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Daily commute getting worse

Article PhotoA survey of 16,000 people from suburbs in NSW revealed that 34 per cent feel their daily commute is the worst it has been in four years.

The survey was conducted by the National Road and Motorists' Association (NRMA) as part of its Congestion Busting Plan.

The results of the survey were based on the responses of commuters in 26 NSW electorates. In five of the electortes surveyed, more than 40 per cent of respondents said their journey had become progressively worse since 2011.

This comes at a time when navigation and mapping product manufacturer Tom Tom International's traffic index has revealed that Sydney has the worst traffic congestion in Australia, and the city takes 17th place for the most congested roads in the world.

Figures released by NSW government suggest that traffic congestion costs the state nearly $8.8 billion a year.

What is the Congestion Busting Plan?

The NRMA has devised a plan that proposes to create a $150 million fund dedicated to improving congestion issues in NSW.

The association says that in order to alleviate the traffic problem in NSW, the government needs to be proactive in presenting creative solutions to commuters.

According to Kyle Loades, president of the NRMA, councils are responsible for managing almost all of NSW roads, hence it is imperative that they get all the support they need in dealing with congestion issues.

This is not the first time the association has called upon the state government to review the worsening traffic situation. In 2013, the NRMA launched the Demand Better Roads campaign.

The NRMA's 8-point plan

The NRMA's proposed strategy is summarised as follows:

1. The road layout

Roads can be made more efficient with simple strategies such as widening a part of the road, adding roundabouts where necessary and introducing separate turning lanes.

2. Using technology

Providing drivers with real time information on parking availability and locations will save time for. This will also prevent motorists from continuing to look for a parking spot in busy areas.

3. Information

Local councils, Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and public transport operators have a plethora of valuable data, which can be used improve congestion in NSW. However, these bodies have limited opportunities to share this information. The government could look at making this process simpler and easier.

4. Clarity of road signs

There is a lack of clear signage to indicate parking facilities. This is particularly an issue in the Sydney CBD, where drivers slow down as they try to work out where the parking is. The NRMA suggests more use of roadside parking that has the potential to ease congestion but is not being used to its full capacity.

5. Review traffic issues created by school runs

Peak hour traffic congestion is worsened by the school run. A solution to manage this issue is to encourage school-goers to use public transport on busy routes. Also, providing drop off points for parents would be of help.

6. Extend "clearways" strategy

Weekend traffic volumes are rising and are now comparable to weekdays. Congestion will reduce significantly if the clearway policy is extended to weekend hours, particularly between 11 am and 5:30 pm.

7. Support for emergency services

Emergency services and accident responders should be allowed to use bus lanes to get to the scene. The latest data suggests that the time it takes to clear an unplanned accident has improved since last year, but only by two and a half minutes.

8. Transit lanes

Better road markings and signage are needed on transit lanes so that motorists are aware of them.

The NRMA acknowledges that the use of public transport is a better option compared to driving. Nonetheless, it remains a fact that for a vast number of people, especially those in Sydney's outer suburbs, using a car is the most effective means of travel.

Drivers on NSW roads must always make sure their CTP green slip and registration are current. If you are looking for green slip prices, go to the green slip calculator on this website.