Tony O'Kane | Apr 15, 2009

Research published by both the Department of Transport and VicRoads has thrown water on the Victorian Government's claim that its $6 million plan to encourage car pooling would decrease traffic on Melbourne's roads.

VicRoads' report, which was conducted by the Australian Road Research Board, says that although Victorian drivers like the idea of car pooling, few would be willing to take it up due to the increased hassle of dropping off and picking up other passengers.

The study also showed that more incentives for car pooling might actually have the opposite effect to its intent, and increase peak-hour traffic due to underserviced public transport users taking to the roads in frustration.

"The likely result would be an overall increase in vehicle kilometres travelled, since more car trips would be made (amid) a reduction in public transport patronage," the report said.

Another factor that may limit the uptake of car pooling? The fact that most office workers "don't like talking in the morning".

The State Government justified its approval for Premier Brumby's car pooling plan by citing a 2007 study conducted by the Department of Premier and Cabinet. That study said a 10 percent decrease in private vehicle-use would help Victoria cut its gross CO2 emissions by one percent by 2050.

Six million dollars to drop greenhouse gas emissions by one-hundredth 41 years from now? Now we're no economists, but that doesn't seem like money well spent.

[The Age]

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