Roads, and in particular large multi-lane freeways and tollways, take up large amounts of land, that prior to cars becoming the dominant form of urban mass transport, would have been parkland, bush, creeks or housing and business premises. The Monash, Eastern and Tullamarine freeways have all been built on such land. The North East Link and Eastern Freeway widening (up to 20 lanes) will destroy parkland, homes, business premises and sporting venues.
Public transport capability and space efficiency
The demands placed on urban space by public transport, whether it be rail, tram or bus, or active transport (walking and cycling), is far less than for passenger motor cars, which are far more space-efficient. Melbourne’s trains have a carrying capacity of 700 passengers, trams up to 200 and route buses up to 70 passengers. And, self-evidently, they are much more energy efficient for each passenger kilometre travelled. Motor cars typically may have the capacity for four passengers. But during peak periods in Melbourne, they are on average occupied by only 1.1 persons. So much for all that road space.
A congested freeway said to be operating at 100% capacity at this level of occupancy is actually operating at less than 30% capacity, given that the purpose of transport corridors is for the movement of people, not vehicles.
Another relevant perspective on the relative space efficiency of public transport, and active transport, is demonstrated by the fact that only about 0.5% of the total area of Greater Metropolitan Melbourne is required for the rail network, about 14% is devoted to roads and road reservations.
The Victorian Government recently announced a modest roll -out of electric buses for the Melbourne route bus fleet. Other cities, including Sydney and Brisbane, are more advanced.
Until a few years ago, Public Transport Victoria had a chart on its website which showed the relative energy efficiency of different forms of transport for every kilometre travelled. Then it disappeared. It should be re-introduced, along with a chart that shows the relative space-efficiency of the different modes of transport.
The impact of the North East Link
The letter to The Eastsider (October Edition) explains the destructive effects of large roads (including the North East Link) on parklands, wild life, global warming, human health and the environment generally. See:
Bulleen Park and Ride Destroys Parkland
The first day at the Victorian Government’s “Green Roof” Park and Ride in Bulleen:
The State Government, in building the Bulleen Park and Ride facility (at a cost of $190,000 per car space), has destroyed parkland immediately west of Kampman Street at the intersection with Thompson’s Road in Bulleen. See: Green Roof Park and Ride in Bulleen not what it seems – Stop North East Link Alliance
The Victorian Government’s “Green Roof” Park and Ride is now revealed:
NELP’S Ghastly Desecration of the Natural World:
NELP closure of the Boroondara Tennis Centre threatens more open space