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Light rail and intersections?

By WoodenAgent - 1 March 2015 60

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According to Capital Metro:

Who will have priority at traffic lights?

A level of priority is typically provided for light rail to help the service run efficiently. This occurs as a part of planning that helps the light sequencing to support the major traffic flow (such as the inbound traffic in the morning peak). This means that the major vehicle traffic flows generally benefit through light rail priority work.

We already know that the railway will go on the same grade (i.e. level) as cars, trucks, buses, bicycles and people. This means we will fight over who has priority at intersections.  Unless the trams can have absolute priority, they will be time-inefficient.

Elevating the public transport overcomes these issues quickly.

Is there evidence that the government has considered the option to elevate the trams or use another elevated technology, like aerial ropeways (gondolas)?

Lastly, must we use steel wheels? Paris metro moved to rubber wheels.

What’s Your opinion?


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60 Responses to
Light rail and intersections?
dungfungus 3:48 pm 02 Mar 15

rubaiyat said :

Skyring said :

Over the years I’ve watched as driving becomes ever more inconvenient and expensive. If the road gets upgraded, the speed limit drops. More shops and more people means less parking. Red light and speed cameras everywhere. More traffic lights. higher fees.

My prediction is that at every point where the light rail encounters car traffic, the light rail will prevail. It might be an empty tram versus a packed street, but the drivers will come off second best.

An elevated system would be far more expensive. Not going to happen. Far cheaper to pass a few laws with Green support.

This seems to be a strange obsession with you, the elevated light rail. What next, elevated ferries running on Canberra’s lakes?

Seems to be a nonsense distraction form the real issues of viable routes going to real destinations within a long term workable budget.

Personal jet-packs are the answer.

rubaiyat 3:36 pm 02 Mar 15

Skyring said :

Over the years I’ve watched as driving becomes ever more inconvenient and expensive. If the road gets upgraded, the speed limit drops. More shops and more people means less parking. Red light and speed cameras everywhere. More traffic lights. higher fees.

My prediction is that at every point where the light rail encounters car traffic, the light rail will prevail. It might be an empty tram versus a packed street, but the drivers will come off second best.

An elevated system would be far more expensive. Not going to happen. Far cheaper to pass a few laws with Green support.

This seems to be a strange obsession with you, the elevated light rail. What next, elevated ferries running on Canberra’s lakes?

Seems to be a nonsense distraction form the real issues of viable routes going to real destinations within a long term workable budget.

rubaiyat 3:28 pm 02 Mar 15

rommeldog56 said :

[The tram will not stop at lights.

Early on I recall reading/hearing something from Canberra Metro that the lights for the cross traffic across Northborne Avenue will be syncronised to allow the tram to pass without stopping. There would be no point having the tram stop at lights – there is only a 3 minute advantage over busses as it is now (by Canberra Metro’s own admission).

According to the Red Rapid timetable the Light Rail and buses will run practically on the same schedule.

Yes the Light Rail WILL stop at the lights.

Not much of a system if it doesn’t let passengers on and off!

btw Nothing runs at the speed limit. Depending on traffic everything runs slower, in peak time much slower.

The Light Rail in L.A. does however run fast, faster than 70km/hr.

Maybe it’s the American obsession with getting somewhere. Something that seems to be missing in the ACT.

dungfungus 2:27 pm 02 Mar 15

danieleatspizza747 said :

If according to Capital Metro “This means that the major vehicle traffic flows generally benefit through light rail priority work”, this surely means that the traffic signals for motorists down Northbourne Avenue will be synchronized with those for the tram. What puzzles me is how this will work with regard to speed differentials between motorists and the tram.

As far as I am aware, the light rail is set to travel at a speed of 70km/h for its entire length. This makes synchronising traffic signals on Flemington Road very easy, where the current speed limit is 70km/h. However, once the tram reaches the Federal highway, the speed limit for motorists increases to 80km/h, then drops to 60km/h just before Antill Street. From there, it currently remains at 60km/h all the way to Civic.

Does this mean that the speed limit on the Federal Highway will be decreased to 70km/h for motorists, supposedly for the “safety” of increased pedestrian traffic? If the tram continues down Northbourne at 70km/h, where the speed limit is 60km/h for motorists, you can be sure that this would further encourage motorists to travel at 70km/h to receive signal priority and green lights, as most people seem to do anyway (because the speed limit used to be 70 down Northbourne and the light phasing was never altered to work for 60km/h traffic).

On another note, even at present, Flemington Road between Well Station Drive and the Federal Highway desperately needs to be widened to at least 2 lanes (if not 3 lanes) each way for the entire length to cope with peak hour traffic to increase the capacity of the road. According to light rail plans, this whole section will be reduced to just one lane each way (which will make things WORSE than it is currently, with significantly increased traffic in 2019 when the tram opens). This includes the permanent removal of the bus lane from south of Sandford Street.

To me this is absolutely disgraceful; Capital Metro appears to be deliberately cannibalizing other forms of transport to encourage patronage, especially impacting the bus network. Who WOULD take the bus if the removal of the bus lane meant 10 extra minutes stuck in traffic?

I understood that the “70 kmh” referred to the maximum speed of the tram.
A Melbourne tram’s average speed is about 12 kmh in the metro area.

danieleatspizza747 1:39 pm 02 Mar 15

If according to Capital Metro “This means that the major vehicle traffic flows generally benefit through light rail priority work”, this surely means that the traffic signals for motorists down Northbourne Avenue will be synchronized with those for the tram. What puzzles me is how this will work with regard to speed differentials between motorists and the tram.

As far as I am aware, the light rail is set to travel at a speed of 70km/h for its entire length. This makes synchronising traffic signals on Flemington Road very easy, where the current speed limit is 70km/h. However, once the tram reaches the Federal highway, the speed limit for motorists increases to 80km/h, then drops to 60km/h just before Antill Street. From there, it currently remains at 60km/h all the way to Civic.

Does this mean that the speed limit on the Federal Highway will be decreased to 70km/h for motorists, supposedly for the “safety” of increased pedestrian traffic? If the tram continues down Northbourne at 70km/h, where the speed limit is 60km/h for motorists, you can be sure that this would further encourage motorists to travel at 70km/h to receive signal priority and green lights, as most people seem to do anyway (because the speed limit used to be 70 down Northbourne and the light phasing was never altered to work for 60km/h traffic).

On another note, even at present, Flemington Road between Well Station Drive and the Federal Highway desperately needs to be widened to at least 2 lanes (if not 3 lanes) each way for the entire length to cope with peak hour traffic to increase the capacity of the road. According to light rail plans, this whole section will be reduced to just one lane each way (which will make things WORSE than it is currently, with significantly increased traffic in 2019 when the tram opens). This includes the permanent removal of the bus lane from south of Sandford Street.

To me this is absolutely disgraceful; Capital Metro appears to be deliberately cannibalizing other forms of transport to encourage patronage, especially impacting the bus network. Who WOULD take the bus if the removal of the bus lane meant 10 extra minutes stuck in traffic?

fernandof 11:41 am 02 Mar 15

Just like Skyring, I too am very disappointed with the lightright scheme. The Greens’ and Labors’ policies for Canberra’s sustainable transportation are ludicrous and not integrated with the existing infrastructure and our lifestyle. Specifically the with the lightrail, it’s the kind of feel-good schema that looks great on an academic paper, but completely fails in the real world.

The are huge amount of criticism about this program, from the relatively small benefits due to its limited routes, through the disturbance of existing traffic pathways, all the way to the reduction in ACT parking lots to pay for this overpriced nonsense.

JC 11:41 am 02 Mar 15

rommeldog56 said :

JC said :

Considering the light rail is going to run down Northborne Ave, I wouldn’t be too worried about priority and the need to build expensive flyovers.

Already for car traffic, traffic on Northborne Ave has ‘priority’ so trams will just follow the same priority. I gather the only difference will be is if light rail stops at lights, then the first phase rather than turning traffic, as is the case now, it will be thru traffic, with turning coming second.

About the only intersection where Northborne Ave seems to get equal or less priority compared to other roads is Barry Drive/Cooyong Street intersection, which is near the end of the route anyway.

You can’t be serious ?

The tram will not stop at lights.

Early on I recall reading/hearing something from Canberra Metro that the lights for the cross traffic across Northborne Avenue will be syncronised to allow the tram to pass without stopping. There would be no point having the tram stop at lights – there is only a 3 minute advantage over busses as it is now (by Canberra Metro’s own admission).

Serious about what?

Can you name one public transport system in the world, bus, tram or light rail, where priority at lights means they change to allow the transport system passing without stopping? Heavy rail level crossings don’t count!

I cannot think of one, not one. Priority means they get priority, not a green light all the way.

Out of interest do you know that in the past Action buses on the old 333 route had transponders to give priority at lights on Belconnen way/Barry Drive?

JC 11:36 am 02 Mar 15

Skyring said :

Antil Street, Murdoch Street, Morphett Street, Wakefield Avenue, and a few other cross streets, not to mention those north of Dickson, all will be affected. I wouldn’t be surprised if that handy Morphett Street crossover gets eliminated completely. Not just the crossing traffic, but turning traffic will be affected if not blocked completely.

No matter how you cut it, ordinary drivers are going to be bumped down a notch in convenience.

Next election, I’m voting for the Motorists Party.

Antil steet the main flow is Northborne Ave way.
Murdoch Street doesn’t have lights and doesn’t need them.
Morphett Street doesn’t have lights, but could do with some. But should pose no great issue because you can only go from Northborne Ave (north bound) into it.
Wakefield Ave, again main flow is Northborne Ave.

North of Antill street I believe the plan was/is to run along the side of Northborne Ave, so will bypass the Barton highway intersection, but will have to cross Phillip Ave. Again despite its size Phillip Ave is a minor road, so no issue there, then of course comes the entry into Flemmington Road.

Bajar 8:06 am 02 Mar 15

After watching the arguments from DC Haas in his “Light rail for Canberra” Facebook page, I have turned off the idea of Light Rail. Given that it is now cheaper for me to drive to and from work than ACTION buses ($30 a fortnight on half a tank at over $1.20 per litre vs. $45 a fortnight on MyWay), there is a clear solution – make ACTION Buses cheaper and more reliable. Easier said than done, but surely it’d be cheaper than a whole new infrastructure project ripping up the Northbourne trees and stifling traffic flow even more.

gooterz 8:56 pm 01 Mar 15

Giving trams the absolute priority is the only way they will work.

BUT….

It also negates the need for trams as buses can be given the same priority.

PROBLEM SOLVED, save a billion dollars!

rommeldog56 7:11 pm 01 Mar 15

JC said :

Considering the light rail is going to run down Northborne Ave, I wouldn’t be too worried about priority and the need to build expensive flyovers.

Already for car traffic, traffic on Northborne Ave has ‘priority’ so trams will just follow the same priority. I gather the only difference will be is if light rail stops at lights, then the first phase rather than turning traffic, as is the case now, it will be thru traffic, with turning coming second.

About the only intersection where Northborne Ave seems to get equal or less priority compared to other roads is Barry Drive/Cooyong Street intersection, which is near the end of the route anyway.

You can’t be serious ?

The tram will not stop at lights. Early on I recall reading/hearing something from Canberra Metro that the lights for the cross traffic across Northborne Avenue will be syncronised to allow the tram to pass without stopping. There would be no point having the tram stop at lights – there is only a 3 minute advantage over busses as it is now (by Canberra Metro’s own admission).

That means that cross traffic will he held up more – but it shouldnt be too much more – just enough to allow the tram to pass through the intersection. Its all part of the plan……

Im glad I dont live on that side of town and need a car to get to/from places not on the tram line.

Skyring 5:34 pm 01 Mar 15

JC said :

Considering the light rail is going to run down Northborne Ave, I wouldn’t be too worried about priority and the need to build expensive flyovers.

Already for car traffic, traffic on Northborne Ave has ‘priority’ so trams will just follow the same priority. I gather the only difference will be is if light rail stops at lights, then the first phase rather than turning traffic, as is the case now, it will be thru traffic, with turning coming second.

Antil Street, Murdoch Street, Morphett Street, Wakefield Avenue, and a few other cross streets, not to mention those north of Dickson, all will be affected. I wouldn’t be surprised if that handy Morphett Street crossover gets eliminated completely. Not just the crossing traffic, but turning traffic will be affected if not blocked completely.

No matter how you cut it, ordinary drivers are going to be bumped down a notch in convenience.

Next election, I’m voting for the Motorists Party.

gazket 3:11 pm 01 Mar 15

who cares , we get what we are given nowadays.

JC 12:29 pm 01 Mar 15

Considering the light rail is going to run down Northborne Ave, I wouldn’t be too worried about priority and the need to build expensive flyovers.

Already for car traffic, traffic on Northborne Ave has ‘priority’ so trams will just follow the same priority. I gather the only difference will be is if light rail stops at lights, then the first phase rather than turning traffic, as is the case now, it will be thru traffic, with turning coming second.

About the only intersection where Northborne Ave seems to get equal or less priority compared to other roads is Barry Drive/Cooyong Street intersection, which is near the end of the route anyway.

Skyring 9:59 am 01 Mar 15

Over the years I’ve watched as driving becomes ever more inconvenient and expensive. If the road gets upgraded, the speed limit drops. More shops and more people means less parking. Red light and speed cameras everywhere. More traffic lights. higher fees.

My prediction is that at every point where the light rail encounters car traffic, the light rail will prevail. It might be an empty tram versus a packed street, but the drivers will come off second best.

An elevated system would be far more expensive. Not going to happen. Far cheaper to pass a few laws with Green support.

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