With 10-year rainfall highs in Sydney to start the month of April, record commuting delays have again been triggered as active commuters ditch the bike or running shoes to join cautious motorists on our congested wet roads.
Empirically, according to the RTA, the commuting speed in Sydney averages around 30kph. However, this includes major toll roads such as the M2 and M5 that skew this average higher with 40kph and 35kph averages respectively; A premium to travel 5 to 10kph quicker.
A more recent study by the University of Sydney concludes an average speed during peak hour travel in Sydney of 26kph. In either case, if these are the average travel speeds, how much slower do we travel when it rains? Without the ability to split RTA or USyd data by wet and dry days, we can only comment anecdotally. For example, the wet start to April meant commute times to the Stancombe office in Paddington by car of 1.5hrs+ from Vaucluse, a similar duration from Seaforth on the north side, and 1hr+ from Randwick - that's more than double the normal commute times.
While we can reasonably expect that both travel speeds decrease and travel times increase when it rains, there are some more shocking statistics about our commuting habits and consequential impacts.
This topic provides us with the opportunity to spruik a brilliant University of Sydney documentary aired on the ABC in October last year (2012).
Two key statistics are:
- 80% of workers commute by car!
- Traffic jams cost Australia 13 Billion per year!
Check out the following data visualisation from episode 3 of the documentary Great Southern Land – Episode 3 (University of Sydney - 2012)
- it's a real eye opener.