Exciting new phase in Trackless Tram feasibility

25 March 2022

The City of Stirling is proud to announce that it will partner with Curtin University and the Federal Government to conduct an Australian-first trial of Trackless Tram technology.

Under the City’s vision, Trackless Trams would extend 7km from Glendalough Station to Scarborough Beach to offer contemporary, sustainable transport that’s less disruptive and more cost effective to build while retaining the benefits of light rail.

As part of the $2 million already provided by the Federal Government’s Urban Congestion Fund for a comprehensive business case into Trackless Trams, the City of Stirling has received permission to bring a Trackless Tram to Western Australia in the coming months.

Reputable Chinese manufacturer CRRC – the world’s largest rolling stock manufacturer - has developed the most advanced Trackless Tram vehicle and has been exporting quality vehicles to Australia for over 20 years.

A trial of this technology – never before seen in Australia – presents a unique opportunity to understand exactly how a Trackless Tram operates in the local environment, and will help mitigate risks and determine the benefits that this innovative mid-tier transit system can provide.

Mayor Mark Irwin said trialling the technology here in Australia was crucial to the success of the overall business case.

“The concept of a Trackless Tram system is a nation-building, emissions-free, first of its kind in Australia mid-tier transport solution,” he said.

“This means that the technology needs to be tested in the Australian context, and the City of Stirling is proud to be the most advanced in Australia in our investigation and preparation for this technology.

“With both sides of politics having committed funds towards the idea of Trackless Tram technology, we have confidence that we are on the right track in pursuing what we hope is a much cheaper, less disruptive and yet just as effective alternative to light rail.

“Bringing a Trackless Tram to Scarborough Beach will enable the community to see for themselves what this innovative solution looks and feels like.

“The ongoing business case and trial brings together the combined knowledge of Curtin University, ARUP, global engineering company SMEC, as well as advice from multiple State Government agencies, and we can’t wait to present the findings to the community.”

In a letter addressed to Mayor Mark Irwin, Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure, The Hon. Paul Fletcher MP, confirmed the Federal Government would approve funding for the temporary importation of the CRRC vehicle, technical testing, surveys, feedback and a showcase event for the public at Scarborough Beach.

“I welcome the support and interest in this project, and I am pleased to see that a range of organisations are bringing their expertise and offering in-kind support to enable this trial to proceed,” Mr Fletcher said.

“This project is just the latest example of us delivering on our commitment to progress critical infrastructure projects across the country under our record $110 billion, 10-year infrastructure investment pipeline, which is helping to drive Australia’s economic recovery.”

Curtin University’s Sustainability Policy Institute, headed up by Professor Peter Newman, will conduct the trial in partnership with key State Government partners such as the Department of Transport, Main Roads WA and Development WA. Transport engineering experts Keolis Downer and ARUP will also be involved in this trial.

“We all want to have a transport system that doesn’t depend on oil. Never has this been more evident than now,” Professor Newman said.

“The Trackless Tram trial will be a major step forward in creating a future based on local electricity, which helps create a net zero future city. Curtin is really pleased that the Federal Government has enabled us to participate in this great project.”

The City of Stirling’s business case into Trackless Tram technology will de-risk the project by providing a comprehensive estimate of costs for implementation, transport and land use modelling, concept design and detail cost benefit assessment.

As part of the current stage of work, the City of Stirling is working with SMEC on a Multi-Criteria Assessment (MCA) of mid-tier transit options and a rapid Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR). The potential to deliver fantastic economic, business, transport, innovation and sustainability outcomes will also be included in the final report delivered before the end of this financial year.

The City of Stirling acknowledges the ongoing support of its project partners as well as the continued advocacy by the Members for Stirling and Curtin, Vince Connelly MP and Celia Hammond MP.

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