THE City of Melbourne has released the third of eight transport discussion papers to inform a new Transport Strategy for the municipality, with its latest Public Transport Network discussion paper describing the public transport system as being critical to a liveable, prosperous and sustainable city.
The discussion paper, which is informed by research by the University of Melbourne and RMIT, presents issues and floats possible to solutions to preventing a crippled network as the city's population grows.
"Every day, trams on Swanston Street carry more people than the West Gate Bridge. But with the majority of trams across the network sharing the road with vehicles, congestion means they travel at less than a quarter of their maximum speed," the City of Melbourne said in a media statement.
"Melbourne's iconic trams are capable of travelling at 80km an hour, but average just 16km an hour, spending 17 per cent of their trips stopped at traffic lights. On Bridge Road, Victoria, Nicholson, Brunswick and Smith Streets, trams carry at least double the amount of people that are moved in cars in a one hour midweek peak period.
"Supercharging the tram network, planning for new rail network infrastructure and creating orbital routes to link suburbs without having to travel via the city are ideas highlighted in a new transport strategy discussion paper."
Chair of the Transport Portfolio, Nicolas Frances Gilley, said Melbourne's public transport network is already under strain.
"We know that at the moment, 69 per cent of central city workers arrive by public transport. The number of people living, working and visiting the City of Melbourne is set to grow by 50 per cent in the next 20 years," Cr Frances Gilley said.
"We need to accommodate them and the public transport projects that have been committed to are not enough, the crucial Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel will be at capacity soon after it's completed."
The discussion paper introduces the possibilities of Melbourne Metro 2, a proposed rail tunnel to link Newport to Clifton Hill via Fishermans Bend, and Melbourne Metro 3, a concept to link north-west renewal areas to the airport and the central city.
"Within ten years the number of people travelling through Melbourne Airport will be comparable with Heathrow today, which has three rail lines connecting passengers to London," Cr Frances Gilley said.
"With our projected population boom we'll need several public transport connections to the airport."
Additional discussion papers will be released over the next two months. More information is available from the City of Melbourne website at <https://participate.melbourne.vic.gov.au/transportstrategy>.