MELBOURNE, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Driverless fast trains could be the answer to resolving congestion in Melbourne as the city's population soars, a report released on Monday has found.
The SkyLink RapidTransit consortium has announced that it hopes to build driverless "super-fast" trains lines from the Tullamarine airport to Melbourne's Central Business District (CBD) as well as from large suburban employment centers to the CBD.
Peter O'Brien, head of the consortium, said that the 3.8 billion U.S. dollars would provide a much-needed rail-link to the airport as well as connecting the CBD to outer-suburban hubs such as Doncaster and Monash in the south-east.
The proposal has been supported by consultancy firm PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PwC) who said that the rapidly-growing south-east needed better infrastructure.
PwC found that the rapid rail-link would be a key factor in reducing congestion on Melbourne's roads as the city continued to grow.
Projections done by PwC, using data from the Bureau of Infrastructure, found that the average commute time in Melbourne would soar to 126 minutes per day by 2030, up from 70 minutes in 2011.
Rob Tyson, PwC Director of Economics and Policy, said that if the projections were accurate it would mean the average person would spend the equivalent of 13.5 working weeks per year commuting to and from work.
"These are worrying projections as people and businesses are unlikely to accept this time spent commuting," Tyson told Australian media on Monday.
"It erodes people's quality of life, it hampers businesses which rely on the city's transport networks, and could seriously reduce Melbourne's competitiveness."
Melbourne is Australia's fastest-growing city with the population set to exceed that of Sydney in the mid-2030s and top eight million by 2050.
The Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) projected that congestion would cost the Victorian economy 5.8 billion U.S. dollars annually by 2030.