The Victorian Auditor-General, John Doyle, has found that VicRoads has not strategically planned the use of ICT Traffic Management Systems (TMS).
In a report, Using ICT to Improve Traffic Management, Doyle said “Although VicRoads has been efficient in its day-to-day operational deployment of ICT across the road network, this has not translated into fully effective use of ICT to manage traffic across the metropolitan road network.”
This is as a result of having poor strategic planning in regards to the use of TMS. “There is no clear strategy or plan to leverage the internationally recognised role and capability of ICT to improve journey outcomes,” he said.
The Audit notes that the economic cost of Melbourne’s traffic congestion is estimated to reach $2.6 billion by 2020, if nothing is done to rectify the problem.
It found that there are cost-effective tools available to VicRoads, however, they are not currently being used to their optimum capability. One example provided is public transport vehicle tracking systems which are “obsolete or absent.” This system is also not effectively interfaced with the road traffic signals system meaning “that tram and bus priority is reactive and is not always provided when required.” It is noted that, VicRoads is only likely to review traffic signals “once every 20 years.”
According to the Audit, VicRoads is “unable to provide assurance that it is maximising the effective use of its systems, or whether it has the ITS tools and assets it needs to better manage traffic in metropolitan Melbourne.”
The Auditor-General has recommended that VicRoads develop a work program to ensure that traffic signals are consistent with network operating plans and review its internal resource allocation. He also recommends that the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure, VicRoads and Public Transport Victoria develop a statewide strategic document on traffic management.