Page 3364 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 23 September 2015
I think we should conduct proper transport modelling that anticipates a decent level of transport mode shift in Molonglo and elsewhere. Interestingly, this can be done by the government because it uses a strategic planning model as the basis for its road planning. Currently it does not anticipate a high level of transport mode shift—not even a shift in line with the transport for Canberra targets. You can see then how road building and low mode shift can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
At the same time, there is already some investment occurring to support the mode shift. The Greens-Labor parliamentary agreement contains an item to progress the Molonglo cycle highway. This will be a direct high-quality and prioritised cycling route from the Molonglo town centre to the city. The idea is that the cycle highway is in place as the Molonglo suburbs develop so that people can choose a different way to travel and may have the opportunity to own fewer cars.
Similarly, Molonglo is the first area where ACTION introduced bus services right at the beginning of a suburb evolving. Routes 83 and 783 have actually grown very quickly in popularity. Had there not been an error with the proposed new network, there would have been additional services added to accommodate the growth in patronage. We will clearly need to add those as soon as possible given the growth we have seen in uptake of use of ACTION services out of the Molonglo area.
Again, if the government directs funding appropriately into these public transport services, there is an excellent opportunity to increase public transport passengers and offset the use of cars. For many people, that is all they need—a good, consistent bus service—and they can avoid buying or using their car. If we do not provide the alternatives, clearly people are not in a position to take them up.
In any case, let me inform the Assembly of traffic modelling that has already been conducted on the stage 2 duplication of Cotter Road. Road authorities often use traffic counts to give them an idea of when they should consider duplication. The usual threshold for consideration is 18,000 vehicles a day. When I was roads minister last year, traffic counts on Cotter Road in the section between McCulloch Street and the Tuggeranong Parkway were about 12,000 vehicles a day. That means it was about two-thirds of the way to the threshold where duplication is considered.
The advice from Roads ACT was that the technical case for progressing construction of stage 2 of Cotter Road was still several years away. This 18,000-vehicle threshold is only a suggested trigger for consideration, by the way, not a requirement for upgrade, and there are numerous other factors to consider.
I would re-examine this whole motion through this framework. Why would we jump ahead to upgrade Cotter Road as soon as possible when we know that it is a fairly expensive project and we have other options for using that money this year, when there is not yet a technical case for upgrading it, when we are committed to achieving sustainable mode shift—including by investing in sustainable transport for Molonglo—and when we know that building expanded road capacity, especially when it is done unquestioningly or unnecessarily, is likely to make our goal of reducing car dependency even more difficult? I would encourage those opposite to go and read articles on the notion of induced traffic. They might find it very instructive.