‘Help LG to expand Melbourne’s active transport options’

Local government should be supported to increase active transport options to help bolster Melbourne’s recovery from Covid-19, the state’s infrastructure adviser says.

With the pandemic having led to more congested roads and crowded public transport in the city, Infrastructure Victoria says the state government is having to grapple with competing objectives such as transmission risk, congestion, and stimulating greater economic activity.

In a new policy options paper, IV says active transport uptake and flexible work arrangements would each make a significant contribution to addressing these challenges.

“Active transport has the capacity to take the pressure off roads and incentivise sustained mode shift, particularly in inner Melbourne,” the report says.

“City of Melbourne-commissioned research also shows increasing walking connectivity by just 10 percent would increase the value of the city centre economy by $2.1 billion a year, given the face-to-face connections fundamental to the retail and knowledge economies.”

To better manage demand across all aspects of the city’s transport network, the report also suggests the state government consider promoting flexible working hours and greater workplace flexibility using the Public Service as an exemplar.

“Proactive intervention will ensure that Melbourne recovers with improved, safer and more efficient travel behaviours, which will support and sustain economic recovery and benefit all Victorians,” the report says.