Transport Taskforce considers road to recovery
As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, many Victorians moved towards working from home. The Committee for Melbourne’s Transport Taskforce was our first Taskforce to meet virtually on 6 April 2020.
It was a timely and productive meeting, given the important role that infrastructure investment and transport planning will make on the road to Australia’s economic recovery.
Given the unique circumstances, we started by sharing our organisations’ responses to the coronavirus crisis.
Organisations were firstly (and importantly) focused on keeping their employees and clients safe. Most were considering their immediate responses to the crisis, whilst at the same time developing processes for planning ahead and evaluating what the economic and social environment might look like post-crisis. All members of the Taskforce highlighted that a multifaceted and nimble response is required.
The Committee’s Transport Taskforce then reviewed the final draft of its Integrated Transport report, which calls for the creation of an efficient and sustainable integrated transport system as part of a long-term, strategic blueprint for Melbourne.
The report was developed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, when the city’s population explosion, increasing trade volumes, and the growing number of domestic and international tourists (amongst other things), were all placing Melbourne’s transport system under immense strain. As the fastest growing major city in Australia, and one of the fastest growing cities in the world, there was, and continues to be, a growing urgency to establish a long-term blueprint to accommodate our growth.
The members of the taskforce highlighted that whilst there may be impacts to the levels of congestion and demands on the transport system arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, at least in the short-medium term, the pressures on the transport system will at some time be apparent in Melbourne again.
Additionally, the members of the Transport Taskforce highlighted that a pipeline of projects in transport infrastructure will be essential to deliver the economic stimulus and employment outcomes, required for economic recovery.
An integrated transport plan therefore is as important now, as it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Taskforce is committed to developing the dialogue and the leadership around transport planning for Melbourne. The Taskforce will be hosting a forum to discuss the future of transport this month and will launch its Integrated Transport Report following that forum.