Opportunities and challenges

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Population growth and managing transport demand

Queensland’s population is estimated to be around 5.3 million1 and is predicted to increase to around 6.8 million by 2037 and around 7.3 million by 20422. Most of this increase is likely to continue to be in South East Queensland, coastal communities and regional centres with industry growth.

Queensland has seen substantial investment in infrastructure and public transport services over the past decade to cater for this growth. We continue to face significant challenges to manage the ongoing impact of this growth, harness opportunities and mitigate associated risks, such as increased congestion.

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Embracing technology

New technology provides significant opportunities for managing a growing population, helping to address the challenges of congestion, accessibility, sustainability, reliability, safety and network resilience.

We can use new technologies to position the transport system to meet future needs - creating a single integrated transport system that anticipates, rather than just responds to, customers’ needs.

Smart and connected technologies, and access to real time information, enables customers to make more informed transport choices and helps optimise our transport network operations and reliability.

Emerging automated vehicle technologies and service models such as Mobility as a Service, which incorporate demand responsive and shared transport services, will also provide improved and affordable transport access options, including for people with disabilities, older people and people who do not have a driver’s licence.

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Road safety

While progress has been made over many decades to reduce road trauma on Queensland’s roads through the introduction of a variety of road safety initiatives, there are still significant challenges to overcome.

We are steadfast in our commitment to reduce the incidence of road trauma through ongoing safety upgrades to the state-controlled road network. We continue to deliver a program of targeted road safety infrastructure improvement programs delivering high-benefit treatments to reduce crashes.

Importantly, our Road Safety Policy and 4-year strategic plan further embed the Safe System approach to road safety, which was originally introduced to Queensland in 2015 and retained at the foundation of the Queensland Road Safety Strategy 2022–31. The strategy integrates the concepts of Movement and Place and Health and Behaviour into the new Queensland Model for Road Safety, which organises our priorities across four pathways as outlined in Figure 3.  


Figure 3: The safe system approach to road safety (description on page)

Figure 3: The Safe System approach and the Queensland Model for Road Safety

Rather than simply ‘blame’ crashes on individual behaviour and choices, the Safe System approach places human frailty at the centre and observes that there is a limit to the physical forces the human body can withstand before debilitating injury or death results. On the road, people will make mistakes, but should not be penalised with injury or death for doing so. This means all elements of the ‘system’ need to be forgiving. The cornerstones of this approach are safe roads and roadsides, safe speeds, safe vehicles and safe road users. These 4 factors determine the forces exerted during the crash, and therefore the seriousness of the outcome. Realising the benefits of the Safe System approach requires everyone involved in each of the elements of the system to understand the importance of their role in saving a life.

Other critical inputs to the Safe System are:

  • enforcement strategies to encourage compliance and manage non-compliance with the road rules
  • understanding crashes and risks through data analysis, research and evaluation
  • managing access to the road through licensing drivers and riders and registering vehicles
  • providing education and information
  • innovation
  • good management, monitoring, communication and coordination.

In the Queensland Road Safety Strategy 2022-31, the Safe System remains at the foundation of Queensland’s approach to road safety, however a new model has been developed that aims to reach beyond the traditional transport sector to reach a broader set of stakeholders to help reduce road trauma.

The Queensland Model for Road Safety integrates the new concepts of Movement and Place and Health and Behaviour and organises road safety strategic priorities across 4 key pathways and 4 enablers. The 4 pathways include Roads and roadsides, Places and spaces, Individuals and Communities, with the 4 enablers of Partnerships, Research and data, Technology and Investment working across all pathways.

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Freight needs

Queensland’s freight system is a key enabler for the vital components of our economy with efficient freight movement being integral to Queensland’s global competitiveness and economic performance.

The Queensland Freight Strategy - Advancing Freight in Queensland, developed in partnership with the Queensland Ministerial Freight Council, sets a 10-year vision for the state’s freight system. The Queensland Freight Strategy vision aims to create an integrated, resilient and safe freight system integral to supporting Queensland’s economic prosperity.

The Queensland Freight Strategy is implemented through the rolling 2-year Queensland Freight Action Plan which outlines a range of activities that the industry, the community and all levels of government will undertake to ensure logistics movements throughout the agricultural, mining, industrial and retail sectors provide the best outcomes for Queensland.

A significant portion of the road and rail networks in Queensland forms part of the nationally accredited Key Freight Route network that connects Australia’s freight system, including sea and airports and intermodal terminals.

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Funding arrangements

Works on the Queensland transport network are primarily funded by the Australian and Queensland governments. The Australian Government has primary responsibility for funding and maintaining the National Land Transport Network and contributes funding to projects off the National Land Transport Network through programs like the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative. The state funded component includes revenue from motor vehicle registration and proceeds from infringements (such as camera detected offences). Some projects are partly funded by local government and developer contributions.

There remains a high expectation from the community that government will continue to address transport costs and accessibility through the integration of land-use planning and transport infrastructure. We continue to work on this integration, ensuring the right projects are delivered at the right time.

The Queensland Government recognises that private sector investment helps achieve strong jobs growth and sustainable economic development. Investment facilitation and partnerships are available for major investment and business propositions that demonstrate a strong potential for being delivered and that align with the Queensland Government’s priorities.

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Rural, remote and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

Queensland’s regional prosperity, and associated transport network, is heavily influenced by the vast distances between regions and cities, the concentration of the population in South East Queensland, isolated resource production areas and export driven markets. To address these challenges, the Queensland Government continues to explore funding options for transport infrastructure improvements within rural, remote and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

QTRIP serves local communities through a project delivery approach that, where possible, engages local businesses, and creates employment and training opportunities for residents.

We are committed to reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Queensland and supports Indigenous participation policies and frameworks that prioritise Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander employment and supplier use targets for road projects committed by the Australian Government and Queensland Government, where applicable.

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Environment, climate change, sustainability and heritage management

We are committed to providing a single integrated transport system that contributes to Queensland’s environmental, economic and social sustainability outcomes. To manage the increasing pressures of extreme weather and climate change, a growing population, and land use changes, we are committed through our Environmental Sustainability Policy to plan for and deliver resilient, adaptable and multimodal infrastructure to meet our customer’s needs and community expectations.

We aim to align our infrastructure and services with stakeholder expectations, including reducing our environmental footprint and increasing network resilience to climate change. We are building a cleaner, greener transport network that encourages zero emission transport solutions and contributes to Queensland’s net zero emissions future. This includes promoting and supporting the adoption of zero emission vehicles and transport (including cycling and walking), facilitating the use of more sustainable travel for both people and goods, and through our Waste 2 Resource Strategy which has a specific focus in using recycled (low emission) materials and renewable energy to build, operate and maintain the transport system.

Our Cultural Heritage Organisational Policy and Process Manual ensures we proactively manage Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and historic heritage sites, places and values during project delivery and asset maintenance, in accordance with State and Federal legislation. We employ a statewide team of Cultural Heritage experts and strives to build long-term, meaningful relationships with Aboriginal, Torres Strait and non-Indigenous heritage stakeholders.

We also work closely with the Queensland Reconstruction Authority, the state’s stand-alone disaster resilience and recovery agency, to restore road and rail networks following events and to improve the resilience of the state’s road network to natural disasters.

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Working with local governments

Under the Roads and Transport Alliance, local governments voluntarily collaborate with our districts to form 17 Regional Roads and Transport Groups that make local transport infrastructure investment decisions based on regional priorities.

These groups receive an annual funding allocation from the Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme, to fund projects in accordance with regional priorities regardless of transport network ownership. Projects are prioritised using a robust program development process to determine future investments for nominated transport infrastructure assets.


1 Queensland Government Statistician’s Office, Queensland Treasury, Population growth, June quarter 2022, viewed 22 February 2023, www.qgso.qld.gov.au.

2 Queensland Government Statistician’s Office, Queensland Treasury, Projected population, by series, Queensland, 2017 to 2066, viewed 22 February 2023, www.qgso.qld.gov.au. 

Reflects QTRIP 2023–24 to 2026–27.