Research from traffic tracker Intelematics shows school traffic has a “significant” impact on delays on roads across Melbourne, when compared with school holiday periods.
The school drop-off from 8am to 9.30am and pick-up from 2.30pm to 4pm can make trips on major roads take 10 times longer than in school holidays, according to Intelematics data.
Some of the worst-affected roads include the South Gippsland Highway, Fitzgerald Road in Laverton and CityLink.
Driving the section of the Princes Freeway between Brooklyn and Laverton takes about 32 seconds in school drop-off and pick-up times during school holidays, but travel times blow out during the school term to 7.5 minutes.
A 10-second trip on CityLink between Burnley and Kooyong during school holidays stretches out to two minutes 44 seconds, making it 16 times longer during school peak hours.
Intelematics used data from thousands of sensors on roads and in cars from 1 October 2019 to 8 January 2020, excluding school holidays, public holidays and weekends, to calculate delays caused by school traffic.
Intelematics says separate research in June 2019 showed that during school holidays there were consistent traffic levels from 7am to 6pm without the big spikes Melburnians experience during school peak hours.
On average, school peak hour adds between one and 10 minutes’ travel time in Melbourne suburbs, with heavy congestion on main arterial roads.
Motorists travelling though several suburbs can expect cumulative delays adding significantly to their trip time. Drivers heading westbound on Toorak Road, South Yarra during the school peak would have a delay of two minutes, 32 seconds during the school peak, but those then heading northbound on Chapel Street, South Yarra would experience additional delays of two minutes, 46 seconds, adding up to a total delay of five minutes, 18 seconds.
More needs to be done in providing viable alternatives to parents and school children.
Intelematics chief product officer Denise Christie says while it is obvious that roads with multiple schools experience delays, the research shows that even roads without any schools still experience delays during peak drop-off and pick-up times.
“Obviously school pick-ups and drop-offs are causing delays around schools, but they are also causing delays on feeder roads to the schools in neighbouring suburbs,” she says.
“Everybody feels that when schools go back our commute time seems to be longer, now our data shows that this is actually the case.”
RACV’s senior manager transport and infrastructure Peter Kartsidimas says RACV’s 2018 Redspot Survey analysing the state’s worst congestion spots revealed that the duration of morning and afternoon peak times have expanded under the pressure of growing numbers of vehicles.
“We must continue to examine ways to ease Melbourne’s crippling transport congestion which is only getting worse,” says Peter.
“To help ease congestion around school zones, RACV is encouraging parents to walk or cycle with their kids to school to support an active and healthy lifestyle.
“However, more needs to be done in providing viable alternatives to parents and school children, with RACV also calling for greater investment in public transport across the city and outer suburbs.”
10 of the worst school traffic spots
Northeast-bound between Brooklyn and Laverton North
1354 per cent
Citybound between Burnley and Kooyong
1625 per cent
246 per cent
Northbound, South Melbourne/Southbank
159 per cent
South Gippsland Highway
Northbound, Dandenong South
319 per cent
846 per cent
Northbound, Dandenong South
190 per cent
181 per cent
Western Ring Road
259 per cent
235 per cent
Road safety explained: what RACV is doing to keep you safe on Victorian roads.