Thursday, 11 October 2012

Brisbane's Airport Link toll road demand may give cause for caution

The story of the bankrupt Clem 7 toll road in Brisbane, Australia is well known, and is creating shockwaves across the world of toll road concession demand forecasting.  I have also written about the attempts to make the next toll road in Brisbane - Airport Link - more successful.

According to the Herald Sun newspaper, the Airport Link toll road has been a success by some measures.  It is carrying an average of 81,500 vehicles a day, with traffic on some parallel routes dropping by up to a third, effectively eliminating congestion on those routes.  However, the forecast number is 53,300 below predictions and there is currently no toll.  

The road is currently going through a toll free promotional period, which is about to end on 17 October,   suggesting that with demand now 40% below forecasts that there are parallels with the bankrupt Clem 7 toll tunnel (although clearly nowhere near as bad), although there are expectations of demand ramping up over a 15 month period.

Understandably, Clem 7 has had a small boost in usage (17%) as Airport Link connects well with Clem 7, but is still carrying less than half the forecast volume of traffic.  

It's too early to say whether Airport Link will succeed or not, but it has to be said that when a toll road has 40% less trips that forecast - when it is free- it is difficult to be optimistic.

UPDATE:  The product disclosure statement for the project is available here.


  1. Hi Scott

    Interested to read this, but you have a number of innacuracies.

    1. The Herald Sun is a Melbourne paper.
    2. It is quite clear if you look in the Product Disclosure Statement as to whether the forecasts were with or without tolls. (This is freely available if you Google it)
    3. Clem7 achieved only 30 percent of its forecast numbers where AirportlinkM7 is achieving 60 percent.
    4. There are a number of differences between Clem7 opening and AirportlinkM7 - the least being Clem7 did not really connect anywhere but now that AirportlinkM7 is online, it actually has a purpose.

  2. Agree and thanks. I was lazy in not looking up the Product Disclosure Statement and I have clarified the points you made. I am aware of the differences between Clem7 and Airportlink and mentioned these in an earlier post about Clem7.