ACT’s first ‘smart road’ to help Parkway traffic keep flowing

Ian Bushnell 11 February 2021 85
Tuggeranong Parkway

A stretch of the Tuggeranong Parkway will be part of Canberra’s first ‘smart road’. Photo: File.

One of Canberra’s most infamous thoroughfares will be the ACT’s first ”smart road” in a bid to reduce the number of crashes and the resulting gridlock.

The Tuggeranong Parkway between the Glenloch Interchange and the Cotter Road is notorious for peak-hour bottlenecks and collisions that can bring the major arterial road to a standstill, and choke other routes when traffic is diverted.

Painted chevrons on the road were introduced in 2019 in a bid to stop tail-gating and help drivers keep a reasonable distance between vehicles, but now the ACT Government plans to install a variable speed limit system like Victoria’s to manage traffic congestion, as well as reduce the likelihood of rear-end crashes along both carriageways, particularly northbound.

But the system, for now, won’t include the pinch points south of the Interchange where many accidents occur, covering the area from Lady Denman Drive (southbound) and Forest Drive (northbound) to the Cotter Road ramps.

If this project is successful, the system may be extended, especially with planned investigations into making Parkes Way safer.

An Intelligent Transport System tool will use traffic detection and other technologies to determine and display speed limits appropriate for road and weather conditions and traffic volumes.

This will involve electronic Variable Message Signs (VMS), Integrated Speed and Lane Use Signs and CCTV cameras, some mounted on gantries.

According to tender documents for the $1.5 to $1.7 million project, the smart system, which will base its decisions on a range of data it will continually collect, will be monitored and controlled remotely by TCCS’s traffic management centre.

The current speed limit for that stretch of the Parkway is 100km/h, but the new system could reduce speeds by 20 to 30km/h depending on the conditions or as low as 40 km/h if, for example, there is an accident.

The system will also provide estimated travel times and delays, detect accidents in real-time and alert motorists to trouble ahead and close lanes.

The government expects to sign a contract in the next couple of months, with work underway from April to July followed by testing and commissioning.

The system should be operating by the end of the year.

Tuggeranong Parkway carries about 35,000 vehicles per day, with about 3,500 to 4,000 vehicles in peak hour traffic.


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85 Responses to ACT’s first ‘smart road’ to help Parkway traffic keep flowing
purplevh purplevh 9:03 pm 18 Feb 21

Adding an extra lane to each direction to cope with the extra traffic due to a growing city would be more productive.

Doing that would cost money in the name of road safety and governments are only interested in road safety if there is a dollar to be made.

    JS9 JS9 8:41 am 19 Feb 21

    Ever growing road sizes (i.e. in terms of lane) don’t necessarily create any productivity gains. Because eventually it just leads to more traffic and bigger traffic jams as a result. We can’t forever just be building more roads and making them bigger.

    The impact of COVID-19 in breaking down barriers to remote working in many industries should hopefully have far greater long term positive impacts on productivity then making bigger roads ever will.

Helen May Helen May 12:48 am 17 Feb 21

This “slow person” is always overtaken despite travelling at the speed limit. Whats the race?

Barry Fowler Barry Fowler 9:46 pm 16 Feb 21

I drive on the Parkway 6 days a week for work to be honest a Canberra cant drive 8 times this morning I got cut off by people mostly in high end cars

rossau rossau 1:36 am 16 Feb 21

It’s not the Canberra I loved; that one with great infrastructure and wide, uncrowded highways. ‘Growth’, yes, who needed it?

    JC JC 4:21 pm 16 Feb 21

    You have obviously contributed to said growth by in the first place. A small point a lot of those who complain about growth often overlook. Or the type who complain about loosing land for housing but the loss of land for their house 40 years ago was ok

Jimmy Jock Walker Jimmy Jock Walker 6:19 pm 15 Feb 21

WHen i first came her i thought you guys drove on the right lol

Nick Godfrey Nick Godfrey 3:39 pm 15 Feb 21

It works well in WA.

Deref Deref 12:48 pm 15 Feb 21

I’ve seen this work in the UK, and it works amazingly well. Why has it taken us so long?

    JC JC 6:10 pm 15 Feb 21

    Only need to look at the comments here to see why it’s taken so long.

    Vast majority of people only think about themselves.

Jim Stevenson Jim Stevenson 11:38 am 15 Feb 21

big "Keep left unless overtaking" signs would be a damn good start, along with enforcing it.

Liam Searle Liam Searle 10:53 am 15 Feb 21

2 slow people next to each other is the problem

Kosta Amanda Contis Kosta Amanda Contis 7:47 am 15 Feb 21

Not really! The only issue with main roads like this, is the slow people, they need to wake up, look around and stay left, then it will run a lot smoother

Alejandro Martin Dickinson Alejandro Martin Dickinson 11:03 pm 14 Feb 21

I heard the speed limit gets turned off at 2am Tom McGill Ben McGill

    Stephen Mee Stephen Mee 1:37 pm 16 Feb 21

    It is good for over 200 in that section. But that was before the speed camera got slotted in.

Stoo Hastie Stoo Hastie 8:58 pm 14 Feb 21

Ah the issue isn't the road, it is the people who use it... there are some seriously switched off and selfish drivers out there.

Garry Dodds Garry Dodds 8:01 pm 14 Feb 21

That's why we are having another rate increase to pay for it.

mickos mickos 5:47 pm 14 Feb 21

More stupidity from an idealogical & PC government that knows nothing about road safety. Maybe some parkway crashes could be caused by defective vehicles which are allowed to be continually re-registered despite severe problems with brakes & steering and no inspections. Since 2009 I have found , on eight occasions, disc brake pads with all friction material gone in the middle of intersectios on the road, and grinding on a solid steel backing with destroyed brake discs. As an experienced mechanic of 30 years I can tell you that Canberrans neglect cars far more than elsewhere , they have no interest in mechanics generally and only acknowledge vehicle problems after they have that inevitable crash. Upper middle class ignorance at it’s finest. Since
next to nobody in this anti car city cares about their vehicles and have 1000 times more interest in phones than cars and driving how can we have smart drivers on the road? Allowing disinterested people to drive cars in to the ground is NOT ACCEPTABLE ,and mandated inspections won’t happen because the government doesn’t care about road safety only revenue and inspections would require many public servants to take time off. EVERYBODY should stop paying fines, stop allowing themselves to be bullied by the government for money , and start demanding on a large scale that something is done about people who don’t have an aptitude to own a vehicle ,since it is a lethal weapon in the hands of an incompetent/ disinterested driver

    dolphin dolphin 8:02 pm 14 Feb 21

    a bit of a rant mickos. fully of meaningless phrases – like “anti car city’, idealogical & PC government, and ‘upper middle class ignorance’ that just reveal you have an almighty chip on your shoulder about something.

    do you actually have any solid evidence to back up anything you’ere saying?

    mickos mickos 10:44 pm 14 Feb 21

    Yes I have solid evidence at my workshop. Worn out brakes only fall out when worn way beyond limits. Stop defending dumbarses that should not own cars and a ‘ government’ that’ puts revenue before road safety .You need to learn the Automotive field and you should stick to the bus.

    keek keek 8:53 am 15 Feb 21

    And let me guess, you want annual inspections to be a requirement and are happy to do them at your workshop?
    Obvious vested interest is obvious.

Richard Scherer Richard Scherer 5:28 pm 14 Feb 21

Drivers need to learn to merge properly! A broken whlte line means give way. An electronic stop/give way sign for traffic coming off Hindmarsh Drive and Cotter Road would cost little.

Paul Hinchy Paul Hinchy 2:05 pm 14 Feb 21

Why waste money on the roads when dumb drivers will still be dumb . Training drivers properly in the first place would go along way to fixing problems..

Too many times issues are created by drivers who shouldnt be on the roads in the first place

Nick Meo Le Nick Meo Le 1:58 pm 14 Feb 21

Jojo Cats If only people actually knew how it works.

    Jojo Cats Jojo Cats 9:52 pm 14 Feb 21

    Nick Meo Le nothing will help Canberran drivers...

Jarrod McAneney Jarrod McAneney 11:52 am 14 Feb 21

You need “smart drivers” first

Annie De Vries Annie De Vries 10:52 am 14 Feb 21

I think a few more electric signs outside the arboretum & the gde would help - indicate there's traffic ahead etc. Another helpful indicator is encourage the slow drivers to stick to the left lane. I'm tired of canberran drivers doing 20 under especially right before the cameras are.

John Sykes John Sykes 9:20 am 14 Feb 21

It's simple science, to get greater throughput, you increase the size of the road or you increase the speed. That's a scientific fact.

Slowing the road may lead to less significant crashes, however possibly more crashes due to conflicting speeds.

It will not improve the overall flow of traffic, it can only reduce the capacity. At absolute best it will smooth the traffic flow, making everyone late for work.

Build a 3rd lane, increase speed and take drivers off the road that can't do the speedlimit. Those are the only workable answers.

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