Mike Stevens | Mar 8, 2010

THE COST OF TRAFFIC congestion on Australian roads is set to double by 2020, according to a new report released by Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese.

Titled 'State Of Our Cities', the report shows that without reform, road congestion could cost the national economy $20 billion by 2020 - up from $9.4 billion in 2005.

Mr Albanese said that traffic congestion in the nation's cities is affecting productivity, hampering the ability of businesses to deliver their services.

"Urban congestion contributes to traffic delays, increased greenhouse gas emissions, higher vehicle running costs and more accidents. It is a tragedy that many parents spend more time travelling to and from work, than at home with their kids," Mr Albanese said.

Relieve urban congestion and we improve our quality of life as well as our productivity. Take the vital and important freight task in Australia's eight capital cities as an example, it is expected to grow by 70 per cent between 2003 and 2020."

The report showed that over half of Australia's economic activity occurs in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. The populations of Brisbane and Perth are expected to more than double by 2020, while Sydney and Melbourne are on track to reach 7 million residents.

Mr Albanese said that the Australian dream of a stand-alone home with a back yard means that cities will continue to grow outwards, with cars continuing to dominate the urban landscape.

"The cities of tomorrow will need to confront our energy-intensive lifestyles, our water consumption, the growth in motor vehicle dependency, in congestion and transport emissions," Mr Albanese said.

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