Trackless tram business case given the green light

WA’s first trackless tram between Scarborough Beach and Glendalough has been given a federally-funded boost with a $2 million business case set to commence within months.

The initial proposal is set to extend for seven kms from the coast along Scarborough Beach Road to Stirling City Centre, with connections through to the Perth CBD on the existing heavy rail network at Glendalough Station.

Trackless tram technology does not require tracks and operates on existing roadways making them easier and less expensive to incorporate into traditional transport systems.

Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said the trackless tram technology had the potential to be expanded into public transport systems across the country.

“This is ground breaking technology that has the potential to be rolled out across our cities,” Mr Tudge said. 

“Being a fraction of the cost of traditional rail solutions it could enable a massive expansion of public transport, it is very exciting,” Minister Tudge said.

Federal Member for Stirling, Vince Connelly MP, said that making transport more convenient and accessible will increase visitor numbers to Scarborough Foreshore and boost local businesses whilst also providing a new service for residents to reach Glendalough Station on their commute into the CBD.   

“The City of Stirling’s number one strategic priority for the last decade has been transforming the Stirling City Centre into Perth’s second CBD, focusing on the extension of Stephenson Avenue as the first stage. In the 2020 Budget, the Morrison Government increased its support for this project from $65 million up to $82.5 million.

“The next phase of this strategic plan is to link the Stirling City Centre, which includes the Herdsman-Glendalough, Innaloo and Osborne Park Precincts with the Scarborough Foreshore Redevelopment using Trackless Tram technology. This will connect to the existing heavy rail at Glendalough Station ultimately linking the Perth CBD to Scarborough Beach.

“Businesses in the Scarborough Foreshore Precinct are not operating at full capacity due to heavy congestion and lack of availability of parking. It is anticipated that improvement of transport options along Scarborough Beach Road will create a ‘development corridor’ effect to attract new businesses, and the business case is an important first step towards this goal,” Mr Connelly said.

Federal Member for Curtin, Celia Hammond MP, said the decision to allocate the funding reflects the needs of the local community along the border of her and Mr Connelly’s electorates. 

“Over 15,000 people attend the Scarborough Sunset Markets every Thursday night and struggle with congestion and parking. The electrically-powered and rechargeable trams have the potential to reduce this congestion as well as improve air quality by lowering pollution.

“It is incredibly exciting to see the City of Stirling leading the way on this new technology, which can be powered by renewable energy at recharge stations along the route.

“The initial community consultation showed significant support for the tram initiative, but the business case process will be important in determining the specifics of how trackless tram technology works in the Australian context,” Ms Hammond said.

City of Stirling Mayor, Mark Irwin, said work towards the trackless tram system is partly underway with the route already having been zoned for light rail years ahead of other localities in Western Australia.

“Long-term, comprehensive Local Government planning is already approved, and land holders along the route have already ceded the road reserve land required to widen Scarborough Beach Road and deliver the rapid-transit lanes required for the trackless tram system.

“This has meant we were the first local government in Western Australia ready to receive these Federal funds, and we look forward to proving up this concept in order to take the City forward into a new decade of prosperity,” Mayor Irwin said.

Trackless tram technology could strip hundreds of cars off the road every day along the busy Scarborough Beach Road, reducing congestion along the popular corridor and relieving car parking issues at the $100 million redeveloped Scarborough Foreshore Precinct - all whilst reducing carbon emissions.

The business case will establish: 

  • the economics of trackless tram as an alternative to light rail in Australia
  • the planning requirements associated and estimated timelines, and
  • the necessary business growth and other indicators that would establish a successful route.

Media Contact:

Minister Tudge – Michael Bennett 0434 782 923

Vince Connelly – Scott Stirling 0431 392 814