Stop-go ground troops who are busting Noosa traffic jams
The humble fluoro-jacketed stop-go traffic controllers have emerged as the unsung congestion-busting heroes of the latest Go Noosa peak traffic period last Christmas helping ease entry to Hastings St.
A Noosa Council evaluation of a range of initiatives associated with its free bus service show the traffic controllers along the notorious Noosa Pde traffic snarl zone reduced congestion by up to 40 per cent in just two years of operation.
“Observational and survey data highlighted that there was not significant queuing along Noosa Pde as had been experienced in previous years,” the review said.
The council latest Go Noosa review said in 2018 with no traffic controllers on duty the average length of congestion was 820m, with queues of 500m and 510m the following two years respectively.
“The same traffic controllers have been engaged since 2018 and are becoming very adept at responding to conditions in the Noosa Heads precinct,” the review said.
“Bus drivers appreciated the traffic control assistance in getting in and out of the Hastings St precinct at what is a very busy and stressful time of year for bus drivers.
“Feedback from a business owner on Hastings St who was driving in and out of the precinct up to many times a day suggested that congestion was better than previous years with traffic controllers keeping traffic flowing,” the report said.
Council has developed a traffic management plan “to be scaled up or down depending on weather and traffic conditions with council only paying for traffic controllers when required”.
Council is looking at using information from traffic controllers when considering any infrastructure changes in the area that relate to pedestrian, bus and vehicle movements
Overall there were 245,906 passenger trips with the new high frequency 065 loop bus contributing to a 20 per cent year on year growth.
The free buses all up cost $303,542 paid for out of the ratepayer-funded transport levy at an average cost of $1.24 per passenger trip.
“This compares to an average cost of 89 cents per passenger trip in 2018/20 noting that the 065 Go Noosa Loop did not operate that year and factors as a higher cost per trip as council pays full cost price,” the review said.
“As TransLink already subsidises the existing bus routes, council is only required to fund loss of revenue.
“This results in a very cost effective services when compared to the other temporary and additional to the network fully costed services,” the review said.
However only about a third of free bus passengers used a designated park and ride with council looking at $3000 it cost to use the Noosa Australian rules field for parking.
“The full use and value for money of the Noosa AFL grounds was not realised as evidence by only 16 cars being counted on the 3rd January, 2020. The use of this site will be reviewed,” the report said.
The survey on the same day highlighted that carparking use at Noosa Junction was nearing 85 per cent capacity.
“Feedback obtained showed that many people (62 per cent) chose to park or walk to their nearest bus stop, known anecdotally as ‘hide and ride’ rather than make use of dedicated park and ride locations.
“The other locations included parking in Pomona, Tewantin, Noosa Parade and behind Aldi shopping centre.
“The use of hide and ride provides insight into future considerations for introducing additional parking supply,” the review said.
THE FREE BUS SURVEYS REVEALED:
There were 354 free surveys undertaken and key highlights include:
- 94 per cent of survey respondents were either very satisfied/satisfied with their bus trip.
- Approximately 69 per cent of respondents would have made their trip by car if the buses had not been free.
- The main reason people caught a free bus was to avoid traffic and congestion and because it is difficult to find a car park.
- Interestingly, 36 per cent of survey respond indicated that the main barrier for them to catch a bus outside of the Go Noosa period is cost.
- 68 per cent of survey respondents were Noosa Shire residents.