Resources include community assets like clean air, quiet enjoyment and freedom from danger and urban blight.
INDEX OF SUBMISSIONS
|THIS INDEX LEADS TO ON-LINE DETAILS OF SUBMISSIONS, TALKS AND PAPERS PREPARED BY BALANCE RESEARCH OVER MANY YEARS.|
DIRECT LINKS TO SOME KEY SUBMISSIONS AND TALKS DOWN THE PAGE
RBF seeks to inform concerned persons and organisations that there are ways to reduce highway dependence. We need to look at kinds and volumes of traffic that use the highways now but which don't really need to do so.
RBF's outreach includes every level in the community: Government leaders and academics; industry leaders and front-line workers; persons and firms in rail and road related industries. The millions of travellers and shippers will be reached through school-based programs. Balance Research is not proposing any measure which will take away the right of an individual or company to use the highway system. We are more about making sure that travellers and shippers are aware of the full and true cost of the transportation they choose.
On current trends, even with expected jumps in fuel and road costs and with likely improved services being offered, the total passenger and goods traffic on road will still increase.
What seems to be missing, at all levels of the community, is the right attitude to cars and trucks. Developing the right attitudes will be the key to stemming this relentless growth in highway traffic.
Such a change in attitude can only occur over a generation or two, and it must start in school. There used to be widespread enthusiasm about railways but this has been eroded by years of cynicism and car-centred culture.
The RBF concept includes Metro Freight on Rail (see below), Integrated Storage and Transportation of Dangerous Goods (see below), substantial improvements to cross-metro passenger linkages, underpinned by `real economics', a way of studying the total cost to the community of road-related activities.
A full and successful implementation of RBF principles after a generation or two would lead to a far greater expansion of rail tasks than currently expected, with no growth in highway task.
The financial structure to make this happen will depend on recognition by governments that the costs of handling the next doubling of road traffic will be very great and they can be avoided. The resultant savings, direct and indirect, will need to be shared with the rail industry, whether government owned or privately owned. Otherwise, nothing will happen.
The road transport industry will be changed, gradually, as there will be less demand for long-distance hauls. Transport management will doubtless find ways to make money from the improved railway, and they will become involved in rail and intermodal.
Looking at the volumes and kinds of heavy vehicle movements in the Melbourne area, it seems that at least a third of the traffic is of a kind which could be handled satisfactorily by rail. This would usually involve intermodal transfer at a point near the origin: but the extra handling would be more than compensated by the reduced mileage on the highway.
To be effective in reducing highway demand, road-to-rail transfer stations would need to be located close to each industrial area: this could result in 30 to 50 such stations in a metropolis the size of Melbourne (around 3 million people).
This idea is not well received at present: there are a lot of objections to be answered. To improve the environment for the whole community, some areas would be burdened with controversial changes. And there is a lot of work to do in quantifying the savings in road-related costs (not all of which are cash) to justify the cost of the new rail facilities.
The goods, arriving at an import terminal, would be placed onto rail (in tanks or containers) as soon as practicable, and transported to a non-contentious site where they would be stored `on the ground' until required at a using plant.
[Similar logic would apply to exports.]
This would have the effect of reducing holdings at port locations, and removing dangerous goods traffic from the highway except for the last part of an intermodal journey where the using plant has no rail access.
The greatest part of the cost would be the investment in intermodal tanks. Proving the worth of this idea is a major task for Balance Research, because there is little recognition of the costs borne by the community in moving dangerous goods by road and in having large centrally located storages of such goods.
The title of the paper is "Changing Relativities Between Road and Rail".
Questions and Answers
The title of the paper is "Can Rail be the Solution to Road Traffic Growth?"
Balance Research asks Council to bear in mind the likely great increases in rail traffic and need for more platforms in decades to come.
Read our Volunteer Page for further info.
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