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Job shift  could ease traffic
Slow going: Job shift could ease traffic. Picture: The West Australian

Traffic congestion could be eased if more was done to create employment opportunities outside inner-city Perth.

An analysis by the RAC reveals that Perth residents travel significant distances to their workplaces, when compared with other Australian capital cities.

It found Perth had the smallest proportion of residents living within 10km of where they work.

More than one-third of residents travelled between 10km- 20km to work, with another 30 per cent travelling more than 20km.

The report said Perth's biggest employment centre was the central business district. Figures released in 2011 suggested the CBD provided nearly 120,000 jobs, compared with 25,000 jobs in the second-biggest employment centre of Welshpool-Kewdale.

"Concentrating employment in the CBD . . . has contributed to a range of urban management problems," it said.

"These include traffic congestion, pressures on in-bound public transport networks, long-distance commuting and under-utilisation of road and rail links in the counter-peak direction."

The analysis said that locating jobs near where workers lived was a key strategy of the State Government to reduce travel times.

As part of this strategy, employment targets for Perth's suburban regions were set in Directions 2031, the WA Government's planning framework document. But the RAC analysis found these targets were unlikely to be met, except in the north-east region that includes the City of Swan and the shires of Mundaring and Kalamunda.

Failure to meet the targets showed that the growth in jobs was not keeping pace with the growth in residents.

"Merit exists in progressing, with some urgency, a number of actions to encourage the decentralisation of employment and the creation of new jobs in activity centres," the report said.

"Given the long lead time for commercial development, and thus new jobs, becoming available, what happens in the short term (over the next five years) in particular will be crucial."

It recommended minimum employment generation targets be attached to big suburban developments and incentives be considered for employees to relocate.