Perth demands remedy for congestion issues

At certain times of the day, road congestion is unavoidable as everybody rushes off to school or work at the same time. The biggest problem with this is our roads, which in most cases are struggling to cope with the demands of being crossed by thousands of vehicles. 

Not only does this waste drivers' time, it also impacts fuel consumption. If a car is using fuel to idle in a traffic jam, it's not using it efficiently, wasting valuable resources for little gain.

So what's the answer? Short of employing high-tech computer systems to solve the problem for us, one of the options is to simply build more capable roads, which is what many states around Australia are doing. 

How bad is the problem?

According to the Royal Automobile Club, the problem in Perth has deteriorated to the point where immediate action is needed. A report has been produced to encourage the government to direct infrastructure spending this way. 

The report found that although congestion already costs the state billions of dollars per year, this number is expected to rise exponentially if new road projects aren't fast-tracked. 

"We've seen the warning signs for several years and we are now hearing alarm bells - the findings of the National Infrastructure Audit is an opportunity to take stock and identify priorities," said Senior Manager Policy and Research Anne Still.

"This analysis has found the cost of congestion to the State's productivity is expected to rise from an estimated $2.1 billion by 2020, to $16 billion by 2031, making Perth roads the most congested in the country, and ahead of both Sydney and Brisbane."

The organisation believes there needs to be a new focus on providing infrastructure solutions that will bring positive change to the state's transport network. 

What is the rest of the country doing?

No major population centre is exempt from the traffic problems plaguing the country, but states should also focus on ensuring the roads between cities and regional centres are up to the task so the problem isn't merely shifted elsewhere. 

Queensland's pledge to continue the Federal Budget's focus on infrastructure is likely to help with this, with an extra $60 million dedicated to the Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme over the next two years. 

"We have the most decentralised state in the nation and as a government with many regional members, we know that our strength lies in those regional towns and cities," said State Development Minister Anthony Lineham. 

"The new Building our Regions program will fund projects that tackle infrastructure constraints for local businesses in those communities."