How light rail has impacted Gold Coast traffic
A stretch of road on the Gold Coast Highway is defying traffic trends across the city - and the State Transport Minister has one definitive answer as the reason why.
New State Government data shows 2800 fewer vehicles are using the Marble Arch section of the highway at Arundel/Helensvale each day, down from 46,812 in 2014.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the decrease was all down to the light rail link with heavy rail at Helensvale which opened in 2017.
Traffic on the Biggera Creek stretch of the Gold Coast Highway had dropped by 347 cars per day in the five years.
"That investment in public transport is already paying dividends, with traffic figures on the Gold Coast Highway in Helensvale down 2800 cars per day because a record 50 million trips plus have been taken on light rail to-date," Mr Bailey said.
Mr Bailey said traffic on Scarborough Street, Southport had dropped 47 per cent and pedestrian movement increased to Pacific Fair Shopping Centre by 180 per cent.
Mr Bailey predicted the traffic trend would flow to Burleigh when Stage 3 of the light rail from Broadbeach was complete.
Data shows 37,330 vehicles - up 5145 from 2014 - were travelling the Gold Coast Highway between Second and Third avenues.
However, Burleigh MP Michael Hart said light rail would not have the same positive impact on his electorate as it had in the north.
"Light rail may have taken some cars off the northern end, which is why I support getting light rail to the airport. If light rail goes down from Burleigh to Palm Beach there absolutely will be a cut in traffic, but that is only because it will cut traffic on the road down to a single lane," he said.
"Less cars being able to get through at once wouldn't mean less traffic, it would have an impact and ultimately add to the traffic."
Mr Hart said he believed the increase at Burleigh over the five-year period was due to continued road works on the M1 pushing traffic on to the Gold Coast Highway.
"I am not surprised by the numbers and the Gold Coast is growing. Public transport is only reducing traffic on the road by the number of people using public transport."
Originally published as How light rail has impacted Gold Coast traffic