The Apps And Tech We Need To Cut Down On Traffic Jams

It can't come soon enough.

13/06/2016 3:40 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:53 PM AEST
Tim Wimborne / Reuters
Traffic in Sydney is terrible. Here's what we can do about it.

We hate to tell you but Australia's city traffic jams are going to get worse.

A new report by NRMA found congestion would cost NSW and the ACT alone $53 billion in avoidable costs per year by 2030.

The report, with assistance from Intel, predicted our morning traffic jam would be exacerbated by population growth, increased car ownership and an exodus from country to city.

Australia, on a whole, is also getting old, and the report found that between 2016 and 2031, the number of people living in NSW over the age of 65 would increase from 1.2 million to 1.8 million, making up 20 percent of the population.

Far from a tree change, these people want to live near services and hospitals -- i.e. in the city.

The report asks governments to take on new apps and tech to solve the jam issues. Here's what we need:

Pave the way for self-driving cars

NRMA Group chief executive Rohan Lund said autonomous cars were coming, and they would change everything.

Marcos Brindicci / Reuters
This is a prototype of an autonomous electric but get ready to see the real deal on the road soon.

"The step to full autonomy in vehicles will be gradual," Lund said.

"Moral panic will fade as we become more used to ceding more and more driving control, as we are today with cruise control and reverse parking."

Lund said clever cars would allow the elderly and those who couldn't drive to get around.

"The autonomous vehicle will change the way we get around forever; it will have a lasting and obvious impact on congestion, road safety and the mobility of those groups who have been restricted for so long."

He said governments needed to focus on creating the broadband network needed for smart cars and consider special lanes/roads for them.

Roads that talk

Technology exists today that allows a road to 'sense' where it is jammed, and convey that information to approaching drivers and systems.

Lund said governments needed to invest in data sensors on roads that could provide real-time data or look to places like Brazil, where the government aims to install tags on 90 million vehicles to allow controllers to watch and guide traffic flow.

Smartphone peer to peer parking

Unused car parks in private office blocks and residences aren't helping anyone, and the report supports the NSW Government's intention to commence trials to lease unused government parking spaces in government buildings via smart phone applications.

The report also urges government to consider parking guidance systems that let commuters know of available spots in a city or suburb.

Perks for electric vehicles

AFP/Getty Images
If you build charging stations for electric cars, they will come.

Amsterdam has the highest concentration of electric vehicles in the world to meet with demand, while in Australia, there were only 2000 electric vehicles in all of Australia in 2015.

To change that, the report suggests letting electric vehicles use bus lanes and "consider schemes to exempt electric vehicles from registration fees, or alternatively consider reducing registration fees for electric vehicles".

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