THE Bus Industry Confederation (BIC) has released its latest report to promote discussion about how Australia should shape its future land transport policy, with a focus on land use and transport integration, funding future infrastructure needs and social exclusion associated with transport disadvantage.
The report, titled 'Moving People: Solutions for a Liveable Australia', was prepared in association with the International Association of Public Transport (Australia/New Zealand) and authored by Professor John Stanley at the University of Sydney.
The report aims to highlight three critical areas where it says a major focus will be needed in coming years to improve the sustainability of Australia's land transport systems: land use/transport integration; infrastructure funding; and social exclusion.
Land use/transport integration
"Major transport improvements can play important city-shaping roles. It is better that this is planned, to achieve intended societal outcomes, rather than arising as an unintended consequence of seeking to solve transport problems in siloed isolation. This requires an integrated approach," the report writes.
In summary, the report calls for:
- Adequate trunk public transport capacity to facilitate growth in the central city and movement around the central city;
- Road use priority to be given to the low impact modes of light rail, tram and bus, as well as walking and cycling, in inner suburbs;
- High quality road capacity to support high frequency circumferential operation of road-based public transport systems in middle and outer suburban areas;
- Provision of local public transport services to/from transport nodes/activity centres, at a frequency that will help to facilitate social inclusion;
- Priority to be given to walkability/cyclability within and to/from local centres; and
- Provide high quality trunk PT services between outer growth suburbs and the most proximate employment hubs.
Sustainable pricing and funding
"The infrastructure backlog in Australian land transport, in the current tight fiscal environment, together with the emerging longer term trend of declining fuel excise revenues (at the current excise rate), is highlighting the urgency of finding new ways to fund transport infrastructure," the report writes.
The BIC states that it views user pays pricing as the most important policy change that is needed in infrastructure funding over the long term.
Over the medium term, the report proposes the removal of excise and registration fees and their replacement by a number of use-based charges to cover costs such as carbon and pollution, road construction and maintenance, accidents and congestion.
"Problems of poor accessibility to the many opportunities that are available in any society can be tackled by improving mobility, changing land use arrangements, changing service delivery models and/or by changing funding models," the report writes.
"In both urban and regional settings, land use/transport policy integration should recognise the multiple dimensions of accessibility, such that social inclusion can be promoted by either improving transport opportunities, improving the local availability of activities, or by cost-effectively improving elements of each. This ties social inclusion firmly back to land use/transport integration in the longer term."
The full report, 'Moving People: Solutions for a Liveable Australia', is available from the Bus Industry Confederation website at <http://bic.asn.au/> or directly from <http://bic.asn.au/_literature_118260/Moving_People_-_Solutions_for_a_Liveable_Australia> (PDF: 2.60 MB).