Department of State GrowthTransport

Greater Hobart Travel Speed Survey

The Travel Speed Survey (Survey) is a project undertaken to monitor the performance of the major road networks servicing the Greater Hobart area. The Survey uses actual travel times and speeds to identify periods of congestion and the locations that they occur.

In this Survey, congestion is measured using average travel time and average travel speed. Congestion is generally most pronounced in the morning and late afternoon, which largely reflect work and school start and end times.

Having an understanding of how the road network performs is critical to improve reliability and accessibility for road users. It is also important to inform policy, and operational considerations, regarding the ongoing and future management of road networks, initiatives and planning, and associated funding submissions.

Building on the work undertaken in previous years, the 2013 Survey analyses the congestion levels of three major routes servicing the Greater Hobart area, and the linking major roads in Hobart. The routes reviewed were:

  • Brooker Highway (Pontville to Hobart);
  • Tasman Highway (Sorell to Hobart);
  • Southern Outlet (Margate to Hobart); and
  • Macquarie Street  and Davey Street (major roads linking the Southern Outlet and Tasman Highways).

Two further routes will be surveyed in 2014. These are the South Arm Highway (Lauderdale to Hobart); and the East Derwent Highway (Bridgewater to Hobart).

All of these major routes were also surveyed in 2006 and 2011.The 2013 Survey found that traffic movement is at its slowest during the AM peak across all of the monitored roads. This is most notable in the 10 km section closest to the Hobart Central Business District, as intersections and interactions with other urban commuters increase.

General trends from the 2013 Survey can be found in the summary of findings.

Information on how the travel speed survey is undertaken is also available.

You can also download the full report

For further information on the Travel Speed Survey, please contact us at info@stategrowth.tas.gov.au


Terms used in the Travel Speed Survey

Average Travel Time - Provides an average travel time (in seconds per kilometre) for the length of route under review.

Average Travel Speed - Provides an average travel speed (in kilometres per hour) for the length of route under review - calculated as distance divided by time.

Nominal Travel Time - Travel time (in seconds per kilometre) for uninterrupted travel at the posted speed limit.

Nominal Travel Speed - Travel speed (in kilometres per hour) for uninterrupted travel at the posted speed limit - calculated as distance divided by time.

Monitored periods:

AM peak - between 8 and 9am
Inter peak - between 9.30am and 4.30pm
PM peak - between 5 and 6pm


How is the Travel Speed Survey undertaken?

The Travel Speed Surveys collect time and position data along specified routes. Data is collected using the 'floating car' method, where the driver is required to maintain the vehicle's position and speed relative to the surrounding traffic.

The collected data allows analysis of average travel times and speeds for the entire route from outer suburbs of Hobart, as well as looking at the inner-most 10km sections closest to the Hobart CBD, where the majority of traffic volumes are concentrated. Analysis can also be undertaken on predefined segments to provide an indication of where the congestion is occurring.

Average travel times and speeds are compared with nominal travel times and speeds. The nominal travel time is the time it would take to travel a specific route at the sign posted speed limit. Nominal travel times are rarely achieved - even between peak periods or at night - as they do not consider the impact of intersections and traffic controls, such as traffic lights and roundabouts, on traffic slow.

Travel times can vary from day to day. To ensure the Surveys provide a clear picture of traffic flows and network performance, each of the routes are monitored at least five times, travelling in both directions, during the AM peak (8-9am), inter-peak (9.30am-4.30pm) and PM peak (5-6pm) periods.

Surveys are not undertaken during school holidays. Holiday periods significantly reduce the amount of traffic and these periods do not reflect average travel conditions.


Summary of findings

The 2013 Survey found that traffic movement is at its slowest during the AM peak across all of the monitored roads. This is most notable in the 10 km section closest to the Hobart Central Business District, as intersections and interactions with other urban commuters increase.

The general trends from the 2013 Survey are summarised below.

Brooker Highway

  • Inter peak periods experienced a general increase in travel speeds across the highway when compared to previous Surveys.
  • Peak periods were largely consistent with performance in previous years, except for a reduction in travel speeds in the 10 km section closest to the CBD.
  • Of the three highways surveyed, the Brooker Highway experiences the lowest travel speeds and highest deviation from sign posted speeds. However, the 2013 Survey indicated a general overall improvement in travel speeds following the commissioning of the Brighton By-pass.

Tasman Highway

  • Travel speeds recorded were largely consistent with previous Surveys, however, there has been a slight downward trend in average travel speeds over time.

Southern Outlet

  • Average travel speeds have increased across the day, particularly in the PM peak. This increase in travel speeds appears to reflect the impact of the Kingston By pass on traffic movement, which has been commissioned since the last Survey.

Macquarie Street and Davey Street

  • Generally, Macquarie and Davey Streets experience more delay than the surveyed highways across all time periods. A notable change from previous Surveys is an increase in delay for Davey Street in the AM peak.

At the whole of network  level, there has been a general improvement in traffic movement since the first Survey in 2006. As shown in Figures 1 and 2 below, there has been a small increase in average speeds and a decrease in average delays experienced.

Figure 1 - Network1 Average Travel Speed

Average Travel Spped 

Figure 2 - Network1 Average Travel Delay

Average Travel Delay 

The following maps show average travel speeds and the average time delay (per kilometre) for the surveyed routes.

AM Peak Inbound 2013 

PM Peak Outbound 2013

1Network averages include Macquarie Street, Davey Street and the three highways included in the 2013. They do not include the South Arm Highway or the East Derwent Highway, which will be surveyed during 2014. Network averages will be updated when these highways have been surveyed.


You can also download the full report

For further information on the Travel Speed Survey, please contact us at info@stategrowth.tas.gov.au