Road safety and congestion

As Australia's population grows so do the demands on our freight network. Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE) estimate that Australia's freight task will increase by 26% by 2050.

Over the next 20 years, BITRE estimate that road freight volumes will grow by 80%, from 73.2 billion tonnes kilometres in 2019-20 to 130 billion tonne kilometres by 2040.

Inland Rail will share the growing freight load and reduce our reliance on roads for transporting freight. It will also provide the connectivity that enables producers, farmers and businesses to link to national and global markets, making it faster, cost-competitive and more reliable to move goods around the country.

Without an alternative to long-haul road freight transportation, the number of long-haul trucks travelling between Melbourne and Brisbane will increase significantly, leading to:

  • increased congestion in our regional communities and cities
  • higher road maintenance costs
  • more fuel emissions
  • increasing road casualties due to dangerous conditions.

Inland Rail will slow increasing truck movements in more than 20 of our regional towns and ease congestion on some of Australia's busiest highways such as the Warrego Highway, Ipswich Motorway and the Pacific Highway.

This translates to an annual reduction of around 15 crashes, including fatalities and serious injuries.

Currently, approximately 74% of all inter-capital freight between Melbourne and Brisbane is carried by road. Once Inland Rail is operational, road and rail will both do their part in sharing the freight task, with rail taking over more of the heavy long-haul freight movement.

The Inland Rail Business Case forecasts a reduction of 200,000 B-double truck movements per annum from 2050 by shifting the increasing freight volumes from road onto Inland Rail.

Looking at existing supply chains and modelling the potential shift of road freight to Inland Rail a study conducted by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) identified that Inland Rail could reduce movements along parts of the Newell Highway by 134,000 full heavy truck movements per year, or 242 fewer B-Doubles per day.