Addressing congestion must not slow freight: NatRoad

Clark tells inquiry urban congestion is mainly due to light vehicle movements

Addressing congestion must not slow freight: NatRoad
Warren Clark


The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) has told the New South Wales Review of Federal Financial Relations that attempts to ease urban congestion must still consider the efficient movement of freight.

In a submission to the its Supporting the Road to Recovery inquiry, NatRoad reinforces in the submission that urban congestion is largely the result of light vehicle movements and plans to deal with congestion should assist the movement of freight whilst discouraging commuter traffic.

Governments need to implement solutions involving land-use planning, transport planning, public transport investments and road infrastructure upgrades, NatRoad states.

"Australian cities are key centres of demand, supply and processing of freight, but are bottlenecks that suffer from congestion," CEO Warren Clark says.

"Land-use planning does not consider the movement of freight and imposes red tape on freight operations.

"During this pandemic, we should be concentrating on measures which cut that red tape.

"Any process or trial that is instituted to combat congestion should preference freight, with operations often occurring outside peak times, and discourage light vehicle use, especially during peak times. 

"The time is ripe for reinforcing the essential work that the freight industry does for the community."

Read Clark's opinion piece on efficient supply chains, here

Clark notes the current Covid-19 pandemic has underlined that governments should not impose unnecessary curfews and regulatory restrictions on heavy vehicle movements, which may result in increased heavy vehicle traffic over longer, less direct routes.

The restrictions are often an attempt to mitigate community concerns around the presence of heavy vehicles, which result from failing to integrate land use planning and heavy vehicle access, "a matter that any moves by governments towards road pricing for congestion must consider".

"NatRoad wants an efficient freight supply chain, which is able to operate 24 hours, seven days a week on an appropriately identified and maintained network.

"Requiring heavy vehicles to travel only during daylight hours or in certain specified time periods over less-than-optimal routes impedes productivity, increases operating costs and adds to road congestion, particularly along major routes to key ports or airports that are shared with light vehicles."

NatRoad also contends workplace reform is another essential component in reducing congestion.

"Part of the inflexibility associated with road use and freight deliveries arises from the workplace relations system, which is locked into a ‘normalised’ use of roads and start and finish times for workers.

"The pandemic has meant the governments are looking at introducing greater flexibility into the workplace relations system, a course of action NatRoad fully supports."


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