Council puts spotlight on traffic, congestion in Wollongong CBD

Council project: The new microsimulator for the Wollongong city centre must be able to model how traffic congestion looks now and how it will change by 2036. Picture: Adam McLean.
Council project: The new microsimulator for the Wollongong city centre must be able to model how traffic congestion looks now and how it will change by 2036. Picture: Adam McLean.

Traffic, parking and pedestrian behaviour in Wollongong’s CBD will be put under the microscope this year, as Wollongong City Council tests out different traffic management scenarios.

To do this, the council is calling for tenders to develop a new “microsimulation model” for the city, mostly focusing on the area between Smith Street, the foreshore, south to Glebe Street and Gladstone Avenue.  

The traffic modeler will also look at major and minor exits to this central area, including Corrimal, Keira and Crown Streets, as well as Throsby Drive.

Microsimulation models can be used to assess how changes in traffic – like lights or extra lanes – would work before they are carried out in the real world. For instance, it could be used looks at how signs, roundabouts or a new set of traffic lights could help traffic to flow differently in Wollongong. 

The council says an update to its existing traffic modelling system is needed after it adopted a more “people focused” planning policy for the CBD in 2016.

Staff are now in the process of reviewing the access and movement study for the city, which was last updated in 2013.

Then, the council’s strategy included a plan to divert traffic from Keira Street to an alternative traffic route via Throsby Drive and Denison Street.

This was to stop the number of vehicles using Keira Street each day from rising to 18,000 vehicles by 2020.

“The [new] strategy will address key travel modes including private motor vehicles, public transport, pedestrians, bicycles as well as parking,” tender documents for the microsimulation model said.

Wollongong council has asked that any new or updated model developed by the successful contractor be able to generate traffic and look at how it operates on the road network.

Travel times, road capacity, congestion, queuing and waiting times should be able to be measured, and different routes into the city must be able to be tested.

Morning and evening peak periods, as well as hourly traffic volume must be able to be measured, for both 2017 and 2036.

Companies wishing to bid for the project must submit an application to the council by April 17.