Six ways to keep Melbourne moving at 8 million

More people living in Melbourne means more trips across our transport network. RMIT experts share their views on how to plan for this pressure and keep our city moving.

Melbourne’s population is expected to reach 8 million by 2051 but the transport pressures of our hyper-expansion are already being felt.

By 2030, an additional 3.5 million trips are expected to be made each day across the city.

This means commuting times will increase by a whopping 20%.

Planning for future congestion needs a coordinated approach that considers all users of the transport system – pedestrians, cyclists, public transport users and motorists.

Here our experts from the new Transport@RMIT Network share their ideas about how we can accommodate Melbourne’s growth on its transport network.


1.     Harness the potential of Intelligent Transport Systems

Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) can play a primary role in delivering a high level of performance across the transport network, enhancing the quality of transport services and reducing congestion.

ITS can manage congestion through real time traffic and incident monitoring, automated warning systems and dynamic travel information.

With this type of real-time information, road users can more accurately plan their day-to-day trips and avoid congested roads.

They may choose to change their travel route, the time of travel, or even their mode of transport.


2.     Introduce peak and off-peak transport pricing 

Pricing is an important and effective tool for transport demand management and has been widely used to manage congestion worldwide.

Differential pricing of public transport services at peak and off-peak periods can manage demand, reducing overcrowding on peak hour services.

Effective transport pricing will help shift transport demand towards times of lower congestion and from roads to other transport modes.

London, Singapore and Stockholm, have all reduced congestion by 13 to 30% following this model.


3.     Build denser neighbourhoods that encourage active transport

A walkable neighbourhood encourages local living, with people being able to safely and conveniently walk or cycle to their preferred destinations.

To create a city of walkable, 20-minute neighbourhoods, a residential density target of at least 25 dwellings per hectare is needed.

Higher residential densities provide the foundations for well-serviced public transport infrastructure and locally accessible destinations, goods, and services.

4.     Invest in cycling infrastructure and education

Australia’s low rates of commuter cycling reflect a substantial under-investment in cycling infrastructure.

Promoting cycling as a convenient, healthy and safe travel mode requires development of connected bicycle networks and improved links to existing cycle paths.

Cycling can be made more accessible for people of all ages and abilities by providing separated cycle lanes on major cycling corridors.

Traffic calming features such as separated cycle lanes and controlled crossings enhance cyclist safety, which is especially important in encouraging cycling among younger and older riders.


5.     Integrate freight movement into city planning

With the volume of Victoria’s freight expected to double by 2050, freight movement across Melbourne will become more challenging as delivery vehicles negotiate higher levels of traffic congestion, particularly in the “last mile” of freight delivery – the final stage of delivery to the customer’s door.

A last mile freight zoning strategy could better regulate freight movement across Melbourne by establishing off-street loading and unloading provision requirements, guiding local government planning.

A designated zone in the planning scheme would provide clarity on land use, help industry to improve resource and asset sharing, and support government in strategic planning for future growth.

The creation of peak-hour freight-free zones in central Melbourne and activity centres would alleviate road congestion and provide for more efficient freight delivery.


6.     Embrace and plan for new emerging transport technologies

As new and emerging transport-related technologies like driverless vehicles become an increasing reality, they are likely to have a significant impact upon the future functioning of Victoria’s transport system.

The introduction of driverless cars will require significant transitional planning and the Victorian Government needs to anticipate and actively plan for the emergence of these technologies.

If done in partnership with high capacity public transport, fewer people could own cars. Driverless vehicles, supported by data-driven technology, could see a widespread transition to shared car ownership and car hire on a pay per trip basis.

While this technology provides promise of a safer, higher capacity transport system, government oversight is required to avoid potentially negative outcomes.

Transport@RMIT is part of the Urban Futures Enabling Capabilities Platform bringing together transport researchers and educators across RMIT to enhance, promote and deploy the university’s interdisciplinary capability in transport. Transport@RMIT will officially launch its network at the 2019 RMIT Engaging for Impact

Story: Chanel Bearder