Please note that the Science Party identifies transportation as a priority area for further research investment, to identify the most efficient ways to move people from one place to another.
1. Driverless Cars
1.1. Policy: Legalise driverless cars in Australia.
1.2. Discussion: Driverless cars have the potential to reduce collisions and hence cut road related injury and mortality. They should therefore be legalised in Australia as part of a testing program, with aims to introduce driverless cars as regular items on the road as soon as is practical and safe. Automated shuttle buses are already in operation and expanding in coverage. These early trials have the potential to gather valuable data to improve the reliability and safety of driverless vehicles.
Driverless cars can also drive more efficiently, find quicker routes, prevent intoxicated driving, increase the mobility of people who cannot drive, and allow the person who who would otherwise be driving to use the travel time for work tasks or recreation. The introduction of driverless cars will herald a new era of car sharing. One car can be shared by multiple people, picking up one person at 8am and dropping them off at 8:15. Rather than standing idle for 8 hours a driverless car could then travel to another suburb by itself to pick someone else up at 8:30. Driverless cars can help make individual transportation faster and easier, all while reducing waste and increasing utilisation of existing infrastructure.
2. High Speed Rail
2.1. Policy: Creation of a high-speed rail-link running from Brisbane to Sydney to Canberra to Melbourne.
2.2. Discussion: The creation of the high speed rail-link will occur in several stages, as distance and population size will determine feasibility. Current demand suggests that construction will initially be built from Sydney to Newcastle, then from Sydney to Canberra, then from Canberra to Melbourne, then from Newcastle to Brisbane. Importantly, this system will be designed such that no change in trains is necessary between these five cities, and travellers will be delivered directly to the centre of the city, which will minimise travel times.
The priority with regards to this policy is to secure the transport corridor. The most appropriate technology at the time of construction should be used.
3. Optimise Existing Transport Infrastructure
3.1. Policy: Optimise existing transportation infrastructure to decrease travel/transport times, by targeted expenditure to reduce bottlenecks and hence increase capacity.
3.2. Discussion: The Science Party believes that optimising the transportation system is critical to improving efficiency in the economy. The easier and quicker it is for goods and workers to move around, the more agile the economy is to change. For example, a local layoff is less likely to affect workers severely if alternate work is within commutable distance. Faster transportation also means less time spent driving, and therefore more time enjoying life outside of work. The current commute time in Sydney averages 35 minutes each way (NSW and Sydney Transport Facts; PDF, 130 KB via NSW Bureau of Transport Statistics). By reducing travel time by 30%, Sydneysiders who work 5 days a week would gain approximately 84 additional hours per year in leisure time. Based on 16 hours of awake time per day, this equivalent to more than 5 days of leave every year.
4. Additional Rail in Cities
4.1. Policy: The Science Party also supports the creation additional train lines through suburban areas currently devoid of any train stations. Extension of current cities into new areas should be accompanied by sufficient public transport infrastructure.
4.2. Discussion: Currently, suburban development on city fringes rely almost solely on buses that may need to travel up to 40 mins to the nearest rail line. This situation is unacceptable, as such systems actively discourage public transport use and cause increases in car congestion in the rest of the city.
Train lines give an assurance as to the ongoing provision of public transportation services to an area, allowing local services and town centres to build up around them.
While suburban public transport is a state government responsibility, we strongly support improvement of public transport infrastructure in populated areas.