RACV calling for action on these key transport priorities

Moving Well | Sue Hewitt | Posted on 13 September 2019

RACV has identified five top infrastructure priorities needing investment.

As Victoria’s population is tipped to hit 11 million by 2056, RACV has identified five top transport priorities needing investment. 

RACV wants planners to build the Metro 2 rail tunnel, provide 17 inner-city cycling ‘superhighways’, improve regional road safety, plan for regional growth and clear a backlog of transport projects in Melbourne’s outer suburbs. 

The challenge facing planning authorities is that no single project will solve the enormous pressure population growth will put on Melbourne’s and Victoria’s infrastructure, according to RACV’s senior manager transport, Peter Kartsidimas. 

Aerial view of Melbourne suburbs with freeways cutting through suburban housing estates

RACV’s research has found $13 billion is needed to address a backlog of road and transport projects in the outer suburbs.

RACV has presented submissions on its five key transport priorities to Infrastructure Australia (IA), the nation's independent infrastructure advisor. 

IA’s 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit released in August warned that the nation needs $600 billion in new spending on infrastructure to keep pace with demand over the next 15 years.  

RACV has put forward its priorities for consideration as part of IA’s Infrastructure Priority List 2020 update – a critical document to be released next year, and used by decision makers to prioritise specific infrastructure investment. 

Peter says four out of five of the fastest-growing local government areas in metropolitan Melbourne are in the outer suburbs and “proper planning and infrastructure are needed in these areas”. 

Startling predictions reveal that by 2031 the population in the outer suburbs will have overtaken the total population of Melbourne’s inner and middle suburbs. Peter says nearly half that growth is expected to occur in the northern, western and south-eastern growth corridors. 

“It is estimated that by 2050, Melbourne’s transport networks will need to cope with 23 million trips per day, nearly double the current figure of 12.5 million,” he says. 

Peter says RACV’s Growing Pains Outer Melbourne report has identified a backlog of transport projects that need to be undertaken. 

In the city, there are two congestion busting projects which encourage cycling and rail use.

Trains speeding past high-rise city buildings
Aerial view of Melbourne city skyline with Yarra River and gardens in foreground

RACV’s five key transport priorities for Victoria

Metro 2 rail tunnel

The Melbourne Metro rail project currently being built will increase capacity on Melbourne trains, allowing more than half a million extra passengers per week to use trains in the peak hours.

Peter says the Melbourne Metro 2 project, a proposed extension of the Melbourne rail network via a tunnel from Newport to Clifton Hill through the city centre, is needed to provide capacity on the Werribee Line. This project offers a chance to provide extra stations in the inner north and in urban-renewal precincts such as Fishermans Bend.

Cycling ‘superhighway’

Although cycling eases road congestion and overcrowding on public transport, it is currently not a viable and safe option for most people travelling to and within inner Melbourne. RACV has identified 17 inner-city cycling routes which Peter says should be an investment priority to provide safe cycling superhighways.

Regional infrastructure

In regional Victoria, Peter says targeted infrastructure programs must consider population growth, transport disadvantages and choices, demographics and future freight movement and investment in regional centres.

“To maintain the liveability of major regional centres, public transport and bicycle infrastructure projects will be needed,” he says.

Regional road safety

Peter says the need to improve the safety of regional roads, not only in Victoria but across the nation, can’t be ignored. “Around 65 per cent of all road deaths and 40 per cent of injuries requiring hospitalisation occur on regional and remote roads in Australia, yet only 30 per cent of Australia’s population live in these areas,” he says.

Peter says the safety standard of existing regional roads should be raised to three stars, while new regional roads should be four stars. He says this might require such simple measures as roadside safety barriers, improved skid resistance of road surfaces and rumble strips on highway shoulders and centre lines to reduce run-off-road crashes.

Outer metropolitan projects

RACV’s research found that $13 billion was needed to address a backlog of projects in the outer suburbs in the shorter term and more funding was needed in the medium to long term. Its 2018 Growing Pains Outer Melbourne plan lists more than 100 transport infrastructure projects needed to fill in missing road links and increase road capacity and safety, as well as listing essential rail infrastructure projects including creating new lines, increasing the capacity of existing lines and improving access and facilities at stations.

The projects in 14 local government areas listed include the $110 million duplication of the Belgrave rail line in Knox and the duplication of the Berwick-Cranbourne Road to the South Gippsland Highway, costing $109 million, in Casey.