12 May, 2009

Another Letter to Campbell Newman

Campbell Newman
Lord Mayor
Brisbane City Council

Dear Lord Mayor,

I am frustrated by both the State and Brisbane City Council using reductions in GHG emissions as an excuse to build more politically popular infrastructure for motor vehicles (such as the Northern Link Tunnel).

The more roads one builds, the more lanes one adds, the more congestion one busts, the more it encourages people to drive.

From BBC's annual report:

In partnership with the Queensland Government, Council is developing a common,
intelligent, integrated road network management system to improve the coordination of the city’s 7000 kilometre road network. A pilot of the traffic signals component of the project was conducted at Indooroopilly in 2008 and demonstrated how traffic can be streamlined by synchronising traffic signals on both Council and Queensland Government-owned roads. The Indooroopilly pilot demonstrated a saving of approximately 3800 tonnes in carbon emissions per year through the reduction of travel time.

Did one take into account all the additional trips that will be made when traffic flows more freely? Does one take into account the return of congestion once equilibrium is established at a higher traffic volume?

My expertise is in water, sanitation and carbon accounting not traffic engineering. However I see a lot of parallels between the problems we are encountering on SEQ roads and the problems I have encountered in sewers. The congestion of sewers is often caused by consumer behaviour. People put things down the sewer that do not belong there (like dead pets and sump oil). The distinction between sewage and traffic is when one builds a new sewer it does not encourage people to poo more.

Is there a more robust means of GHG emissions accounting to counter the circular arguments presented to justify more "congestion busting" roads?


Rowan Barber

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