Peak Hour Driving Sucks, And Always Has

Feel like you’re moving really slowly when you head to work in the morning? Chances are you’re right. Figures on Sydney traffic speeds reveal the average speed of travel on major routes in the mornings is just 29 kilometres per hour — less than half the allowed speed limit.

Picture by State Records NSW

A report by the Auditor-General to the NSW Parliament outlines the travelling speed on seven major Sydney roads during the morning and afternoon peaks. Here’s the data:

There are two big lessons from these figures (and the principles would likely apply in other Australian cities as well):

  • Afternoon travel speeds are much faster. This is a well-recognised transport phenomenon: times for leaving work tend to be more staggered than the must-be-there-by-9am morning rush.
  • These speeds have sucked for a while. Though several of the surveyed routes have seen drops in overall speed between 2011 and 2010, the figures back in 2007 aren’t notably better.

So what can you do? Avoid travelling in the mornings if you can — once you hit the school-hours rush, there’ll be no help for it. Share your other transit tips in the comments.


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