SA eyes the future

South Australia moves to address congestion and drive efficiency for all modes of transport

SA eyes the future
South Australian minister for transport Stephen Mullighan has launched Operation Moving Traffic

The Bus Industry Confederation of Australia (BIC) has heaped praise on South Australia’s minister for transport Stephen Mullighan, following the launch of Operation Moving Traffic.

These verbal accolades follow the last week’s launch of Operation Moving Traffic – a $1.7 million investment aimed at faster and more reliable travel times for all road users, as part of the South Australian budget.

About 30 travel time signs were activated on key arterial roads giving bus drivers real-time information on traffic flows, and the minister is on the look out for even more congestion-busting initiatives.

"Studies show week day travel speeds for cars and trucks slowed by more than 8 per cent in the 10 years to 2014,"Mullighan says.

"This is mainly due to the more than 20 per cent increase in the number of vehicles on our roads.

"Congestion hurts our economy. It adds extra cost to goods and services by increasing freight costs and it delays people who use our roads for work including tradespeople and delivery drivers.

"The state government is already spending billions of dollars investing in the capacity of the road network.

"But there also needs to be a concerted effort to improve traffic flows on the roads we already have."

The Bus Association of South Australia (Bus SA) and Bus Industry Confederation of Australia (BIC) have shown their support for Mullighan, who seems determined to improve the efficiency of public transport in Adelaide.

"This announcement is a practical and real answer, a workable approach based on budgetary constraints," Bus SA executive director Lauran Huefner says.

"We need to manage the amount of car traffic and provide real and viable alternatives."

BIC executive director Micheal Apps agrees and says it’s refreshing to see such as practical, common-sense approach.

"Sometimes rocket science gets in the way of common sense, and a suite of simple stuff can make a huge difference at minimal cost and benefit a lot. I am sure this is what the punter really wants from our politicians," he says.

While this is a step in the right direction, Apps has a few suggestions on what could be done to make public transport a more viable option for private car users in particular.

"How about a hierarchy of bus priority measures across the road network to make trips quicker for bus users, faster than cars, such as priority at traffic lights and real time information systems at bus stops," Apps says.

While the SA bus network has shown a steady improvement with a 1.5 per cent increase in 2014-15 compared to the year before, with targeted investment Apps is confident further gains can be made.

"How about tidal traffic lanes on major arterials during the peak and in the morning, so we give bus priority on all of our main roads in peak periods each work day," Apps says.

South Australia’s Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) is seeking ideas on initiatives that should be included as part of Operation Moving Traffic and these can be submitted via the DPTE website up until September 1 this year.

A report containing the most viable of these will be released in October and become the centre-piece of another consultation period from November onwards.

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