The economic costs of congestion are significant and rising.
While the state each year invests in initiatives to relieve
congestion, it currently does so in the absence of a statewide plan
with clearly defined objectives, strategies and associated agency
responsibilities for congestion and travel demand management.
Consequently, the state's approach to congestion management
remains dominated by expensive supply-side initiatives focused on
increasing capacity with little evident attention to demand
management alternatives. While the immediate benefits from these
initiatives are clear, the absence of demand management means it
cannot be assured that they are the most economical and
cost-effective options in the longer term.
Growing pressure on state finances and uncertainty around
Commonwealth contributions means there is a pressing need to
explore more fiscally sustainable strategies that leverage demand
management to tackle Melbourne's growing congestion. However, it is
not evident that agencies are actively exploring such
Agencies manage the transport system to implement a range of
legislative and policy objectives and it is recognised that these
need to be balanced with any goal to manage congestion. However,
the absence of a statewide traffic congestion and demand management
framework linked to broader transport and land use strategies means
it is not clear whether strategic planning and investment by
agencies in congestion relief is soundly based, integrated and
Recent improvements in planning for road use, land use and
public transport have significant potential to assist with
alleviating road congestion and improving accessibility and
productivity. However, there is currently little assurance this
potential will be fully realised without coordinated statewide
strategies that include clearly defined agency responsibilities and
accountabilities for congestion and travel demand management.