Passenger Rail, Rolling stock & Rail Vehicle Design

Trackless trams pitched for Sydney’s Parramatta Road

Sydney’s Inner West and Canada Bay councils have proposed a trackless tram solution for Parramatta Road, with plans for a full urban transformation strategy based around the technology.

The NSW Government is investigating options for Parramatta Road, which goes through the Inner West Council and Canada Bay Council jurisdictions.

The councils proposed the Guideless Electronic Transit System (GETS) on Tuesday.

The proposal would see the camera-guided, rubber-tyred vehicles drive along a designated central strip.

Inner City Council said the solution would allow for kerb-side parking and buffer for pedestrians, while also facilitating ‘street activation’.

An electronically-guided vehicle solution would reduce the need for infrastructure to be built into the roadway, and would also require a narrower lane than a bus system as there is no “natural wobble” like that of a manually-driven system.

“The Parramatta Road of the future needs to be pedestrian-friendly and cater for local access, with reactivated street frontages, lower speed traffic and modern public transport,” Inner West Council administrator Richard Pearson said.

“Centre-running public transport is a modern, global approach.

“It will reduce our reliance on cars, allow the street front to be properly activated and bring back a balance of people and movement to one of the city’s oldest thoroughfares.”

Canada Bay Mayor Helen McCaffrey also said, “This study shows that world-class public transport infrastructure has to be included to deliver not only for those who live in the area now, but for future residents.”


  1. I remember these things called “trolley buses”. This is only a battery powered version with a significant disadvantage – the trolley bus would come to the kerb for its passengers – this device would make the punters cross two lanes of traffic to board.
    And again the prospect of putting trams (tracked or trackless) on Parramatta road is dependent on the success of Westconnex getting most through traffic off the road and into the tunnel. What irony!

  2. Yes, however we all know that urban motorways do not solve traffic congestion they actually add to it, because they encourage people to drive further and more often, that’s why WestConnex should not be built.

  3. “Centre-running public transport is a modern, global approach.” Pardon? Perhaps he is thinking of the old Hong Kong trams. Modern systems have flat access (notably missing from the picture) without the need to cross traffic or build substantial bridges / deploy endless pedestrian lights. Lets hope the end game isn’t rows of traffic lights set on red that create congestion and cause pollution from standing traffic. Oh and have a think about how this nirvana works when the water / electricity / gas / comms people come to dig holes in the road or there is an accident that blocks the route….
    And certainly it will reduce our reliance on cars if we only want to go up and down Paramatta Road.but in the real world one of the advantages of cars is that they can actually take you where you want to go, when you want to go.

  4. This is just light rail or trams with another name. Our buses are doing the same as what this will do. Why waste a huge amount of money on an idea that looks nice but is designed to retard traffic flow and only good for commuters who will use busses any way. Currently cars and busses share 6 lanes of traffic during the day and in peak buses have their own lane but you can use the lane to turn left. On Parramatta Rd we also have many right turns. This middle lane seams permanent for the electric tram only and will reduce the amount of people, cars and trucks and emergency services that are currently travelling on this main highway. It will reduce of the capacity that currently Parramatta Rd a toll free road can take with commuters. The inner west council is ill informed as to where the bulk of the customers come from to shop on Parramatta Rd. They are not only from the city or from Parramatta direction. Many come from interstate and north and south of Sydney. Many will still rely on a car to travel to Parramatta Rd business and will need customer parking in front to the shops that they need to go to. There are no car parks between Catherine St Leichhardt and Office Works Broadway. The usable lanes will be reduced in size because of the size of the middle platform for tram stops in the middle of the road. This stop for commuters will be dangerous to get as you are forced to cross the street and sit at in the middle of a highway where we see freak accidents every day. There will be more stop lights to cater for these trams stop crossings. Currently traffic can flow often from say Johnston St Annandale to Office Works Broadway with out a stop light. We will loose our valued customer parking spaces, loose our businesses who employ 1000’s of people and turn Parramatta Rd into predominantly residential accommodation. Councils will loose rates revenue as business close because the Mix Apportionate Factor of the land use will be 100% residential and currently businesses in the inner west pay the highest rates and land taxes in Sydney. Parramatta Rd will become high rise because business who rely on customers parking on Parramatta Rd will be force to close and go else where. This type of tram suits for people who live in apartments who have no cars or car spaces. The two lanes left in many areas of Parramatta Rd will be too narrow to allow for parking and a usable lane for cars etc. This will retard the flow of our increasing population of Sydney and frustrate travellers even more. It is not a solution but will create a huge burden for many. It is a waste of our money and our time and well established business will not be supported because car parking will also inevitably go. One lane for cars is not efficient. The solution to improving flow for Parramatta Rd is not to revive an out dated expensive idea which was removed in the 60’s to improve Parramatta RD flow of traffic to allow for the increase in population, cars and busses, but to invest in improving the quality, increase frequency, safety, review the direction buses are travelling for example from north to south and to key industrial areas where more employment has moved to such as Alexandria. The inner west should be the a new Central station. We need better connectivity of buses and trains. We need faster trains to our country towns. We need Metro underground like the Europe, England and Hong Kong and Japan. Free up our roads. This tram will block the inevitable traffic which will flow onto Parramatta Rd from the West Connex which is already being built. The traffic from these exist will come like a tidal wave and need to flow not to be plugged up by a tram that we do not need in the middle of the road. We need to investigate where there is congestion and problems and find a solution not excuses. If the Government can find money to buy new trams then they can find money to improve on the transport system that we have. They are keeping all our money stored in Opal cards and reducing staff on every station and making it difficult for people who are not familiar with using transport to rely on a mobile aps or asking commuters for travel advice. Our transport system needs to be more user friendly and safe and to be upgraded not down sized or replaced. Why throw away our busses along Parramatta Rd when we can improve on what we have and utilise them better.

  5. We have here yet another case of a public transport initiative that is different from all the others in use or being proposed. in Sydney Is this a serious suggestion, or just another way to confuse the public, or privatize Sydney’s transport by stealth? If you want to run a rapid transit bus system, then say so. If this is the case, then the system in Curitiba in Brazil could be the pattern. It has dedicated bus lanes, a common station design that allows metro like access, with fare collection, and its buses can run on a 90 second headway. Plus it is fairly low cost to build..

  6. Can someone tell me why we are wasting millions on tracks in George St Sydney when we can potentially buy Trackless trams ? is this a case of another lazy decision made by the GOVT without any strong consideration for cheaper alternatives.

  7. People living in Sydney particularly from Strathfield area to Western Sydney would have had high blood pressure by this time as they were the ones who were badly hit with heavy traffic congestion for decades while travelling on the Parramatta Rd. No doubt that this stretch of the road was neglected since the 90s which reflects very poor planning by the NSW GOVT.

    This is historically a missed opportunity. State GOVT should have widened the Parramatta Rd wherever possible or built a bridge over the train tracks from CENTRAL station to Strathfield or over Paramatta Rd from City to Stratfield and connect the traffic via M4 to ease the traffic for commuters travelling to Western side of Sydney instead now we are playing catch on projects and spending 2 or 3 times more money than we should to cover for the failures of the past.