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Thursday
Jul212011

Stuck in Sydney Traffic

 

 

 

 

 

 

NRMA calls on the RTA to adopt clear and challenging performance measures for managing key routes, to pay much more attention to collecting, analysing, and responding to traffic data and to adopt a clear strategy for managing weekend congestion.

Importantly, the Strategy reveals that the RTA only has 15 people operating the entire network of over 4,000 traffic

lights across New South Wales. The results are all too evident - whether it is being stopped by an endless stretch of red lights, bumper to bumper stationary buses in Sydney’s CBD, or pedestrians having to wait to cross the road when no traffic is coming. There are just too many lights for the operators to manage them all efficiently. The 15 staff responsible for traffic lights is contrasted with the 11 staff working in the RTA’s head office on ‘sustainable transport’.

NRMA calls on the RTA to redirect resources into optimising the traffic light network and to decentralise from Sydney the traffic light operations for regional centres such as Parkes, Wagga, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Tamworth, Armidale and Wollongong.

The Strategy finds that every day traffic management tends to take a back seat to high profile events such as the V8

Fundamentally, it questions why we continue to accept the

supercar event at Homebush and the Breakfast on the Harbour Bridge event, and identifies that road incidents can be managed much more effectively to minimise delays for motorists. closure of major roads such as the F3 freeway or the M5 motorway for hours on end due to incidents, and importantly provides some key solutions.

NRMA calls for the adoption of a maximum target time of 3 hours to clear major traffic incidents in Sydney. We also call for a reduction in the target time for clearing minor traffic incidents in Sydney to 25 minutes and targets for managing incidents on regional roads.

We call on the Transport Management Centre (TMC) to extend its pilot of travel time on the F3 Freeway to cover all major routes, including toll roads, without further delay. This must also include those routes radiating from Sydney airport to warn motorists of incidents at and around the airport. We also believe there is scope to expand this concept to provide travellers with access to wide ranging travel information ranging from flight arrival times to information on next train or bus timetables or of potential delays.

The case studies on the Eastern Distributor and M5 East motorways are real examples of how the TMC must improve the information it gives to motorists.

We call for some basic improvements such as fixing those traffic signs that are blatantly wrong so as to reduce frustration and last minute lane changing. Helping motorists get into the correct lane in this way can improve both traffic flow and road safety.

The Strategy highlights how the last major review of clearways and parking on major transport routes across Sydney was conducted in the lead up to the 2000 Olympic Games.

We highlight how the RTA was once a world leader in transit lanes, but now oversees an increasingly disjointed transit lane network.

We call for a new audit and assessment of parking on these routes to reflect the changes in traffic patterns and demand since 2000.

Many of the ideas within this Decongestion Strategy will also have a positive effect on road safety. We are, however, mindful of the ongoing issues around speed limits and speed cameras and the impact this has had on the way the RTA is perceived by motorists.

We recommend improving the forgotten transit lanes by highlighting them in orange to make them easier to see and to deter illegal use - just as bus lanes are highlighted in red and bicycle lanes in green.

We suggest that only through handing over responsibility for road safety education, road user behaviour and speed camera operations to another agency, will the RTA be able to improve this perception by focusing on the things that it is historically good at - such as building and operating road infrastructure