Australian businesses losing about $3.54B per year due to traffic congestion

By on
Sydney Traffic
Morning rush hour traffic crawls along a freeway in western Sydney December 15, 2008. Reuters/Tim Wimborne

Traffic congestion in Australia takes commuters' time, and it steals money, too. It increases travel time by up to 28 percent, costing businesses about $3.54 billion annually.

GPS navigation firm TomTom Telematics’ 2016 Cost of Congestion report shows that travel times on Australia’s roads was up by 3 percent in 2015. That adds up to an extra $470 million.

The significant increase in congestion is not a good thing for businesses. Motorists in major cities spend an extra 27 minutes every day on the road. That costs businesses $8.20 per vehicle per day.

When it comes to traffic congestion, some cities are worse than others. Sydney was by far the worst, with travel times being extended by up to 39 percent. That is equivalent to 156 extra travel hours annually.

Sydney sits at the top 30 when it comes to traffic congestion globally. Melbourne follows at 58. Brisbane and Adelaide are settling in top 100 positions at 96 and 100, respectively. Roads are better in Perth as it did not see its “congestion level” rise.

Some days are better than the others. Tuesday and Wednesday mornings (local time) are the worst. According to the report, travel times on these days increased by 45 percent on average. Thursday evenings follow, where travel times are up by 44 percent.

TomTom Telematics spokesman Christopher Chisman-Duffy said the busiest times are the standard commuter times, which are 8 am to 9 am and 5 pm to 6 pm. He encouraged the public to avoid these times to travel if possible.

Congestion was up by 7 percent on average since 2008. The majority of cities see big increases this year as the population in Australia grows.

For Australian businesses, the problem with traffic does not only cost them financially. It can also affect service level agreements and customer experience.

Chisman-Duffy warned that traffic is getting worse. “It’s costing businesses more and more to their bottom line and it’s affecting all of us, including commuters,” reports him as saying. He believes the problem with traffic congestion will only get worse. He cited the Amazon’s arrival here as well as the surge in online delivery services that clog the roads as reasons the problem may get worse. He also mentioned about local infrastructure not being good enough and the growing population.

But Chisman-Duffy also believes there is a solution to the problem. He said that technology could help commuters steer the fastest route.

NBC News/YouTube