National transport consulting firm Veitch Lister Consulting (VLC) says it stands by the traffic volumes it estimated for Melbourne’s West Gate Tunnel project.

Yesterday, VLC Chief Executive Officer Tim Veitch gave evidence at the West Gate Tunnel Inquiry and Advisory Committee hearings into the impacts of the proposed $5.5 billion toll road.

He said VLC’s forecast was entirely consistent with forecast population growth and recent traffic forecasts published for Melbourne by the Federal Government agency BITRE.

“In our work for the West Gate Tunnel project, we forecast daily weekday volumes within the range of 13,750 to 16,750 vehicles per lane per day in 2031,” he said.

“This is well below the busiest roads in Australia now.

“For example, the West Gate Bridge currently carries over 20,000 vehicles per lane per day.”

Mr Veitch said he strongly refuted a recent submission by transport planner William McDougall to the Senate Economics Reference Committee’s toll roads inquiry. In his submission, McDougall claimed the Victorian Government’s business case for the West Gate Tunnel was based on inaccurate traffic forecasts.

Mr Veitch said McDougall’s argument focused on analysing average car trip lengths and numbers of car trips—but said his methodology was flawed.

“Mr McDougall is comparing our model, Zenith, which includes Melbourne and regional Victoria against another model that only includes Melbourne.

“This explains the differences identified in his submission.

“Our model, Zenith, has a large footprint and includes regional centres such as Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Traralgon—trips in regional areas have substantially longer average trip lengths.

“It is important that modelling accurately captures this regional activity.”

Mr Veitch said the same successful procedure and methodology used on previous projects was also used to evaluate the West Gate Tunnel project.

“It is the same procedure we have successfully employed on all of our modelling projects around Australia for the past 15 years.

”The proven reliability and accuracy of our modelling is why governments around Australia continue to rely on us.”

VLC is a 30-year-old company with a strong track record in toll road forecasting, including accurately forecasting traffic on major toll roads including Eastlink, Cross City Tunnel and Lane Cove Tunnel in Sydney; and Clem 7 and Airport Link in Brisbane, when compared to other available forecasts.


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