Parliament looks into Hobart traffic congestion

Is Hobart sufferring traffic congestion? That’s what the Tasmanian Parliament’s Legislative Council will attempt to determine in a new inquiry that’s calling for submissions before 27 September.

The inquiry’s terms of reference are:

(1) the scope of Greater Hobart’s traffic congestion and its impact on the community and economy
(2) causes of congestion, including physical and topographical barriers
(3) strategic planning processes between Commonwealth, State and Local governments
(4) future initiatives to address traffic congestion in the Greater Hobart area
(5) any other matters incidental thereto.

While people in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne may scoff at the idea of Hobart traffic jams, the data shows a steady increase in the number of vehicles on the road over the past 30 years. 

Traffic congestion doesn’t generally bother transport bike riders, but it is worthwhile engaging with the inquiry as one of the obvious ways to get people out of cars is to build comfortable, low-stress cycleways.

Bigger Australian cities have and are going down the path of building quality cycling corridors to combat traffic congestion.

Infrastructure Australia has included a plan to build 284km of cycleways in Sydney in its priority list because of its potential to reduce traffic congestion by between 20,000 and 50,000 motor vehicle trips a day within 10 km of the city centre. 

And in European countries that have good cycling infrastructure, such as The Netherlands, Denmark and Germany, cargo bikes and electric bikes are getting more people out of cars again.

The university’s current and future city campuses and accommodation are a useful catalyst to getting cycleways built in Hobart as the staff and students won’t have the parking options that exist at the Sandy Bay campus.

What’s already happening

Several reports and background papers have come out in the past ten years about Hobart’s transport situation and what could change to improve rates of walking, riding and public transport.

The Legislative Councillor who moved for the inquiry, Robert Armstrong, expressed frustration in the parliament about plans and ideas not resulting in action.

As the Canadian urban planner Brent Toderian has so aptly put it: "The truth about a city's aspirations isn't found in its vision. It's found in its budget".

What could governments do to to get more people riding?
  1. Create a standing cycling infrastructure fund for state and local roads.
  2. Plan and build a network of all abilities cycling corridors into and through the city.
  3. Fund research that maps parking availability, through-traffic levels and shopper transport choices to build the case for separated cycleways.
  4. Sequence traffic signals on designated routes to give priority to people walking and riding and public transport.
  5. Change planning laws so end-of-trip facilities and secure bike parking are included in all new buildings.
  6. Provide secure public bike parking and end-of-trip facilities in the city centre and satellite shopping hubs.
  7. Fix the Tasman Bridge to make it more comfortable for people riding.
  8. Provide incentives and support to workplaces to get more staff riding – e.g. bike fleets, e-bike leasing, e-bike subsidies, salary sacrificing.
  9. Integrate bike riding with public transport with secure bike-and-ride parking at bus hubs and retrofitting buses with exterior and/or interior racks for bicycles and ensure future public ferries are designed for easy ingress and egress of bicycles.
  10. Fund behaviour change programs like Ride2School and Ride2Work, and adult riding classes.
  11. Provide signage, wayfinding and maps to make it easier to ride.
Make a submission

The Legislative Council inquiry is accepting submissions until Friday 27 September. 

Your submission can be as long or short as you want and address all or just one of the terms of reference. 

Email your submission to, or post it to : The Secretary, Legislative Council Select Committee Greater Hobart Traffic Congestion, Legislative Council, Parliament House, HOBART 7000

To keep up to date with submissions, hearings and reports check the inquiry's webpage.