The $156 million traffic burden Queensland can’t afford

A new report by the State’s peak motoring body has revealed congestion on major south east Queensland roads cost businesses and the economy a whopping $156 million in lost time and productivity.
Cars in traffic jam

RACQ’s inaugural Cost of Congestion report analysed Department of Transport and Main Roads Bluetooth traffic data across 1,328 kilometres of major roads and calculated the cost of congestion* per vehicle per hour^ in loss of time and money.

RACQ Head of Public Policy Rebecca Michael said the Pacific Motorway from Gaza Road to Underwood Road at Eight Mile Plains was the worst drain on the economy in 2019 with an annual average cost of $1,060,187 per kilometre.

“This section was affected by roadworks during 2019, but the Pacific Motorway and Gateway Motorway merge upgrade is now complete and we should see congestion reduce and drivers better able to get to and from their destinations without delay,” Dr Michael said.

“Not far behind at just under $1 million was the section of the Pacific Motorway heading into Brisbane City, from O’Keefe Street to North Quay.  

“The report also reveals congestion on Gympie Road at Carseldine, Chermside and Kedron cost millions with drivers kept at a crawl at extremely congested intersections at Beams Road, Hamilton Road and Rode Road.

“These figures leave no doubt congestion is a significant burden on the Queensland economy and is affecting the south east’s ability to prosper.”

Dr Michael said the data showed October was the most expensive month for congestion in 2019, racking up just under $15 million worth of delays for the month, followed by August and March.

“As expected, weekdays between 7:30am and 8:30am and between 3pm and 6pm were the most expensive in terms of lost economic productivity due to peak hour congestion. In terms of days of the week, costs are greatest on a Friday, followed by Thursday,” she said.

“Ultimately, failure to address this gridlock now will lead to much higher costs in the future. If we don’t act, we’ll struggle to stymie the flow on effects of lost productivity.

“We need to see infrastructure upgrades to reduce delays and increase travel time reliability, and just as importantly, improvements to public and active transport networks and improved land use planning and transport integration.”


The 10 most costly and congested SEQ roads

Annual $/km

  1. Pacific Motorway – Gaza Road to Underwood Road


  1. Pacific Motorway – O’Keefe Street to North Quay


  1. Pacific Motorway – Days Road to Coomera River


  1. Gympie Road – Albany Creek Road to Beams Road


  1. Granard Road/Kessels Road – Estoril Street to Logan Road


  1. Gympie Road – Kedron Park Road to Rode Road


  1. Gympie Road – Rode Road to Hamilton Road


  1. Pacific Motorway – Reedy Creek Road to West Burleigh Road


  1. Cleveland-Redland Bay Road – Boundary Road to German Church Road


  1. Centenary Motorway – Moggill Road to Fig Tree Pocket Road


*Cost of congestion calculations used in the report represent ‘excessive congestion’ on the road network. Excessive congestion can be considered to occur at a speed less than 70 percent of the posted speed for motorways and at a speed less than 55 percent of the free flow speed for urban arterial roads.

^Per vehicle costs





Private travel


per vehicle (2019$)

Australian Transport and Assessment Planning (ATAP)

Business travel


per vehicle (2019$)


Business travel %


Of total LVs

Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW)

Aggregate LV (Ratio of Private & Business travel)


per vehicle (2019$)


Light Commercial Vehicle


per vehicle (2019$)


Heavy Commercial Vehicle


per vehicle (2019$)


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Things to note

The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.