Road to recovery could be blocked by traffic: NRMA business survey


Almost three-quarters (71%) of Sydney’s fleet running businesses are still being impacted by congestion with (40%) of those changing routes or delivery times to avoid the impact of Sydney’s gridlock on productivity and profits, according to the annual NRMA Business survey.

Now in its 13th consecutive year, the 2020 NRMA Business survey of 335 fleet-running businesses has also found that 60% of businesses believe congestion has increased in the last 12 months. This number has fallen from 89 per cent last year as a result of COVID restrictions and more people working from home.

However the NRMA believes with many road routes quieter than ‘normal’ and congestion still causing this level of frustration it was more critical than ever to find ways to solve these congestion issues that are costing already struggling businesses time and money.

The survey found almost a third (32%) of NRMA Business Members are bearing losses of up to $1000 per vehicle with 23% estimating it is costing them between $1000 to $5000.

Sydney CBD was found to be the area causing the most congestion (20%) followed by the Inner West (14%) and Western Sydney (13%).

The NRMA provides specialised roadside assistance, corporate driver training, fleet support and is the advocacy voice for more than 28,000 fleet-running businesses.

This year’s survey of those businesses also found:

  • 38% estimate congestion has cost their business one or more hours per day in time stuck in traffic, down 11 percentage points on last year. 
  • 15% believe congestion occupies more than a third of the working day.

In addition to time wasted in traffic, other ways business members felt the impact of congestion was through using more fuel (55%), paying more money for tolls (53%) and wasting time looking for parking (47%).

The NRMA Business survey found increasing support for Government transport projects with 34 percent ranking NorthConnex in the top three priority projects while the M4-M5 Link was second with 30 percent ranking it a priority. Over a quarter (26%) are using WestConnex with a majority saving an hour or less.

NRMA Spokesperson Peter Khoury said with a huge increase in the use of private vehicles over public transport since COVID more needed to be done to tackle this change in transport behaviour.

“We could be facing critical congestion issues in the future that will further impact businesses, freight movements, pollution and crashes, hampering our economy’s come-back,” Mr Khoury said.

“Time spent in traffic is eating into business’ bottom line, which in turn fuels uncertainty and impacts on growth and resources to invest in more staff.

“While State and Federal Government funding for roads and infrastructure is at historic levels to boost the economy its important these funds are released as a matter of urgency.

“The NRMA also supports a shift in focus onto more innovative ways to keep people and businesses moving. This could include the use of smart motorways, traffic drones and real-time data for network efficiencies, further use of new technology to improve health and safety on public transport, increased frequency outside normal peak times, work from home policies for the private sector and staggered start and finish times for workers who must commute to work.

“This will fast-track the rebuild of our economy by supporting businesses on the road to recovery and getting workers home to their families sooner.”