Better connections

A series of community forums has highlighted both short and long-term priorities needed to ease the Redlands’ transport issues.

Delivered in conjunction with Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads and Redland City Bulletin, the forums were led by 12 Australian experts in engineering, transport modelling and future science.

The Redlands on the Move forums voiced the need to “future-proof” vital transport trunk infrastructure so the Redlands is able to respond adequately to growing demand and new technology.

Discussions highlighted both the personal and wider economic and productivity impacts of public transport connectivity and frequency, the value of direct express or fast trunk peak services to the city and major places of employment and importance of trunk infrastructure.

One to one-and-a-half hour public transport journey-to-work times were common and a significant impact on economic productivity with trunk and arterial road congestion and choke points the same for both private and public journeys who often shared the same narrow infrastructure and subsequent congestion costs.

A range of solutions included already identified priority for major infrastructure investments like the Eastern Bus way extension and Cleveland Rail line duplication.

Compelling arguments were also put forward for shorter term solutions that included better public transport service planning, working to eradicate the slip lane and turn lane backlogs that cripple single lane roads during peak hours, duplicating rail station tracks to allow passing services and increased frequency, and examining peak hours school traffic such as the staggering of school classes starting and extending school bus access inside catchments for all students.

Speakers, including experts from the CSIRO; Griffith University; the Department of Infrastructure Local Government and Planning; and the University of Queensland among others highlighted a range of possible solutions to today’s problems and issues if we are able to think differently about transport planning.

Importantly, they also highlighted the rapidly advancing and disruptive nature of technology trends that will and are already making traditional transport infrastructure and modes of travel increasingly redundant.

Driverless vehicles, communication technology such as smart travel apps including access to what are perceived as more flexible transport services (Uber) and smart travel information, and new modes of shopping and working, are all challenging the way we think about transport infrastructure and where and how we get to places of work and do business.

People are frustrated with road congestion and improvements to public transport are a clear priority for residents. But when demands for high speed broadband and growing local jobs are considered together, this emerges as a greater priority than roads.

The location of smart business job hub or centres in the city was seen as one of the potential options. Significantly participants were prepared to consider congestion taxes and community participation in alternative community funding of transport solutions were there are clearly defined and explained benefits.

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