Perth is one of the most car-dependent cities on the planet. Providing a world-class electric tram network would dramatically cut emissions and put thousands of West Aussies to work through planning, construction, and ongoing maintenance.
Clean State recognises the state government’s investment in MetroNet but notes Perth’s train network caters to workers in the city and does not serve cross-city commuters well. Metronet’s contribution to the city is also hamstrung by the lack of mid-tier public transport to heavy rail stations, and it has been acknowledged that ever-crowded ‘park & ride’ facilities cannot expand.
Perth’s next public transport investment must introduce a new ‘intermediate transit system’ – faster and better than buses but cheaper and more integrated than heavy rail.
Fixed route public transport has been shown to provide investment certainty that spurs urban regeneration around their stations, uplifting land-value and enabling the development of high quality residential and commercial buildings along tram routes. This revitalises street life and helps us build more compact, efficient communities.
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What are Trackless Trams?
‘Trackless Trams’ are a new innovation in mass transit technology providing essentially the same service as traditional light rail systems, but for one tenth of the infrastructure cost.
Trackless trams use the same carriages as trams but run on rubber tyres and are guided visually by lines, instead of rails. This avoids the large cost and disruption of major roadworks needed to lay tracks. They run quietly, using electric propulsion (with batteries), and recent advances in stabilization technologies and precision tracking from autonomous optical guidance systems means they have the same high ride quality as traditional light rail.
Like trams, they also harness raised-platform stations that give the fixed-route assurance necessary to spur urban regeneration and development;).
Curtin University has provided a detailed, costed proposal for a city-wide tram network (Fig 1) that services the entire Perth-Peel metropolitan region, starting with a Trial Trackless Tram route that connects Victoria Park, Perth and Morley.
- Commit to providing a metropolitan Tram Network across the Perth metropolitan area by 2030.
- Fund the world-first trial of trackless trams in Perth by 2021, starting with a Phase 1 Trial Line running in an East-West route from Burswood station to St Georges Terrace and a major North-South link along Beaufort Street to Morley, as proposed by International transport experts.
- Establish a specialist Perth Tram Network Team in the Department of Transport to plan the overall network, deliver the trial, and develop Transit Activated Corridors (TAC) Plan for Perth that focuses on transforming main road corridors to a string of urban regeneration in precincts along major roads.