WA awaits decision

The plan looks at public transport upgrades which will also have some effects on the freight network

The Western Australia Government has submitted its proposed Perth Transport Plan 2031 to the Parliament, with hopes to release it for consultation next month.

The plan proposes many public transport infrastructure projects to deal with Perth’s estimated 2.7 million population growth by 2031 including, the East-West City Link expansion, rail and bus transit system upgrades, and inner city road improvements.

But apart from increasing connectivity and reducing congestion in the public transport network, the proposed changes will also have some implications on other road users including commercial vehicles.

The report suggests that the heavy vehicle freight network will remain largely unaffected by the changes proposed by the public transport network plan as it revolves mainly around local roads that "do not overlap or impact on the strategic metropolitan freight network".

However, it looks into the light commercial vehicle (LCV) sector to find that since the road usage of such vehicles can be spread across the entire day instead of a morning or evening peak, LCVs do not require special road lanes such as those allocated to heavy occupancy passenger vehicles such as buses.

Light commercial vehicles "do not need to meet a demand in the peak period and have a whole-of-day opportunity for delivery of goods or tradesmen can access work sites and suppliers outside of the peak period.

"As such it is proposed that LCV not be specially provided for as part of the allocation of road space for public transport vehicles."

The plan notes the topic of allocation of road space to public transport vehicles "opens up a broader debate about how the urban transport task will be managed.

"This includes the impact of on-road priority for public transport on other road users, including light commercial vehicles and heavy vehicle freight, and whether the dedication of road space should also be available to other road users where appropriate."

It suggests the need for a broader metropolitan network plan and strategy to "fully explore this challenge and define appropriate use of the network".

Despite the government’s optimism on the plan that has been over six years in the making, the opposition remains doubtful it will have any real benefits in its current form as it leaves out a core issue – funding.

"We are into believable and deliverable public transport solutions for Perth, not some concepts, which should have actually been delivered by now and not just creating documents," shadow transport minister Rita Saffioti says.

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