Report shows traffic congestion and its costs rising

Sydney tops the nation with cost to business seen as above $1 billion

Report shows traffic congestion and its costs rising
Congestion is costing business billions of dollars


Traffic congestion is increasing in almost all Australian state capitals, with Sydney settling in to a top-30 position globally, according to the TomTom Traffic Index Report.

Melbourne was next worst at 58, with Brisbane and Adelaide making it into the world top-100 at 96 and 100 respectively.

Only Perth failed to see its ‘congestion level’ rise, staying more or less level, with Sydney up 3 per cent, Melbourne 4 per cent, Brisbane 3 per cent and Adelaide 2 per cent

The report found traffic in Australia’s 10 busiest cities is increasing overall travel times by 28 per cent, up 3 per cent from 2016.

This is extending the time spent on the road by an average of 27 minutes per day across Australia’s major metros, costing those businesses an average of $8.20 per vehicle per day – a 14 per cent increase on last year.

The cost per vehicle was determined using the average cost per vehicle per day across Australia’s 10 busiest cities listed in the chart above – this was worked out per city by multiplying minimum wage ($18.29) by time lost sitting in traffic to produce lowest possible financial figure.

This could cost Australian businesses up to $3.54 billion in hours lost sitting in traffic per year, an increase of $469.87 million on last year. 

On figures revised due to an Australian Bureau of Statistics update of vehicle figures for 2015, TomTom estimates the cost to businesses in Sydney is $1.04 billion from $886 million last year, with Melbourne close behind at $902 million from $778 million, Brisbane $611 million from $534 million, Perth $433 million from $442 million and Adelaide $250 million from $186 million.

The costs to businesses were determined by taking total commercial vehicles per city and multiplying that figure by the extra travel time per year to produce the total hours lost by all commercial vehicles. This figure was then multiplied by the minimum wage to produce the lowest financial figure of wasted labour costs.

"Since 2008, on average, congestion has increased by 7 per cent, with the majority of cities seeing the biggest increases this year," TomTom Telematics ANZ strategic sales manager Christopher Chisman-Duffy says.

"This significant increase in congestion is bad news for businesses.

"Not only is it costing them financially in lost hours but it can also impact on service level agreements and the customer experience, as well as the health and safety of their drivers.

"There is a clear need for businesses to find ways to reduce the impact of congestion on their business and improve the efficiency of their fleets."

Australia’s Top 10 Most Congested Cities in 2016 (based on TomTom Telematics Cost of Congestion report and TomTom Traffic Index)


Australia’s Top 10 Most Congested Cities in 2015 adjusted with latest ABS figures & minimum wage* (based on TomTom Telematics Cost of Congestion report and TomTom Traffic Index)


The report also found Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, where travel times increased by 45 per cent on average, and Thursday evenings, where travel times increased by 44 per cent on average, to be the worst times to travel. 

"Navigation technologies, with live traffic, are one way for businesses to avoid congestion hotspots but this alone won’t solve all the problems," Chisman-Duffy says.

"Businesses need to take a more connected approach to managing their commercial vehicles to improve efficiency, productivity and service levels, as congestion continues to increase across the country.

"Telematics solutions are helping businesses do just that. Not only do they help navigate through traffic, but also enable managers to have greater visibility of their fleets.

"This provides opportunities to adjust strategies in real-time and use the best placed driver for each job.

"Additionally, it gives drivers the tools they need to make life on the road much easier.

"Digitalising the workflow, as well as improved data capture and connectivity, helps drivers complete more in the field and enriches the business process to provide customers with better service."

The full index report can be found here.


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