Drivers warned to prepare for peak-hour pain

1 May, 2023

Morning peak-hour travel times on some road segments in Adelaide may blow out by more than 80 per cent this week as thousands of South Australian students return to school.

An RAA study of average weekday travel times in March compared to the first week of the April school holidays has confirmed that drivers should brace for heavier traffic on school days, especially during the morning peak period.

For example, the median city-bound travel time on a 3km stretch of Grange Road was 10 minutes 33 seconds during term one, compared with just 5 minutes 42 seconds during the first week of the school holidays – an increase of 84 per cent.

The other road segments analysed were parts of Main North Road, Unley Road and Portrush Road, all of which saw their morning peak median travel times blow out by between 40-80 per cent during the school term.

The most congested time of day on all four road segments fell somewhere between 8:00 and 8:30am, coinciding with school drop-off periods.

RAA Senior Manager Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain said if drivers wanted to avoid delays they should try and leave earlier, if possible.

“RAA’s study of school holiday travel time on key corridors has confirmed what many of us probably experience on the road during school terms,” Mr Mountain said.

“Morning commutes can take a fair bit longer when school drop-offs are happening.

“With thousands of students returning to class tomorrow, it’s a timely reminder to leave a few extra minutes earlier if you’re driving to work in the morning, especially during peak periods.

“As of Monday drivers should expect the trip on Portrush Road between Magill and Greenhill Roads to take more than four minutes longer than it has during the holiday period.

“It’s a similar story on stretches of Grange Rd, Main North Road and Unley Road where back to school traffic can add between three to six minutes to your journey time.

“Typically the morning peak is worst from 8:00 am until 9am, and travelling before 7:30am is the best way to avoid long delays.”

“The impact is less during the afternoon peak because school pick-up generally happens a few hours earlier than when workers begin their journeys home.

Mr Mountain also reminded drivers to observe the 25km/h limit when students were present in school zones.

“It’s important to remember that the lower speed limits apply whenever children are present, including outside of school hours and at weekend sporting activities,’’ Mr Mountain said.

“School pedestrian crossings will also be in use at drop-off and pick-up times, so slow down and be prepared to stop if the amber lights are flashing or the orange flags are out.

“Drivers should also be aware that pedestrian crossings with traffic signals on major roads near schools will be in more frequent use from today.”


Travel time comparisons – school holidays vs school term