakeholders to become better informed on the latest technology and standards for automated vehicles worldwide,” said John. “We also interviewed road agencies and found the single most important factor preventing them from updating detailed asset standards to reflect the needs of automated vehicles was the lack of clear guidance.
Data captured from vehicle sensors was also examined to consider whether it could supplement some asset condition information road agencies collect.”
Detailed project actions, specifications and findings have been documented in five reports, with recommendations including:
- adding edge lines, lane lines and centrelines to roads that do not have them;
- ensuring these lines have good contrast with the road surface and are regularly maintained; and
- revising electronic speed signs so they can be easily interpreted by machine vision systems.
Initial guidance on thresholds for line marking width and reflectivity, and sign maintenance, has also been provided to assist road agencies when they update their asset standards.
“We found that most freeways and highways of Australia and New Zealand can support Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) such as lane-keeping assistance, particularly when there are high quality lines,” John said.
“Achieving readiness for more highly automated driving will require a combination of smarter vehicles, changes to infrastructure, and improved infrastructure operations and maintenance practices.”
Vehicle automation on highways is expected to lead to improved road safety and significantly reduced risk of accidents, vehicle emissions and driver workload.