Better infrastructure needed to prevent post coronavirus gridlock

RACQ has called for infrastructure improvements to prevent congestion worsening post COVID-19, after reports the pandemic could change the way people commute forever.

Redlands Community News reported a Griffith University professor had said Brisbane could see a drop in traffic over the long term if workers moved to work from home permanently and more people embraced active transport.

RACQ Head of Public Policy Rebecca Michael said while more people may choose to work from home, infrastructure upgrades were still needed to improve capacity, offer alternatives and relieve congestion.

“We’re already seeing traffic on major roads back at almost pre-COVID levels, so at least in the short term, commuters won’t notice much improvement in congestion levels,” Dr Michael said.

“To ensure congestion doesn’t continue to get worse, we need to invest properly in our infrastructure network, including public transport, walking and cycling paths.

“We don’t want to see workers permanently switch to their vehicles for the daily commute, so there needs to be a fast, reliable transport network for people to comfortably transition back to work.”

Dr Michael said predicting where overall traffic volumes and congestion would end up in the long term was difficult, and commuters should consider alternative transport modes such as public transport, walking or cycling.

“Staggering start and finish times and working from home can also assist in avoiding peak congestion times or may mean you don’t need to make a trip at all,” she said.

“With low numbers of active cases and community transmission, experts have advised that catching public transport is safe if travellers adhere to the directions in Translink’s COVID-safe public transport plan. Remember to maintain social distancing, clean your hands, stay home if you’re unwell, and use a mask or face covering if you’d prefer.”