Skip to content Skip to main navigation

News

Daily flights from Canberra
to Singapore and the world

Do we need an integrated traffic management system?

By beejay76 12 April 2011 32

I just drove from Harrison to Belconnen. I hopped down the GDE, stopping at every intersection for a red light. Then I stopped at every intersection on Gininderra Drive, then I stopped at every intersection on Coulter. By the end, I was getting the right royals, I don’t mind telling you. I’m not generally prone to road rage, but honestly!

It got me thinking about the light phasing. In Sydney, there’s a system called SCATS which manages the phasing of traffic lights to maximise the even flow of traffic. I’m guessing we don’t have anything like that in Canberra.

While Canberra doesn’t have anything like the congestion problems that Sydney has, there have been so many times where the shocking light phasing seems to stuff up the traffic. As I was watching all the cars around me stop every 15 seconds or so, even though the traffic was light, it made me wonder how much extra fuel is being wasted, and how much more carbon is therefore emitted, simply by poor phasing of traffic lights.

What’s Your opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
32 Responses to
Do we need an integrated traffic management system?
Filter
Showing only Website comments
Order
Newest to Oldest
Oldest to Newst
wallabyted 7:13 am 15 Oct 11

With the cost of installation and maintenance of a set of traffic lights (which no one seems to have the advanced skills to program correctly anyway), maybe it would actually be cheaper to just train and hire unemployed workers to direct traffic at intersections with lollypops during the busier periods. Then at least one would think we would achieve both intelligence and fairness in traffic management at an intersection.

what_the 10:48 am 13 Oct 11

damien haas said :

Some traffic lights seem totally unnecesary, i think there are several sets on Ginninderra Drive that could be replced by a roundabout, benefitiing everyone. A new set of lights has just been installed in Kaleen, which would have been better as a roundabout. In fact, im noticing a general trend away from roundabouts to traffic lights.

That intersection would have been perfect, rather than the current ones that are timed, dont have sensors and I reckon have made traffic flow worse. And dont even get me started how they concreted and painted in a majority of the slip lane to turn into Kaleen which backs up the right lane of traffic, not sure what genius thought that was a good idea…

TAMSMediaRoom 10:20 am 13 Oct 11

Canberra uses SCATS to control the traffic lights. This is the same system used in NSW. As a general rule, Territory and Municipal Services (TAMS) coordinates the traffic lights on arterial roads to favour the peak direction of traffic, eg towards the City in the morning, away from it in the afternoon.

Coordination outside peak periods is more difficult because traffic flows along the arterial roads are not predominantly in one direction or the other. As main road flows are much lighter, drivers on the side roads or pedestrians trying to cross can get frustrated waiting on what seems like long red lights that often result from coordinated fixed-cycle time operation.

For that reason not all arterial roads are coordinated during off peak periods. However TAMS is actively looking to see if overall benefits can be achieved by introducing coordination on more of these routes during off peak periods.

Mooze 8:34 pm 12 Oct 11

SCATS hasn’t really been updated since the 1980’s – bit of tweaking for Olympics but that was it. Check out Mall of America, or several cities in California that have the more up to date.
Australia used to have a lot of good Traffic management Engineers – mainly with AWA (who actually did most of SCATS for RTA), most have since headed overseas – US, Middle East and South East Asia (especially Singapore) being the usual destinations.

steveu 5:49 pm 12 Oct 11

wallabyted said :

In Dec 1980 the ABS estimated the population of Canberra at around 230,000. In Mar 2011 the ABS put the ACT population at around 360,000. In the early 1980s there were very few sets of traffic lights (round abouts were more favoured) and the speed limits on most arterial roads (eg Northbourne Ave) was much higher than today.
I would estimate qualitatively that even though our population has increased by less than 50% over the last thirty years, our traffic has increased by a factor of at least 10. I don’t remember traffic issues anywhere in Canberra back in the early eighties. I think it is the traffic lights that have created our traffic problems by starting and stopping traffic – noting that a significant portion of the time, traffic lights stop traffic in ALL directions. Perhaps another contributing factor might be that many single carraigeways have remained that way under increased traffic flow. Its time our planners did a proper study of traffic flows. If using an external consultant it should be sure the consultancy doesn’t present a conflict of interest in that the consultant should not be allowed to directly or indirectly sell the solution.
As an aside, the TAMS site mentioned in previous posts states “In light to medium traffic conditions, roundabouts can cause less delay to traffic movement than traffic lights. In these instances the relatively low maintenance costs of roundabouts will mean that their installation is preferred.” – but I don’t think they have been following their own stated policy on this one of late.

There has definitely been a significant increase in the installation of traffic lights vs roundabouts in Canberra over the last 20 years. My gut feeling (without facts behind it I am willing to admit) is that you are right.

Cost probably has been the decision making factor here.

wallabyted 3:09 pm 12 Oct 11

In Dec 1980 the ABS estimated the population of Canberra at around 230,000. In Mar 2011 the ABS put the ACT population at around 360,000. In the early 1980s there were very few sets of traffic lights (round abouts were more favoured) and the speed limits on most arterial roads (eg Northbourne Ave) was much higher than today.
I would estimate qualitatively that even though our population has increased by less than 50% over the last thirty years, our traffic has increased by a factor of at least 10. I don’t remember traffic issues anywhere in Canberra back in the early eighties. I think it is the traffic lights that have created our traffic problems by starting and stopping traffic – noting that a significant portion of the time, traffic lights stop traffic in ALL directions. Perhaps another contributing factor might be that many single carraigeways have remained that way under increased traffic flow. Its time our planners did a proper study of traffic flows. If using an external consultant it should be sure the consultancy doesn’t present a conflict of interest in that the consultant should not be allowed to directly or indirectly sell the solution.
As an aside, the TAMS site mentioned in previous posts states “In light to medium traffic conditions, roundabouts can cause less delay to traffic movement than traffic lights. In these instances the relatively low maintenance costs of roundabouts will mean that their installation is preferred.” – but I don’t think they have been following their own stated policy on this one of late.

beejay76 11:45 am 20 Apr 11

montana said :

“I just drove from Harrison to Belconnen. I hopped down the GDE, stopping at every intersection for a red light. Then I stopped at every intersection on Gininderra Drive, then I stopped at every intersection on Coulter.”

am i the only person who has noticed the OP has taken the longest possible route to belconnen?

Nup. It’s the shortest. Shorter than going via Gundaroo, shorter than Billy Slim. However, am now questioning whether it’s the *fastest*…

montana 10:55 am 20 Apr 11

“I just drove from Harrison to Belconnen. I hopped down the GDE, stopping at every intersection for a red light. Then I stopped at every intersection on Gininderra Drive, then I stopped at every intersection on Coulter.”

am i the only person who has noticed the OP has taken the longest possible route to belconnen?

beejay76 11:28 am 15 Apr 11

Thoroughly Smashed said :

beejay76 said :

Spectra said :

It got me thinking about the light phasing. In Sydney, there’s a system called SCATS which manages the phasing of traffic lights to maximise the even flow of traffic. I’m guessing we don’t have anything like that in Canberra.

Yeah, if only we had something like that. (3rd paragraph, in case you’re not much for reading).

…I used to travel up Drakeford drive and onto the parkway…

Because I’m sure nobody’s ever even thought about that….

Seriously people, 5 minutes with Google.

Thanks for the link. It confirms there is no coordination along those major roads. Every time a car approaches from a side street, the entire main thoroughfare is brought to a halt. Most irritating. At one intersection on Gininderra, I watched it go red (from my position pulling out of the previous red light) because a single car had arrived from a side street. There were about 20 cars halted along Gininderra to allow a single car minimal waiting time.

How on earth did you draw that conclusion from that article?

From the description of “modes of operation”. Isolated = exactly what we see along the major roads, at least outside of peak times. I haven’t seen anything like the ‘”coordinated” description, although I don’t drive at peak times, or perhaps not on the roads where they are.

Thoroughly Smashed 9:39 am 15 Apr 11

beejay76 said :

Spectra said :

It got me thinking about the light phasing. In Sydney, there’s a system called SCATS which manages the phasing of traffic lights to maximise the even flow of traffic. I’m guessing we don’t have anything like that in Canberra.

Yeah, if only we had something like that. (3rd paragraph, in case you’re not much for reading).

…I used to travel up Drakeford drive and onto the parkway…

Because I’m sure nobody’s ever even thought about that….

Seriously people, 5 minutes with Google.

Thanks for the link. It confirms there is no coordination along those major roads. Every time a car approaches from a side street, the entire main thoroughfare is brought to a halt. Most irritating. At one intersection on Gininderra, I watched it go red (from my position pulling out of the previous red light) because a single car had arrived from a side street. There were about 20 cars halted along Gininderra to allow a single car minimal waiting time.

How on earth did you draw that conclusion from that article?

pandaman 6:35 pm 14 Apr 11

damien haas said :

There is a whole raft of very poor technical and planning decisions made by Roads ACT. Ive often wondered why with all thw continuing expense of thw GDE, there are still traffic lights where it passes over the Barton Highway, Ginninderra Drive and Belconnen Way.

Logically all four MAJOR roads would be better served if traffic flow was uninterrupted, but no, traffic lights to access the GDE go on and off with no real algorithm. Its easy to mock the cloverleaf flyovers of the US highway system, but at least the traffic keeps moving.

I’ve often wondered why the only cloverleaf in the whole system is from Barton Hwy onto the GDE heading towards mitchell. The answer from Roads ACT would probably be something to do with cost, but considering what they’ve been willing to spend on the abomination so far……?

damien haas 6:25 pm 14 Apr 11

There is a whole raft of very poor technical and planning decisions made by Roads ACT. Ive often wondered why with all thw continuing expense of thw GDE, there are still traffic lights where it passes over the Barton Highway, Ginninderra Drive and Belconnen Way.

Logically all four MAJOR roads would be better served if traffic flow was uninterrupted, but no, traffic lights to access the GDE go on and off with no real algorithm. Its easy to mock the cloverleaf flyovers of the US highway system, but at least the traffic keeps moving.

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2018 Region Group Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
the-riotact.com | aboutregional.com.au | b2bmagazine.com.au | thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site