Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Benefits of light rail - from the WA MAX project

The WA State Government are proposing to build light rail in Perth. The WA Department of Transport  have placed an excellent website for the Metro Area Express or MAX system online here.

The excerpt below is from the section titled 'Benefits of light rail'. Many of these benefits are directly applicable to the ACT.


  • Reduced traffic congestion: The estimated economic cost of traffic congestion in Perth was nearly $1 billion in 2009, with costs predicted to more than double by 2020 to $2.1 billion. Initiatives such as light rail to reduce congestion will have a significant impact on both productivity and quality of life.
  • Cost-effective solutions: Light rail can be built within existing streets in developed areas unlike heavy rail, which needs significant vacant land or a high-cost tunnel-based design. For areas of medium and high demand, light rail is competitive on cost with buses.
  • Large capacity: One light rail vehicle carries the equivalent of three articulated buses, and a light rail system can cater for passenger numbers conventional bus routes can’t handle.
  • Environmental benefits: Transport contributes 14 per cent of Australia’s total greenhouse gases, of which 90 per cent is generated by private vehicles. Light rail will reduce Perth’s reliance on motor vehicles.
  • Sustainability: Light rail offers developers and planners the opportunity to reduce urban sprawl by increasing population densities near stations and along routes.
  • Infrastructure certainty: Light rail infrastructure provides a sense of permanence, encouraging developers to invest in new commercial, mixed use and residential projects.
  • Vibrancy: New development and greater population density can make areas near light rail more vibrant and active. Public transport supports community fitness by encouraging people to walk or cycle to stations or stops. Light rail vehicles will be quiet, both inside and outside.
  • Easy access: Navigating a light rail system will be simple, with routes marked by permanent infrastructure in the form of rails and stations.
  • Integration: MAX will integrate with the rest of the Transperth network.

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