13 Dec 2019

Urbis’ Breton Fleming and Graham McCabe recently joined representatives from the Committee for Geelong and Deakin University to investigate the new form of automatic rapid transport currently being used in China.

Urbis is working with Deakin University and the Committee for Geelong as the key conduit for conversations with the manufacturers and potential importers of the trackless trams.

The delegation discussed the potential for a pilot of the ‘trackless tram’ to be deployed in Geelong using Deakin University’s park and ride route between Belmont and the Waterfront, which is a free service for staff and students.

There is a real opportunity for these trams to be a game-changer in regional cities and the newer suburbs, the latter of which often lack quality transport options.

Urbis Director Graham McCabe, said that the trackless trams have the potential to revolutionise accessibility to high quality public transport in areas typically under serviced.

“Having seen the technology on-the-ground, I believe that trackless trams offer the potential to deliver an equivalent light rail service at a fraction of the cost.  The trams have a similar axle weight to buses, B Double trucks and semi-trailer trucks and so, unlike light rail, they can be accommodated on the existing road network without significant infrastructure investment.”

“There is a real opportunity for these trams to be a game-changer in regional cities and the newer suburbs, the latter of which often lack quality transport options,” Graham said.

According to the Committee for Geelong’s CEO Jennifer Cromarty, this new technology could be the solution to car parking issues in central Geelong and provide an attractor to people needing to get in and around the city for work.

“Soon there will be over 8,000 people commuting to Geelong to work in large organisations close to Gheringhap Street including Deakin University, WorkSafe, NDIA, TAC, Barwon Water and the City of Greater Geelong,” Jennifer said. 

Describing the benefit of this new mode of transport, Urbis Director Breton Fleming indicated that around 36 of these trams could replace the 150 buses that are on Victoria Road into Sydney each morning peak.

“It’s a ground-breaking technology that changes the public transport experience,” Breton said. 

  • No rail infrastructure is necessary; the tram uses existing streets
  • No overhead wires are required as the tram is battery powered
  • Research shows that trams are a more popular transport choice to buses
  • Trams operate quietly, smoothly and efficiently, utilising a train chassis as opposed to a bus chassis.
  • Possibility for trams to run from green power
  • A 10-minute charge can provide up to 25km worth of additional battery capacity
  • High capacity, with space for around 280 passengers in a three-carriage configuration
  • Trams are highly manoeuvrable, with a turning circle equivalent to a bus
  • Operating costs are equivalent to a bus
  • Configurable rolling stock includes two-four carriages plus internal fit-out options
  • Potential for driverless operation
  • Equivalent width and length of standard light rail
  • 70 km/h maximum travel speed

Our #cityshaper team are looking forward to helping Government and all stakeholders investigate opportunities and the suitability of this new mode of transport.

Breton Fleming View Profile
Graham McCabe View Profile