A world-first trial has begun in Victoria that uses technology to alert traffic lights when trams are approaching, giving them a higher priority at intersections.

Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Luke Donnellan, said two signalling systems would be trialled to improve network efficiency, traffic management, and reduce congestion on the state’s roads.

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

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 integrate with VicRoads’ existing road management system.

Mr Donnellan said, “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.

“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.”  

The Victorian Government recently awarded a grant of $669,000 to the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), which will work with Public Transport Victoria, VicRoads and Yarra Trams to undertake the trial.

Yarra Trams CEO, Nicolas Gindt, said, “Traffic light priority helps us 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.”

The trial is funded through the 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.


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