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Improving the Brisbane road network

The following article is a suggestion meant to bring a permanent relief to an increasing traffic on Brisbane Roads (it is understood City roads, as suburban traffic is needed and fair when non work-related). It could well be considered to fix the same issue in other cities, the same way as a similar plan has already fixed issues in other places overseas (London, UK).
Hypothesis
The article assumes that increasing traffic on our roads IS an issue, and that as years pass by, the size of Brisbane can’t expand too much, because it is limited by natural and economic factors. But the traffic can only but increase, and it does so proportionally to population growth, as more and more people are getting into the age bracket of driving and going to work. An increase in vehicle traffic on the same road surface creates an increase in motor vehicle density. In turn, an increase in density causes health and environmental related issues, as well as economic ones since economy is intimately related the those two former subjects.

The Plan

The plan imagined here is meant to relief our lungs and the Nature from unwanted exhaust fumes, to relief City roads from cars.

Why cars? Cars are the most inefficient people movers in cities of all times.   They are the vehicles that occupy the biggest ground surface per capita, hence subject to cause jam and idle while polluting.   Motorbikes can pollute more than cars, but for less time, as they idle less and travel through a network faster, even by respecting speeds.

The scope of the alternative solution is for now restricted to private cars taking their owner to and back from work.   Established statistics could reveal how much traffic can be cut since this figure is known.

Reducing the number of cars calls for finding alternatives to this means of transportation, as workers still need to go to work. I guess this is calling now for a cultural change. The cultural change can’t happen overnight, because subject to a very strong inertia. However, what can bring is cultural change is a shift in popularity. Decreasing the popularity of cars will naturally lead workers to find alternative ways.

How to decrease car popularity?

This could easily be achieved by incrementally increase the cost of parking cars in the City. Incrementally over time and up to absolutely expensive rates eventually; so that only so many percents of the richest people can afford parking in the City. This method uses for good a natural fact that humans have to show how much money they have. This sense of success that the last ones to park their cars will have will be used to finance (partly or totally? A trial could show this), the cost of the infrastructure needed by Queensland Government to put in place the system described below.

An automated and computerised system, similar to the existing speeding fines one, should be installed at every entry point of the City. The system could be comprised of cameras and computers

The cameras read car plates and try to match them up against a database of subscribers (this technology is already available). If the registration corresponds to a special category subscriber (Emergency services, Police, Cab, Tradesman), then the corresponding fee is calculated (free entry may also apply).
If the person has subscribed (online or through Centres) and the registration is valid, nothing happens, but if they cannot be found in the database or the subscription has expired, they will be kindly invited to pay a legal fee, attracting penalty if not paid, and so forth.

This fee should be set to an amount greater than the one of a subscription, so that subscribing becomes more popular.

By incrementally increasing the cost of subscriptions, effectiveness statistics can be drawn along the process, and a ceiling value could be extrapolated, based on target indexes set by the Queensland Government. Eventually, prices could be so high that almost no one would dare go to the City in their car, except the fewer richest individuals, and we definitely want to keep them, for the reason already described above.

The cashflow coming back to QLD Gov can also easily be measured, hence instructing executive officers when they should stop increasing the subscription price (= daily parking fee), and this“balance point” should mathematically be equal to the cost of running the subscription project in Brisbane (= cost of infrastructure installation, maintenance, and fee shipping system, and support employers and their managers).

Substitutes

This was for making cars becoming less popular.   Now, and in the meantime, popular ways of getting to work should spawn off this new ground, i.e.  clearer roads, such as more buses (or tramways), more trains, (leading to more employments), and more bicycles, scooters, and motorbikes (#167;consume less petrol, occupy less space, reduce trip time, reduce the money they spend on their own car maintenance, so overall keep people happy while getting them to and back from work#167;).

If a benefit is made on this system, we could even think of setting up a“1 dollar bike”, relying on the same principle of the "Vélib" installed in Paris and France, allowing people to do inner city and close suburban trips on bikes they rent $1 a day, off the council, using a safe and computerised system.

Conclusion

Whereas this system could be considered extremist, I guess there are only extremist solutions to extreme issues, and increasing car traffic is one.

Remember, all the subjects evoked further up are all related, therefore can’t be considered independently, without linking them to their context. Decreasing car traffic in the City leads to better lifestyle, household savings, so more money spent on leisure, travel and goods; less pollution, hence less health related issues, hence less Public Health expenditures.

If Brisbane leads the way, then executive officers can act as consultants to other States, and sell their skills and experience on this project, and bring even more cash into the loop.
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created 12 March 2009
revised 13 February 2017 by
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