Passenger Rail, Signalling & Communications, Technology and IT

Trams to talk to traffic lights in Melbourne

E-Class Melbourne tram. Photo: Liam Davies

The Victorian Government has awarded a $699,000 grant for a trial program which could see trams given a higher priority at busy Melbourne intersections.

Roads and road safety minister Luke Donnellan on Monday said work had begun on a world-leading trial to give trams better priority at intersections with traffic lights, making tram rides more reliable for passengers.

He said two signalling systems will be trialled to improve network efficiency, traffic management, and reduce congestion on our roads.

The first technology, a Cooperative Intelligent Transport System (C-ITS), uses devices that are installed in trams and traffic lights which alerts traffic lights to approaching trams.

The second system uses real-time GPS to determine traffic light activity based on live road conditions, with a link back to Yarra Trams and VicRoads’ control rooms.

Both systems will be integrated with VicRoads’ existing road management system for the trials to take place.

The Labor Government recently awarded the grant to the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), which will work with Public Transport Victoria, VicRoads and Yarra Trams to undertake the trial.

The funding comes from the Andrews Government’s Smarter Journeys program, which supports initiatives that reduce congestion across Victoria’s road network.

Early research for the trial has commenced, and is expected to get underway on the network in 2017.

“Improving the flow of trams at intersections will make services more reliable and reduce congestion on our roads – helping to get passengers where they need to go, on time,” Donnellan said.

“We’re working closely with transport technology and industry partners to find new ways to make our roads and public transport services safer and more efficient for all Victorians.”

Yarra Trams boss Nicolas Gindt said traffic light prioritisation would help the operator move more people, more efficiently.

“We are very pleased to collaborate with partners across the transport system to reduce the journey times of our 200 million trips a year and help get the most out of Melbourne’s tram network,” Gindt said.

1 Comment

  1. I’m surprised this hasn’t been done before. After all, in Sydney the T80 Transitway has had traffic light priority for years.