Queensland Economic Advocacy Solutions

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Tainted for Life from Driving in Europe

Many readers will be aware that I recently spent a month travelling in Europe.  Over this period I logged 5,733 kilometres driving from Rome to Bergen in Norway and back down to Amsterdam.

This was a wonderful experience but has unfortunately left me tainted for life when it comes to driving. On many occasions I marvelled at how incredibly efficient the road network operates on this Continent.

In a former life and when campaigning for the Olympics I drove multiple times between Brisbane and Melbourne return.  I have also driven extensively up and down the Bruce Highway and in other parts of regional Queensland for work.  By no means am I expert but I have logged what I regard as a fair number of road kms.

Quite simply the contrast between European and Australian motoring behaviours could not be wider. Key observations from my recent experience included:

  • The overarching obligation to stay right unless overtaking;
  • Lorries forced to stay in the right hand lane and unable to overtake on key stretches of highway/autobarn and at certain times of the day;
  • Lorries speed limited to stay under 80 km an hour on highways; and
  • Both digital surveillance and police presence to enforce road rules.

What is paradoxical is that by slowing and restricting the road freight task it actually speeds up the overall movement of freight and passenger vehicles.  There is no longer the perpetual changing of lanes, the acceleration / deceleration or the inability to overtake slower vehicles.

In short the passenger and freight task works in Europe and it is has nothing to do with the actual roads. We saw some of these concepts introduced in SEQ when the Commonwealth Games was underway.  Surely there must be merit in extending this concept both into the future for the M1 and across the Bruce and for other major corridors in Queensland.

This is both a liveability issue and also an efficiency issue for our Country’s freight task. I have seen how it should work and then I have seen how it works in South East Queensland. …. hence I am tainted when driving.

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