Road Pricing Options for Australia

Moving People: Solutions for a growing Australia- key transport issues (81 page pdf, the Australasian Railway Association, the Bus Industry Confederation and the International Association of Public Transport–UITP, April 2010)

Also discussed here: Moving People: Solutions for a growing Australia (World Streets, April 12, 2010)

Australia shares many transportation and energy issues with Canada- and other developed countries. Both countries have similar populations (23M and 32M) with close to 90% concentrated in a 20 or 30 cities. Their populations are growing older (and more obese) with changing needs for mobility. Both countries have high per capita energy consumption because of summer heat and air conditioning demands on the one hand (and winter cold and heating for Canada on the other). Also both countries have begun to examine solutions among which road pricing is a key.

Key Quotes:

“road traffic congestion cost Australia almost $10 billion nationally in 2005 [pop 22.3M est 2010]and that this cost will double by 2020: Sydney $3.5bn [pop 4.4M est 2008], Melbourne $3bn, [3.9M], Brisbane $1.2bn, [1.9M], Perth $0.9bn and [1.6M], Adelaide $0.6bn[1.2M]”

“UK research has suggested that urban congestion costs (in the UK) can be cut by over 40 per cent if congestion pricing reduces urban traffic volumes by about 4 per cent”

“52 per cent of women, 67 per cent of men and 25 per cent of children are overweight or obese in Australia ..obesity has more than doubled in the last 20 years… estimated to cost $14b annually in Australia.42 This is larger in scale than road congestion costs”

air pollution from motor vehicles accounts for more than 500 early deaths in the Sydney Region per annum and over 1,000 hospital admissions, and that the health costs of motor vehicle emissions .. between $600 million and $1.5 billion per annum”

“Governments subsidise 70–75 cents of every dollar of transport expenditure”

“A reformed transport pricing regime:

1. a user-based charge to cover carbon costs

2. a usage-based charge to cover the costs of road construction and maintenance attributable to lighter vehicles;

3. tonne kilometre charges for the additional road damage attributable to heavy vehicles;

4. a use-based charge to cover the external cost component of accident costs;

5. use-based charges to levy the more polluting vehicles for their health (air pollution) costs

6. a congestion pricing scheme to make users accountable for the congestion costs attributable to their road use, by time and location. At peak hours in the capital cities.. as high as $1/km”

“.. a vehicle kilometre charge that is levied based on the particular roads used, the traffic conditions at time of use and the vehicle emission performance and mass characteristics. New GPS technology is suited .. Dutch are leading the field in the development and implementation of such an approach to road user charging“

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