Opinion Pieces: A Community of “Experts”- The Citizen Panel

Professor David Hensher
Professor David Hensher

Opinion Pieces: since 2007, Prof. David Hensher has written an opinion column in the Australasian Bus and Coach magazine, where he monthly discusses a lot of different transport-related hot topics. In this section we are revisiting these columns.

Photo: l-durini.com

January 2012

We now have a suggestion that a community of people drawn randomly from the population may be able to add value in helping public infrastructure organizations find ways through the maze of complexity in prioratising infrastructure that will make a difference.

As I engage in the debate on how we can improve the infrastructure we have, transport in particular, I come up against a major barrier about the definition of infrastructure which seems to focus on a restricted definition of major projects (indeed Infrastructure Australia’s current definition of major infrastructure projects is based on a $100m plus cost outlay). Anything below that at present is not considered, and hence State governments are ‘forced’ to come up with high cost ‘solutions’ if Infrastructure Australia is to assist.

Some ideas I have been promoting (at least for discussion) seem to have fallen on very deaf ears. These include ensuring that all bus lanes are truly uncontaminated by merging along their pathway with mixed traffic (killing off any gains in time saving and service reliability of buses), growing the number of buses massively in order to deliver real gains in public transport connectivity and frequency that is sufficiently substantial to be attractive to current car users (something I argue is unlikely to be the case with very expensive single corridor projects such as heavy rail projects in various capital cities).

Food for thought

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