Thursday, 26 November 2020

Is road-user charging for EVs a good idea?

Electric vehicles charging (via Joenomias)

Following South Australia's announcement a few weeks ago, Victoria has just announced that it will be the second state in Australia to introduce a road-user charge (RUC) for Electric Vehicles. The stated rationale is to replace fuel excise - EVs don't burn petrol, so this revenue source will disappear as we transition from Internal Combustion Engines (ICEs) to EVs. But critics say that this disincentivises EV ownership, and will slow down that transition. So is it a good idea or not? 

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Primer: Should you buy an electric car?

Electric vehicle and charger (via Walter Baxter)

Knowing my keen interests in transport and climate change, people sometimes ask me whether they should buy an electric car for environmental reasons. The short answer is "it depends", and the long answer is annoyingly complicated, so to help others who might be wondering the same thing (and to help illustrate a point I want to make in tomorrow's blog post) I thought I'd summarise the key points here. 

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Airport Rail and the Geelong Diversion

HCMTs will run to the Airport via the Metro 1 tunnel (via RPV)

The Age and the Herald Sun are reporting that the State and Federal governments have come to an agreement on the Airport Rail project. Let's take a look at what they've agreed to, and what it means for different groups.

Monday, 21 September 2020

The Squaresville algorithm: optimising Melbourne's buses

Diagram of the proposed layout (via Steve Pemberton)

Last week, RMIT Masters student Steve Pemberton released a paper on optimising Melbourne's bus network by changing from its current "tailor-made" network, where many buses meander through backstreets to ensure most of Melbourne has a one-seat journey to key destinations, to more of an "everywhere to everywhere" grid-based system, which prioritises speed and short waiting times over coverage, and was tested by a computer model. This is a great example of the tension that exists between patronage and coverage in public transport planning, and presents a good starting point for something that could actually be implemented in Melbourne, so let's take a look at it. 

Monday, 14 September 2020

Making eScooters succeed in Ballarat

Lime scooters in Brisbane (via Kgbo)
The City of Ballarat has recently adopted its Integrated Transport Plan, which aims to present a cohesive vision for the transport future of the city, looking at all the different modes together rather than just each one in isolation. There's a lot in there to digest, and I'll probably do a few posts focusing on different aspects of this, but I wanted to do a quick post on one of the things Council is advancing now - a trial of hirable eScooters. While I think it's safe to say that things like bus reform would be more important (and indeed one of the reasons Council is so keen to advance this is to provide for trips that the current bus network makes impractical) this is something Council can control quite directly, without the State government, and can probably roll out quite quickly - hence making it a priority.

Monday, 31 August 2020

Amsterdam Lelylaan: a model for level crossing removals

The current spate of level crossing removals means that more stations are being rebuilt around Melbourne than at any time in living memory. These stations, by virtue of the selection process, are generally adjacent to roads - and often those roads are major public transport corridors, whether for trams or buses. Perhaps because we've gone from zero to 100 so quickly, and therefore don't have a ton of station design experience in our local public service, some of these new stations haven't been ideal from an urban design perspective - in fact in some cases they are worse than the ground-level stations they're replacing. The Dutch, however, are very good at this, so I thought I'd go through a case study to see what lessons Melbourne can learn from it.

Monday, 17 August 2020

Re-trafficking Bridge Mall

So! The saga of the Bridge Mall continues. In my last post on the topic, I pointed out that there was a lot to like about the City of Ballarat's draft Bakery Hill and Bridge Mall Urban Renewal Plan, but that there was one very retrograde step proposed - reopening Bridge Mall to cars. Unfortunately they not only went ahead with this idea in the final plan, but have progressed it much faster than all the good stuff - they announced the designer in May, and have now narrowed the project down to three options which have been put out to consultation.