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Australia Encouraging flexible work could ease road congestion and public transport crowding, says Infrastructure Victoria

12:36  22 january  2021
12:36  22 january  2021 Source:   smartcompany.com.au

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Infrastructure Victoria has published the reports of its two citizen juries, along with a report of the consultation program for its All things considered options paper. We urge Infrastructure Victoria to continue its work in planning for the long-term.

The Victorian government could reduce congestion in Melbourne by using the state public service as an example of best practice when it comes to embracing flexible work, according to a new report from Infrastructure Victoria.

a green bus on a city street: Melbourne tram © Provided by Smart Company Melbourne tram

The report, titled Transporting Melbourne’s Recovery: Immediate policy actions to get Melbourne moving, notes that Victorian public servants account for more than 4% of employees in the CBD — which will face higher levels of congestion as the state returns to a ‘COVID normal’.

Infrastructure Victoria has suggested that Victoria follow the lead of New South Wales by adopting staggered start times and rotating days in the office for government employees, as a way of ‘nudging’ other workplaces to do the same.

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One obvious solution to traffic congestion , caused mostly by workers commuting to jobs in the city centre during peak hours, might appear to be Our research has looked into ways to ease congestion by reducing the need for travel in congested areas in the first place. It shows city workers definitely

If they commuted less often, congestion could be greatly reduced. One obvious solution to traffic congestion , caused mostly by workers commuting to jobs in the city centre Our research has looked into ways to ease congestion by reducing the need for travel in congested areas in the first place.

The agency’s latest research aims to address “competing objectives” regarding the transport network that the state government will need to balance during the recovery phase of COVID-19, including transmission risks, congestion, and stimulating economic activity.

“Governments across the world are working rapidly to understand how to cater for the shifting transport demands of their cities — specifically, a disruption to entire transport systems that were not designed with such health and biosecurity challenges in mind,” the report says.

The research presents a number of short-term policy solutions that will allow for a return to higher levels of economic activity, while limiting road congestion and delivering safer public transport services.

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It could also ease congestion and encourage people to return to the City of Melbourne when restrictions ease . Almost three-quarters of public transport users in Melbourne would save money if cheaper off-peak fares were introduced, according to Victoria 's infrastructure body.

VTPI: Victoria Transport Policy Institution. urban road transport modes are public transport : public buses, taxis that either scheduled or non-scheduled or based on However, in developing cities, infrastructures for non-motorized transport are inadequate and because of these passengers

Based on enhanced transport modelling, mobility data, case studies and evidence from Australian and New Zealand cities, the proposed solutions encourage the state to explore workplace policies and safe public transport travel regulation, pricing mechanisms, greater collaboration between all levels of government and business, and enhanced infrastructure service levels.

Two changes that Infrastructure Victoria has modelled are greater active transport use (such as cycling and walking) and more flexible work, which, if implemented, could make a “significant contribution” to reducing road congestion and public transport crowding.

“Our modelling has shown that greater levels of flexible work, consisting of levels of working from home of around 25% and more flexible work times, result in congestion levels in Inner Metro close to pre-COVID-19 levels (a reduction of over 100,000 delay hours compared to COVID Normal), and much lower congestion across the rest of Melbourne,” the report says.

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Many people, though, view public transport as the most obvious way to reduce their transport emissions, and it is especially important in the most congested urban areas. “All the economics are points in favour of it,” says Claire Haigh, chief executive of British sustainable travel organisation

Public behaviour change campaigns can work under the right conditions. During the Covid-19 crisis Similar public information campaigns encouraging more sustainable transport practices after the Active transport infrastructure investments could also have positive economic benefits in the wake

“Our modelling also shows that an increase of over 142,000 cycling trips each day to, from, and within Inner Metro, when combined with greater walking trips, results in a reduction of 40,000 delay hours for Inner Metro road congestion.”

However, the report argues that policy and operational interventions from the government are needed to achieve these two behaviour changes, including:

  1. Government directives and guidance, such as the mandatory wearing of masks and capacity guidance on public transport to “support safer and more confident travel”;
  2. Pricing mechanisms, such as introducing off-peak fares, would complement flexible work incentives and encourage commuters to travel during quieter times of the day, meanwhile, removing the Free Tram Zone and developing incentive schemes could encourage greater uptake of active transport;
  3. Infrastructure provision, including larger and more permanent separated cycling corridor upgrades and pop-up bike lanes, and re-allocated parking and road space for pedestrians and economic activity; and
  4. Government collaboration and leadership in flexible work, with examples including ‘nudges’ towards greater flexible work using public campaigns, collaboration with industry, and the use of the state public service as an example of best practice.

This article was first published by The Mandarin. Read the original article.

The post Encouraging flexible work could ease road congestion and public transport crowding, says Infrastructure Victoria appeared first on SmartCompany.

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