Infrastructure Australia estimate future congestion cost of $8Bm by comparing peak speeds, drawn as PM: blue and AM: red, with off-peak speeds, drawn as OP: yellow. The real cost of slow trips compared with modestly slow podcars, drawn as POD: green, is a further $13B/year over and above their congestion estimate. On top of that, there are delays due to traffic incidents and road works, that are not measured.
Car trip times within the inner 10km radius of the CBD, are at 15kph and getting worse. A podcar speed of 60kph is 4 times faster.
Queues cause major delay and unreliability. Removal of all congestion, with conventional means, would at best raise car trip times within the inner 10km radius from 15kph to 30kph. Even green waves would not achieve 60kph because of 40kph zones and time to find parking. Trips at 60kph would double the speed of any “no congestion” proposals, and those who ask for even higher speeds are being unreasonable until CO2 levels have been reduced. Trips beyond the 10km radius are faster, but still too slow.
Flying over the top of all obstacles, like “the Jetsons”, hung from a guide-way, in a cost-efficient vehicle, not high energy flying, has been proven to be feasible at an average speed of 60kph. It creates revenue, so there is no funding requirement, and speeds are expected to be increased in future.
Requirements to reduce car traffic are described under safety. To meet desirable trip time: speed must average 60kph, four times faster than cars. Direct routes, avoidance of serial queues, and absence of capacity restrictions are required. This means two-way travel; direct access to stops; grade separation; direct connections at interchanges; stops off-line and turns off-line. Directional capacities must be 3,600 vehicles per hour.
Podcars have slightly lower capacities than trains and freeways, but are better able to deliver traffic down more routes, and closer to destinations, since they are 20 times cheaper, and satisfy amenity. Redundant routes make provision for maintenance and are more reliable. Reducing car traffic would also remove congestion. While higher speeds are achievable, they introduce more complex issues, and a staged approach is prudent. One obvious future development is to provide a higher speed “arterial” function, and another is to permit platoons for capacity. Platoon vehicles at 1m spacing also have 4 times less drag for follower vehicles.