According to the Kapsch TrafficCom Index 83 percent of motorists in Australia consider taking an alternative route to avoid traffic jams and congested roads. For less than half, using public transport is an option. This was the result of a survey conducted immediately before the outbreak of the Corona pandemic in March. After the Corona restrictions have been lifted, public transport will likely be even less popular and traffic congestion will become even worse. For the "Kapsch TrafficCom Index" study, a representative sample of 1,000 citizens was surveyed by a market research institute in Australia.
Drivers respond to traffic congestion by considering alternative routes (83 percent), changing their departure time (76 percent) or avoiding non-essential travel (74 percent). In contrast, less than half of all drivers (42 percent) could imagine leaving their car behind and using public transport instead.
"We expect that public transport will be less popular for getting from A to B after the Corona pandemic", says Soren Tellegen, Executive Vice President Asia-Pacific at Kapsch TrafficCom. “A focus on reducing the transmission risk will be the top priority for most citizens and therefore we expect use of private vehicles to increase. However this is not a sustainable solution and we have a great opportunity to look at managing demand through peak shifting of people using the network and changing our work habits to start earlier or later in the day. Our transport demand management solutions can help both customers and operators to achieve this and ensure safety through social distancing and limiting occupancy on the network can be managed and coordinated with a view on getting people back on public transport.
Number of registered motor vehicles rose to 19.5 million
Increasing traffic volumes and road congestion have been long-term developments preceding the Corona pandemic: a key driver has been the sharp rise in the number of registered motor vehicles. The number of licensed vehicles in Australia rose to 19.5 million vehicles within 5 years (2015-2019) – an increase of 1.5 million.
"There are technical solutions available today to ensure smooth traffic flow in times of very high traffic volumes," says Soren Tellegen. "Traffic management is based on several pillars and involves linking car-based IT to public traffic guidance systems, controlling traffic lights adaptively or selecting routes collaboratively
How to reduce congestion times by a quarter
As a first option the digital control of traffic lights should be considered. Experience shows that congestion times can be reduced by up to a quarter. The widespread use of SIM cards and vehicle-based GPS also makes it possible to obtain and use real-time traffic data from vehicles. This could dramatically improve our understanding of the actual traffic situation on the roads, which in turn could help predict traffic jams. The benefits would be comparable to the introduction of satellites in meteorology, which improved weather forecasting, explains Tellegen.
Navigation stops working selfishly
The exchange of networked vehicle data paves the way for new navigation solutions. Currently route planners and guidance systems still work "selfishly" in that they ignore the responses of other motorists: to avoid traffic jams, the navigation systems suggest the same alternative route to all vehicles. In the future, the suggested routes should be determined and optimised by public traffic control centres. The public administration's knowledge of road works, events or particular environmental pollution in certain areas can be taken into account when suggesting new routes to the benefit of the community, enabling predictive demand management. Navigation systems from Google, TomTom & Co will be part of this network.