Home > transport > Driving the wrong behaviours throughout the transport system

Driving the wrong behaviours throughout the transport system

Will the real traffic planners please stand up?

LTA statistics say that from 2003 to 2008, the number of buses and road length in lane-kilometres both grew by 5% but the car population jumped 36%.

not the final solution (props:http://blog.dyvine.com/?p=9)

not the final solution (props:http://blog.dyvine.com/?p=9)

So… despite mushrooming ERP gantries, motorists face obscene jams plus chronic parking shortages. A bachelor of rocket science isn’t needed to see that 36 into 5 doesn’t go.

How about taking public transport? Well, public transport operators, being at heart public listed companies are duty-bound to maximise profits, but face desultory fines for bus service lapses. If the fine for failing to meet standards is $100 and the profit from short-changing service is much more, it doesn’t take Warren Buffett-level acumen to decide what to do. You got it: operators rationally choose not to expand capacity to meet peak demand – leaving bus commuters with overcrowded, infrequent services.

For similar rational economic reasons, taxis seem scarce until call bookings come through (can you say call booking fee?).

These are not the outcomes which beleaguered commuters are looking for. Externalities as far as the eye can see… nein danke.

Yes Virginia, there seem to be some road widening works going on right now. But if you think these will magically transform peak hour traffic speeds into “too fast too furious”, you are in for a disappointment. It’s gonna be more like “too little too late”: the number of lane-kilometres added is still as far behind car growth as a Chery QQ in a drag race with a GTR.

Adding more bus lanes and give-way rules won’t reduce congestion when there are too few buses and too many cars. Not to mention that all those cars stuck in jams do sweet fanny adams for the poor environment.

In fact, slowing the car population increase is not enough: the car fleet must actually shrink, which means that genuinely attractive alternatives to driving must be offered to tempt motorists out of their cars.

Perverse incentives for transport providers to reduce service – like the taxi booking surcharge, and the imbalance between profits from curtailing bus frequencies vs. fines for failing service standards – must be removed.

System bottlenecks like outdated train signalling networks, narrow expressways and mis-timed traffic lights are major barriers to today’s brittle, easily-disrupted commuter flows. By brittle I mean even bigger jams arise from unforeseen circumstances, like accidents, Great Patriotic Sales, or… rain.

These bottlenecks must be removed: time wasted on commuting delays affects the country’s competitiveness and productivity in a wonky world economy. [New LTA slogan: “four lanes good, three lanes bad”. OINK!]

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