SYDNEY BEARS BRUNT OF $3.3B IN LOSSES TO GRIDLOCK
Written on the 23 September 2016 by Nick Nichols
SYDNEY is the official gridlock capital of Australia, according to new data that shows traffic congestion is costing businesses in the nation's biggest cities more than $3.3 billion a year.
The Tom Tom Traffic Index Report has revealed that despite more commercial vehicles being registered in Melbourne, Sydney's congestion levels are the highest in the country.
However, while the NRMA says the figures come as no surprise, it argues that major infrastructure projects currently under way offer some light at the end of the tunnel.
The Tom Tom report says traffic congestion has risen 8 per cent in Sydney over the past eight years, making it the 30th most congested city in the world and costing Sydney businesses $980.79 million a year.
Tom Tom rates the city's traffic congestion level at 36 per cent after estimating that Sydney drivers spend an extra 151 hours on the road each year due to delays.
These figures show Sydney businesses bear almost a third of the cost of traffic snarls to the national economy.
The cost to Melbourne businesses has been calculated at $871.47 million, while Brisbane and Perth come a distant second at $581.7 million and $496.17 million respectively.
However, Hobart has surprisingly ranked as high as Melbourne in terms of congestion levels at 29 per cent each.
The report has found Hobart drivers spend an extra 109 hours in their cars a year, compared to Melbourne's 120 hours.
Hobart's extra drive time is the third highest of the 10 cities included in the report even though it has the second-lowest number of commercial vehicles registered in the city.
"Traffic congestion is a fact of life for every driver," says Christopher Chisman-Duffy, sales manager at TomTom Telematics ANZ.
"As we reveal the latest Traffic Index results, we can see that the problem is not going away."
NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury agrees Sydney's traffic snarls have become worse, arguing that infrastructure spending continues to lag population growth.
"We do our own business survey each year and what we find is we also know where the worst locations are for traffic," says Khoury.
"It's no coincidence that the worst locations coincide with the areas of Sydney that are currently seeing major road infrastructure projects.
"We know the data is bad and getting worse, but we also believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel, literally, with a number of major projects being built in Sydney over the next few years."
Tom Tom calculates the costs to businesses from wasted billable time, extra fuel consumption and missing targets.
It says traffic congestion has risen 4 per cent in Melbourne over the past year while Brisbane congestion is up just 1 per cent.
The report lists Perth fourth on the congestion list at 27 per cent, just behind Hobart, followed by Adelaide (25 per cent), Brisbane (25 per cent), Gold Coast (23 per cent), Newcastle (21 per cent), Canberra (17 per cent) and Wollongong (15 per cent).
Author: Nick Nichols