Transport authority to spend at least $1.3bn each year to develop public transport system
Calculating the cost of traffic congestion and then the return on investments made to reduce those costs is an area that I am very interested in. Most countries and cities have agreed calculations that measure the vehicle miles traveled or rather not traveled due to traffic congestion.
They have the ability to compare design optimum flow with driving speed on roads, based on design and technology such as road loops, Bluetooth detectors, cameras and more. They can compare normal traffic with conditions caused by planned and unplanned events, from holiday traffic or commuters through to events and crashes or other forms of accident.
When you look at the impact on GDP, people not getting to work or meetings on time, Just in Time manufacturing, retail, service, freight, the costs are pretty easy to measure and are substantial.Public transport is a key element that can help keep cities moving. Cars that drive the network with one person in them is a real luxury, but is it sustainable?
What is equally interesting to me is the impact on our lifestyle. For example, let’s say Johnny is playing solo in the school band concert and traffic means you don’t get to the venue until after he has completed his command performance. What happens when a rugby referee can’t get to the school match on time and it gets cancelled? What happens when you don’t get to school to see Mary receive her merit certificate, or you are half an hour late to pick he up from school? There are countless examples that you will be able to relate. I question how we measure those losses to relationship, anxiety and trust that can be damaged, consequences of those situations.
I would argue that along with the financial wealth of a city, there are countless daily examples of disappointments, of little drops in the buckets of trust between people that cause damage but can’t be measured. Just ask anyone if they have ever had a serious consequence to being late due to traffic congestion, not so much the missed flight, but something more personal. Everyone has a story.
To me those things are just as important, but difficult to measure. They certainly have an impact on a city’s health and investments are necessary in technology, staff, information services and education.