Innovative approach needed for WA, Transport Minister says

“Forty-two per cent of all vehicles on our roads today are commercial vehicles; so if people think the solution for Western Australia is all about public transport I say that you’re mistaken,” Minister for Transport, the Hon. Dean Nalder told a CEDA audience during a transport update for WA.

“Whilst public transport is a critical and important facet of transport, it’s only a part, and we need to think about a plan, a multi-faceted approach to our transport needs,” he said.

“As part of that transport planning we need to understand that when we do something, we don’t just push the problem to somewhere else, and (we) actually create an overall solution.

“There is a need for us to understand not only our public transport, but our road network.

“Part of our approach in looking at congestion, needs to be looking at smarter ways of utilising that existing infrastructure.

“We’ve had a history as a State allowing urban sprawl and allowing development to occur and then we actually put in the infrastructure after… with a 100 per cent cost to the state – the taxpayers and community.

“If we go and build a new road we’re spending one billion dollars, two billion dollars whereas there are simple initiatives we can undertake that cost very little.

“We’ve run a pilot and trial using a UK model which has just been implemented in Melbourne where we looked at how vehicles merge into the freeway across three on-ramps on the Kwinana Freeway.

“We put cameras up to watch traffic movement and behaviour and interestingly beforehand during the peak period we had 35 to 50 vehicles on one of these on-ramps and during the merger trials it went down to zero.

“It’s simple, it sounds like common sense, but the principle is that you maintain the speed on the freeway and anybody entering…has to get up to speed and move into the moving freeway.

“Currently our merger…ends up slowing down the freeway and blocking it all up.

“We’re now rolling that (initiative) out across the whole freeway network at a cost of eight million dollars.”

Mr Nalder also discussed planning and current projects underway, including the NorthLink Project and Perth Freight Link.