Editor's note

As Australia’s army of commuters heads off to work at the start of another week, you don’t need to be Nostradamus to know they’ll endure traffic jams and packed trains, buses and trams. Commuters’ frustrations have reached the point that politicians, from Prime Minister Scott Morrison down, are promising multibillion-dollar ‘congestion busting’ infrastructure.

But what if there’s another, more cost-effective way? What if workers simply had more freedom to adjust when and where they work so they avoid travelling at peak times? As John Hopkins writes, research suggests flexible working is both achievable and popular. And even small reductions in commuter numbers can get traffic flowing and ensure your bus or carriage still has space for you to squeeze in.

John Watson

Section Editor: Cities + Policy

Top stories

If more of us were free to work from home, fewer of us would be stuck in traffic. Daria Chichkareva, fkigali/Shutterstock

Flexible working, the neglected congestion-busting solution for our cities

John L Hopkins, Swinburne University of Technology

Two-thirds of surveyed workers work from home one day a week on average, but could do at least half their work out of the workplace. If they commuted less often, congestion could be greatly reduced.

Paracetamol overdoses can cause serious liver damage. From shutterstock.com

Australia has a paracetamol poisoning problem. This is what we should be doing to reduce harm

Rose Cairns, University of Sydney

The annual number of paracetamol poisoning cases in Australia has increased by 44% over the last decade. To tackle this problem, we need tighter regulation around the way paracetamol is sold.

The biggest difference between the current protest movement and the 2014 Umbrella Movement is the striking solidarity among the various groups of demonstrators. Everyone feels they are ‘in the same boat’ together, new research shows. Roman Pilipey/EPA

New research shows vast majority of Hong Kong protesters support more radical tactics

Samson Yuen, Lingnan University

A survey of 8,000 Hong Kong protesters shows that participants increasingly feel that radical protests are the most effective way to make the government heed public opinion.

Burnt out cars in Tingha, New South Wales, in February 2019. AAP/Dave Hunt

Grim fire season looms but many Australians remain unprepared

Richard Thornton, Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC

Many Australians are unprepared for the worse-than-average bushfire season ahead - even those in high-risk areas.

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