Management & Operations

Light Rail Projects Make Inroads in U.S., Beyond

Posted on November 18, 2013 by Janna Starcic, Executive Editor

Page 3 of 3

A rendering of Perth,
Australia’s MAX light rail line.
A rendering of Perth, Australia’s MAX light rail line.

Perth, Australia
A public-private partnership model is being considered to fund Perth’s MAX rail network.

In the international light rail arena, Perth, Australia is planning a 13.7-mile light rail network called Metro Area Express (MAX).

The proposed route runs from the suburb of Mirrabooka on the north end through the central business district of Perth before branching out to a medical center in the west and a transfer station to the east. This key corridor is not currently served by any high-capacity public transportation.

One particular section of the route along the corridor, Alexander Drive, one of cities busiest public transit bus corridors, has reached capacity and is unable to meet current and future demand.

Funding for the light rail project is expected to come from a combination of state, federal and private sector sources. Additionally, a P3 model is being considered. The state and federal governments have invested a combined $16 million for the initial planning phase.

The Department of Transport (DoT) of Western Australia has selected a joint venture of Parsons Brinckerhoff and AECOM to form an integrated services team for the next phase of the MAX network. The joint venture is working with the DoT to develop a business case for the $1.7 billion project.

David Thomas, MAX project director for DoT, says the project will introduce a new era of public transportation to Perth.

“MAX will support the city’s transformation by providing a frequent, high-capacity service in the inner-north and central west and eastern suburbs of Perth,” Thomas says.

Essentially, a modern electric light rail system, the new MAX network, will be quiet and efficient. It will be built along existing street corridors and largely separated from general traffic. Stations will be built on raised platforms featuring shelters and security cameras. Although the type of vehicles to be used has not been determined, they will be air conditioned, and ticketing for the system will be integrated with the region’s existing smart card system.

The project is seen by the city as a catalyst for change and is being coordinated with land-use planning, with the intention of stimulating revitalization and new developments along the proposed alignment, according to project officials.

MAX is a priority project for the state government, with construction scheduled to commence in 2016. The first stages of the network are due to be operational by the end of 2019.

RELATED: "Light Rail Line Links Salt Lake City with Airport."

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