Today, traffic congestion is one of the top ten concerns of people living in urban areas. It affects where we live, work, our travel patterns, land use, the quality of our environment and the amount of fuel we consume. As we head towards an information-based, global economy, the safety, speed and reliability of the movement of people and goods becomes increasingly important. This movement often defines the potential economic growth and current health of a region.
Traffic congestion can be defined as a situation where participants cannot move in a desirable or usual manner and is the result of insufficient capacity of an infrastructure to support its transportation demands, such that is users are delayed beyond a length of time that they consider unreasonable. Problems associated with congestion involve the loss of productivity, decreased mobility, increased travel time and unperceived costs.
As in many regions around the world, growing congestion is a problem in South-East Queensland. Its three major transport nodes are the cities of Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. Current trends indicate that the existing transport infrastructure will not be able to cope with future transportation demands. The growing population and increased urbanisation in the region has prompted transport agencies to develop integrated transport plans and improve the planning, design and management of the transport network. Without intervention traffic congestion in the area will considerably worsen, resulting in gridlock by the year 2011.
The most effective means for governments and transport agencies to mitigate transport problems is by introducing strategic policies, and develop and promote action plans. Polices are primarily used to set specific goals with regards to transport use. These can then be realised through the execution of action plans, which instruct the public on appropriate solutions that will enable these goals to be achieved.
The traditional solution was to simply increase road capacity through additional infrastructure. However, due to economic and land use constraints this solution is no longer the only answer to the problem. As a result, investigations have been conducted into the feasibility of other solutions. Research has shown that these solutions are the key to solving the problems associated with the safety, speed and reliability of the movement of people and goods.
This thesis aims to address the issues relating to traffic congestion in South-East Queensland, focusing on key growth areas. A quantitative and qualitative analysis of the region’s current concerns relating to traffic congestion was undertaken and solutions to these issues were reviewed. This study reinforces the need to focus attention on traffic congestion in South-East Queensland in order to ensure continued economic growth and development in the region.