Being stuck in traffic is going to seriously hurt the budget.
The Federal Government’s Australian Infrastructure audit shows that Adelaide’s busiest arterial roads are costing taxpayers many millions in lost productivity and the situation is expected to worsen. Goodwood Road, Anzac Highway, Port Road, Main North Road, Fullarton Road and Payneham Road are among the top 10 roads causing costly delays. More people and more vehicles are squeezing into our road network.
Some travel times could double over the next 15 years, with a projected cost to SA’s economy of $4 billion by 2031. While the current focus is on the 10-year roll-out of the north-south corridor, enabling the non-stop flow of large volumes of trucks and cars, only glancing references have been made to the contribution cycling can make to address the challenge of traffic congestion. Cycling infrastructure is a cheap and efficient mechanism to encourage people to leave their cars at home and cycle to work, to uni, to school and to the shops.
The cost per kilometre of best-practice cycling infrastructure is negligible compared with roads for motor vehicles, and it delivers dividends on many other levels – savings to the health budget and to the environment, while supporting business and social capital. Proper infrastructure for cyclists and slower speed limits along a logical, connected network of roads and paths will lead to a growth in the number of people on a bike, which means fewer motor vehicles taking up limited road space. We may all be concerned about the financial burden of increasing traffic congestion, but with a long-term, holistic and well-funded strategy some solutions can be achieved by spending millions not billions.