Responding to COVID across all forms of transport – DOT

Presentation to MTF 1 July 2020
Brett Langley
A/Head of Transport Services, Department of Transport


Brett Langley presented on the wide-ranging impacts of the COVID 19 transport network, which he described as being part of a pervasive emergency context since the start of 2020.

He commented on the department’s response, its work with the Department of Health, its continuing monitoring of patronage and staff wellbeing, and also what strategic actions it is considering providing greater flexibility for the system into the future.

Topics included

Restrictions saw a 90 per cent drop in public transport patronage
Restrictions also caused a 40 per cent drop in traffic
Traffic volumes have returned to ~85% as restrictions have eased
Movement of freight remains a priority
Changing travel patterns on arterial road network
PT patronage has climbed back to ~ 30 per cent
Drive Easy COVID-19 Congestion Management Interventions
Challenges & opportunities for 2021 and beyond

See Brett’s presentation

More cycling could be COVID’s positive legacy

Cr Melican is a Banyule councillor and the Metropolitan Transport Forum’s cycling ambassador. Image: Herald Sun

As Melbourne’s cycling ambassador, Cr Tom Melican is organising councils across town to look at ways to make cycling a more realistic alternative for more people.

The shock arrival of COVID-19 and the enduring restrictions on social distancing are set to profoundly change the way Melbourne moves.

Already many Melbournians have taken to cycling during the restrictions. They have marvelled at their city with fewer cars on the road and revelled in the opportunity to be more active in a safer, less polluted world. Strange and uncertain times indeed, but could this be a real chance to recognise the lasting role that cycling can play in a healthy city?

While nobody is sure what the future holds, we can be confident that safe social distancing will severely limit the capacity of public transport while greater reliance on private cars will only lead to hellish gridlock. It’s a predicament that’s not likely to go away quickly.

Local governments have already adjusted activities to meet the COVID situation. Now most councils are looking at the serious implications for mobility within their municipalities and city-wide.

What will be the impact of social distancing on public transport capacity and usage? What are the implications of more people working from home more often? How can we encourage active transport for everyday mobility needs? How will footpaths cope with more outside dining, walking and riding? Can already congested roads cope with even more cars?

Overseas, and indeed in the Melbourne CBD, local authorities are acting swiftly to provide alternatives to unsafely crowded public transport. There is a growing lobby calling for wide-spread and immediate pop-up cycling infrastructure in response to reduced capacity of public transport. In local government, Melbourne City Council is leading the charge with funding to replace some car parking with footpaths and 12 kilometres of pop-up cycling lanes to allow people to socially distance in the CBD.

A plethora of other organisations are also backing moves to more active transport. Obvious lobbies like the Bicycle Network are keen, so too are Infrastructure Victoria, Infrastructure Australia, mental health organisations and also the RACV.

Councils across Melbourne are now assessing ideas to keep people moving for work, education and day-to-day activities. They will be looking at pop-up cycle lanes, wider footpaths and quick ways to make active transport more attractive. Some of these ideas will be temporary, others more enduring.

Asking a rhetorical question might help guide this shift. What could be the legacy of COVID for Melbourne’s mobility? Could it be a sustained lift in active transport?

As cycling ambassador, I am hoping that these difficult times will be remembered for the actions we took to reinstate cycling and walking as safe, fun and healthy transport alternatives for more Melbournians.

Cr Melican is a Banyule councillor and the Metropolitan Transport Forum’s cycling ambassador.

MTF Highlights May 20

Jane Waldock to become Executive Officer

Jane Waldock will commence as MTF EO from 1 July, until then she is working handover with retiring EO Susie Strain.

The MTF voted to endorse an executive recommendation to appoint Jane Waldock as Executive Officer for an initial period from 01 July 2020 until the Annual General Meeting in 2021.

The current Executive Officer Susie Strain is set to retire on 30 June after serving the MTF for more than 15 years.

Jane comes highly recommended by her peers and has a close and ongoing relationship with the MTF, having represented Yarra City Council on the MTF for many years.

She is a qualified civil engineer, and has worked in construction, contracting, local and state government and consulting sectors. Jane has worked for over 15 years in local government, most recently at the City of Yarra, where she was a member of the Executive Team, as well as managing the Sustainability and Strategic Transport branch.

Zoom Cycle workshop – Urban Bicycle Parking Insights

Facilitated by Harry Barber from Phillip Boyle and Associates, the May participants heard from several councils who had delivered improved bicycle parking, including:
Kate Simnett, Active Transport Planner, Maribyrnong PDF
Simon Stainsby, Sustainable Transport Officer, Moreland PDF
Julian Wearne, Transport Planning Officer, Yarra PDF
Anthea Hargreaves, General Manager, Public Affairs & Marketing Parkiteer, Bicycle Network. PDF

Break out groups also discussed improving parking at schools & shops, and at outer suburban railway stations.

Ministers response on buses

The MTF has received a very detailed response from Minister Horne in reply to our submission for additional bus funding in the next state budget. The letter acknowledges the DOT commitment to increasing bus patronage by 70% over ten years.

The letter also acknowledges the historical shortcomings of buses and outlines the government’s program of network improvements planned for the medium to short term.

Copies of the full letter are available to MTF members on request to Greg Day

MTF ABC notes April 20

April media note worthies

Amids the saturation coverage of the COVID-19 response, the implications for transport and major infrastructure projects were widely canvased.

Two government messages emerged. First, that the State was committed to proceeding with the Big Build items, especially as they are job creators. But doubts started to arise about the timelines, given labour and supply concerns. Second was the importance of rapid take up job creation projects. It was not lost on cycling advocates that the long list of unfunded projects in the cycling plan could fit the bill very nicely.

Commentators mused over the long term impact on patronage, cycling, working habits and commerce. There’s no doubt that COVID-19 will be a line in the sand.

April media note worthies

What do we want life in Melbourne to look like on the other side?
By Nicholas Reece
The Sunday Age 26 April 20

The road to recovery: Are Victoria’s mega-projects still worth it?
By Clay Lucas and Timna Jacks
The Age 25 April 20

Calls to rethink Victoria’s most expensive road project during pandemic
By Timna Jacks and Clay Lucas
The Age April 17, 2020

Crisis talks as Melbourne’s train, tram passenger numbers slump by 90%
By Timna Jacks
The Age 27 March 20

First Victoria-built electric bus gets thumbs up from bus expert
Renew Economy 28 April
Background: Transdev have purchased 1 electric bus for 12 month trial. We make 88 return trips per day on route 246 with around 25-30 buses travelling this route each day (numbers vary according to timetable and fleet). The electric bus trial on Route 246 between Queens Parade in Clifton Hill and Elsternwick Railway Station/Horne St (Elsternwick) between 5.45am to 11.30pm weekdays. Route 246 operates a high frequency service with buses every 10 minutes and was selected for the trial as the trial route needs to be repeatable with buses following each other in closely timed proximity for comparison between the performance of existing late model Euro 5 and Euro 6 emission standard diesel buses and the new electric bus.

In terms of passenger comfort, the bus has a low floor, is quieter and is equipped with passenger USB ports.

Melbourne in a post-pandemic world: how the virus could transform the city
By Jewel Topsfield, The Age 3 May
It’s early days but urban planners are already pondering the marks that will be left by COVID-19.

NTC innovative vehicles

Barriers to safe and legal use of innovative vehicles
MTF April 2020

Mandi Mees, National Transport Commission, presented a review of Personal Mobility Devices (PMD) and possible national approaches to the April meeting.

Mandi Mees, Executive Leader Safety, National Transport Commission (NTC), discussed the ongoing review of the Australia Road Rules (ARRS) with respect to motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters (MMDs) and personal mobility devices (PMDs).

Mandi is also Deputy Mayor of Macedon Shire and well acquainted with the local government perspective.

Mandi provided some background to the National Transport Commission, established in 2003 to lead national land transport reform across the Australian governments to improve safety, productivity, environmental outcomes and regulatory efficiency. The NTC is accountable to the Transport and Infrastructure Council, and seeks to align land transport practice across state jurisdictions, including local councils. Local government is invited to submit or otherwise engage with the NTC on current and relevant issues. NTC will develop model Australian Road Rules, it is voluntary for individual states to adopt.

The NTC intends to establish a national vehicle regulatory framework for Australia by 2021. This includes driverless buses.

The NTC review has included international experience, and Mandi showed a wide range of emerging mobility options of the MMD and PMD type. Examples were given of several North American cities also grappling with the legality and safety of a variety of devices.

Key points

PMDs growing in popularity: demand for comprehensive ecosystem of transport alternatives. Use is illegal in many jurisdictions.

Australia Road Rules are outdated and predate newer PMD technology.

Recognise motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters as separate category. As such all motorised mobility device operators are treated as pedestrians.

Jurisdictions under pressure to regulate PMDs –no national consistency.
> Research to inform best practice regulation is limited, but beginning to emerge.
> Lack of national consistency could create confusion for industry/community.
> Limited understanding of the safety risks associated with use of devices.

The National Transport Commission on PMD and MMD seeks to join the dots from leisure/recreational to disability devices to extend freedom of mobility for everyone in a safe environment.

Following the issue papers and active consultation, the NTC will report to the Transport and Infrasturcture Council which will consider MMD in June 2020 and PMD in November2020.

Chair Cr Jonathon Marsden thanked Mandi for her presentation and discussion, and it was agreed to keep in touch with the ongoing review, and the work of the National Transport Commission, and invite Mandi again at a future date.

Link to presentation slides
.

MTF’s ABC notes February 20

Selected news related to the Metropolitan Transport Forum’s ABCs (Active, Buses & Choices)

ACTIVE
Melbourne Cycle Super Highways added to the Infrastructure Australia Priority List.

Proposed by RACV, IA noted that the bicycle network is not currently meeting community needs and expectations of a safer, lower-stress and better-connected network. The next stage is for the RACV to identify initiatives and develop options

Infrastructure Australia Priority List: Cycling access to Melbourne CBD (see page 135)   | RACV comment

BUSES / CHOICES
Frankston public transport connectivity added to IA priority list

Proposed by the Committee for Greater Frankston, IA notes that public transport is not keeping up with population growth.

The initiative is for public transport connectivity improvements to, and through, Frankston. These could include optimising the existing bus network, increasing bus service frequency and coverage, plus upgrades to rail services and infrastructure.

Infrastructure Australia: Frankston public transport connectivity(page 139) |C4GF media

CHOICES
Inquiry into Expanding Melbourne’s Free Tram Zone

The reporting date for this inquiry has been extended to 1 September 2020. The close of public submissions on 31 January prompted a flurry of coverage. PTUA says scrap it, Sally Capp (in a private capacity) says extend it. Basically, it’s a two-way split, PT advocates generally against, business / tourism / education in favour. Expect more in this Council election year.

PTUA submission  | Ms Capp | Weblink for committee

BUSES
Boris promises £5b for buses

The UK will spend an extra £5b for London Style buses alongside their massive £100b high speed rail linking northern England to London.

The £5bn over five years would result in more frequent services, including on Sundays, a simpler fare structure, and new priority schemes to allow buses to skirt traffic jams.

Outside London, UK buses are notoriously infrequent and unreliable, and subject to savage cuts since Thatcher.

Guardian UK: Boris Johnson bets on HS2 to deliver new spine of UK transport
WIRED: Forget the HS2 hype, buses are Boris Johnson’s real masterstroke

Happy to receive items for inclusion gday@edunity.com.au

Port Phillip welcomes you

Divercity 102
March April 2020

Divercity celebrates the many ways that our community welcomes newcomers to our glorious city by the bay.

We look at how Port Phillip’s Australia Day included both a homage our first nations people and a heartfelt welcome to people receiving the Australian citizenship from 42 different countries.

We also drop into a first-time parents group to see how our newest citizens and their carers are progressing. We look too at the great range of clubs, both social and sporting, that welcome new participants – crocket anyone, or will it be cricket? Plus we give a shout out to the volunteer Waterfront Welcomers that greet cruise ship passengers and crew as they disembark at Station Pier.

Add to this, four pages of events, many free or low cost, that invite you to join in the fun, education and entertainment that locals love. So much to do, so little time.

There’s also information about ways the Port Phillip people are reaching out to those affected by the bushfires in East Gippsland and North East Victoria.

Read the latest Divercity

A world of people to meet

Council now as an advisory committee on multicultural issues with a world of experience. Packed with familiar and new faces, the committee will help council make Port Phillip a more welcoming place for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
There’s also a call out from the South Melbourne Life Saving Club for more people to get involved and help them make the most of their beautiful and practical new facilities.
With climate a hot topic, its good to know that more trees will help keep us cool. Meet senior arborist Greg Mitchell who is part of a team adding over 1000 new trees every year to our streets and parks.
To prove that time does fly, its forty years since the first St Kilda Festival attracted 30,000 locals in 1982. We reconnect with MaryLou Jelbart, former St Kilda Councillor who helped start the event back in the day.
Homework has never been more fun than at the Homies Homework Club at Emerald Hill Library in South Melbourne. Meeting weekly just across from the famous Australian National Music Academy, the club attracted volunteer musicians from the academy who then introduced the Homies to an orchestra. Now that’s not your average homework.
Plus four pages of summer time events; festive, foreshore and community.
Readers also get a chance to say what they think about Council communications. Go for it!

Read Divercity 101 now

Divercity scores a century

Welcome to the 100th edition of Divercity. With longer days (and hopefully warmer weather), we’ll all have more time to enjoy the great outdoors.

Paint in the Park at Gasworks is a three-hour out paint outdoor ‘competition’ over two weekends. It’s all about participation and inspiration, but there’s also remuneration with big cash prizes.

Also outdoors is a festival of everyday bike riding, the aptly named Tour de Moray (celebrating the spanking new bike track along Moray Street). There will be loads of fun, a scavenger hunt, pop-up attractions and free bike tune ups – you’ll be dinging your bells in delight.

Get down to Fitzroy Street for Luminous, a pop-up art attraction with visuals by five creative outfits. Marvel at the works of PluginHUMAN, Tom Gerrard, John Fish, filmmakers Nick Kozakis and Carl Allison, and recycled nylon sculpture by Elizabeth West. It will be Fitzluminous.

There’s also highlights from the local Senior’s Festival that will inspire swinging, singing and giggling.

Oh, and we look at Divercity covers over the years since we first started in 2001.

Enjoy. And thanks for participating.

Read Divercity 100 now

Share our CBD open plan office / writers’ room


Flinders Lane (between King and Spenser)
Share 150 sqm
Quality furnished open plan
Suit up to 4 people (making a total of 8 people in the space)
$1650 pcm plus GST, two months minimum / Two months bond
Single desks from $500 pcm plus GST

Contact Greg 03 8330 1931 gday@edunity.com.au

Looking for a walk in and start working office (suitable for up to 4 people) in the CBD? You’ll have exclusive access to 4 fully furnished workstations with high speed Wi-Fi in a spacious open plan office with four others.

The office has a casual professional look with a shared conference table, shared kitchen and access to networked printers and phones.

Fully accessible building with classy fit-out occupied by owner manager.

Looking for stable arrangement with trusted outfit. Must have positive professional outlook and ethical business.

Two months bond plus rent paid in advance monthly – minimum of two months term

References required.

$1650 pcm plus GST / $500 per desk pcm plus GST
Includes internet, power and cleaning (fortnightly)
Plus share of telecom
Plus cost of consumables