New-age tram pitched for trial in central Geelong

A plan for a next generation public transport solution that can ease traffic and parking congestion in the Geelong CBD has been submitted to the State Government.

The Committee for Geelong is pushing for a $7.5m trial of an Advanced Rail-less Tram to connect key urban fringe collection points with CBD destinations such as the Westfield shopping centre and the hospitals.

Prepared by urban planning and design experts Urbis, the submission identifies a potential route for a high-frequency, high-volume Advanced Rail-less Tram.

The potential route mostly uses Moorabool St, between GMHBA Stadium and Malop St, and Ryrie St, between Bellerine St and the Try Boys Basketball Stadium, with connections to the Geelong and South Geelong train stations.

Committee for Geelong chief executive officer Jennifer Cromarty said support for electric, zero emission, ‘trackless trams’ as a next generation public transport solution was growing nationally and internationally and Geelong deserved to be one of the first in the queue for an Australian trial.

“Moving people more easily and more frequently around the city is central to creating a more vibrant, liveable, environmentally friendly city,” Ms Cromarty said. “Geelong is growing fast, and we need modern public transport infrastructure so that we don’t further choke up the CBD with cars.”

The Committee for Geelong’s interest in trackless trams started in 2019 when it led a delegation, involving Urbis and Deakin University, to China to meet a manufacturer and investigate the technology.

The proposed trial submitted by the Committee of Geelong to the State Government involves leasing a 31.6m Advanced Rail-less Tram with a capacity for 288 and installing supporting infrastructure at 10 stops along the route.

Urbis director Breton Fleming said the vehicle’s tram bogie, rather than a bus suspension, low-profile and smooth ride would allow passengers to safely stand as they travelled short distances between stops. 

“These trams look and feel like you are riding on a metropolitan tram in Melbourne,” Mr Fleming said.
“They have smooth acceleration and deceleration. There’s no roll as they corner and it’s very stable to the point you can ride it hands-free much like an inner urban tram.”

Mr Fleming said while any public transport performed better in its own lane, Advanced Rail-less Trams can operate in a shared lane with the impact on the road surface less than that of articulated buses on busy routes.

The Advanced Rail-less Tram and their stations are fully compliant for disability access.

Support for trackless tram trials is growing with similar proposals already put forward to service south-east Melbourne and Wyndham.

Deakin University’s Director- Security, Transport and Retail Karly Lovell said that Deakin remain supportive of new technologies like trackless trams and overall service improvements in the intra-Geelong region.

“New transport technologies will support our community to adopt more sustainable modes of transport to study, work, health services and to once again enjoy social events in our City,” Ms Lovell said. 

The Committee for Geelong’s proposed route for an Advanced Rail-less Tram features the following stops:
South Geelong Station
GMHBA Stadium
St John of God Hospital
Shopping district
Geelong Station
Waterfront/Deakin University

University Hospital
Geelong High
Geelong Conference Centre
Tryboys Basketball Stadium

The Committee for Geelong provides strategic leadership, advocacy, and influence to leverage the economic and social prosperity of our city-region. An independent, non-partisan, membership-based organisation, the Committee for Geelong works collaboratively with an authoritative group of stakeholders and influencers to design Geelong’s best future.

Media contact: Jennifer Cromarty, CEO, Committee for Geelong M: 0413241033;