Over the last few years we have continued to see that vehicle volumes on our roads have stopped growing, in fact in most cases they have even dropped, especially when looked at on a per capita level. Of the traffic volumes that the NZTA release monthly, the only one close to the centre of Auckland is the Harbour bridge. Here is what the volumes have been doing and as you can see that things aren’t that different from a few years ago and actually down quite a bit on 2007 numbers.
But an article on the Herald caught my eye yesterday and made me think about what might happen in the future.
Learner-drivers are still failing driving tests in droves, six months after tough new standards were introduced.
The fail marks include one person aged over 75 and a young Taupo man who has made seven unsuccessful attempts.
Sixty-two per cent of drivers failed the test in March, the month after it was rolled out in an attempt to cut the number of young people dying in road crashes.
New Zealand Transport Agency figures show 54 per cent failed the test last month, proof people were realising they needed at least 120 hours of supervised practice before the test, agency boss Geoff Dangerfield said.
First I think it is good that driving tests are harder as improving driving skills and reducing the number of people in road crashes is really important. What got me thinking though was the impact these tougher driving tests would have on travel in the future. If tests remain tough (or even get tougher still) it is quite likely that a lot of young people will simply choose not to learn to how to drive. Over the long term, say 30 years, that will really have an impact on the number of vehicles on the road but also demand for other transport options. Further what would it do to the projections for traffic growth in the RoNS business cases? Lots of questions but are our policy makers thinking about them?