Providing Reliable and Efficient Movement of People and Goods

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Government Goal

Better Places


Optimise real-time traffic management of the network, provide traveller information, improve asset management planning and support service delivery.

About the Program

The program includes activities associated with the management and operation of the road network, the Traffic Operations Centre, road safety support, Heavy Vehicle Services, Network Operations and Planning and Technical Services.

Key Performance Indicators
Community satisfaction with Main Roads target was achieved and has increased slightly since last year

Community satisfaction with Main Roads target was achieved and has increased slightly since last year

Percentage of the Network permitted for use by heavy vehicles B-Double – 27.5 m target was met

Percentage of the Network permitted for use by heavy vehicles B-Double – 27.5 m target was met

We exceeded our target for percentage of the Networks bridges that met standard criteria for strength target

We exceeded our target for percentage of the Networks bridges that met standard criteria for strength target

Program Expenditure

  2017 2018 2019
Program expenditure ($million) 125 136 128

Looking Ahead

Projects and activities planned for next financial year, some of which have already commenced, include the following:

  • complete the development and agree on a consolidated five-year Congestion Strategy and Movement Program
  • manage Smart Freeway operations
  • improve network performance monitoring and reporting, by expanding the Addinsight system
  • complete Selective Vehicle Detection proof of concept for buses and emergency vehicle priority at traffic signals
  • undertake the Heavy Vehicle Compliance Automation Project
  • examine recommendations from the WA Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme Operational Review
  • develop a Chain of Responsibility gap analysis tool
  • work with Industry to minimise the environmental impact and improve the whole-of-life sustainability of our construction projects, including greater use of crushed recycled concrete, reclaimed asphalt pavement and crumb rubber modified seals and asphalt
  • engage with Infrastructure WA on future planning for the state, including the development of the State Infrastructure Strategy
  • develop a Main Roads approach to achieve better outcomes that align with the new State Road Safety Strategy.

Some of these are already underway; visit our Projects website to find out more.

Network Operations Achievements

Traffic Signal Timing Improvement Project

Our Road Network Operations Centre (RNOC) delivers projects and programs for managing congestion and improving journey times and reliability. A major success is the project reviewing traffic signal timing efficiency at all traffic signals on the State road network. Over the last four years this program has successfully demonstrated that slight changes to signal timings and better coordination can significantly improve journey times along key signalised routes.

This year we optimised traffic signal timings on one-third of our metropolitan State road network (131 signals) and reviewed 100 signals in the South West, Pilbara, Wheatbelt, Mid West – Gascoyne and Goldfields–Esperance regions.

The project has delivered up to 22 per cent journey-time improvements on some routes during peak periods, with examples below:

  • Bussell Highway (Busselton): In the AM peak, travel time through the study area has improved by 2 minutes and 39 seconds (22 per cent improvement) in westbound direction.
  • Tonkin Highway South (Perth): In the AM peak, travel time through the study area has improved by 2 minutes and 30 seconds (10 per cent improvement) in northbound direction (direction of peak traffic flow).
  • West Coast Highway (Perth): In the PM peak, travel time through the study area has improved by 2 minutes and 47 seconds (16 per cent improvement) in northbound direction (direction of peak traffic flow).
  • Great Eastern Highway Outer (Perth): In the PM peak, travel time through the study area has improved by 1 minute and 38 seconds (11 per cent improvement) in eastbound direction (direction of peak traffic flow).

Some local roads are better shared

As part of providing world-class outcomes for our customers through a safe, reliable and sustainable road-based transport system, we work closely with local government to develop and deliver shared spaces within key activity areas at town centres. Using shared spaces for managing competing demands can improve street-front activity, support sustainability and give an alternative to traditional traffic signals resulting in lower maintenance costs. 

We have been working with representatives from metropolitan local government, to promote the concept of shared space as an alternative street design approach in urban activity centres. The City of Perth has been using the shared space guidelines for some sites. The most evolved of these concepts is Hay Street, between Pier Street and Irwin Street, allowing the City to consider removing two sets of traffic signals. Further expansion of the initiative is under consideration.

Pedestrian Safety Initiatives at Traffic Signals

We are updating pedestrian crossings at traffic signals to operate as ‘parallel walk’ crossings. The update benefits both pedestrians and vehicles using the road network. These crossings allow vehicles to travel through an intersection while pedestrians are crossing the road in a parallel direction to the vehicle movement.

Compliance with the give way rule, where turning motorists must give way to any pedestrians crossing the road into which they are turning, is fundamental to the effectiveness and safe operation of these crossings.

One of the initiatives we have undertaken in an effort to improve driver awareness and compliance and to support pedestrian confidence with the rule, is to install ‘Give Way to Pedestrians’ signs at all traffic signal approaches with these parallel walk crossing facilities.

The project, for all parallel walk crossings in the Perth Metropolitan Region, has been completed and a ‘Give Way to Pedestrians’ public information video is available here.

Incident Management

Managing incidents is a key function in providing a safe and efficient road network for our customers. Traffic incidents and unwanted debris can cause congestion at any time of the day. Demand on existing emergency services to aid in managing these incidents has grown. To help keep traffic moving our Incident Response Service provides quick clearance solutions by safely reinstating roads to normal conditions as quickly as possible after an incident. Following is a summary of incidents from across the state over the past 12 months.

Nature of incident Goldfields-Esperance Great Southern Kimberley Metro Mid-West Gascoyne Pilbara South West Wheatbelt Total
Road crash 22  38  11  2080  53  24  85  66  2379 
Breakdown / tow away 2439  11  10  12  2482 
Debris/trees / lost loads 21  1904  56  27  2029 
Flooding 41  77 

Public utilities (gas, water, power)

99  109 
Bushfire 13  29  13  10  93 
Animal / livestock 189  18  233 
Hazmat (including spills) 71  90 
Vehicle fire 40  58 

Heavy Vehicle Services Achievements

Access and Permits

Our Heavy Vehicle Services area is responsible for improving heavy vehicle safety, productivity and equity of services across the transport industry in Western Australia through compliance, innovation and road asset sustainability. This area: facilitates and regulates the movement of restricted access vehicles in WA; provides traffic escort services for oversize, overmass movements; and works with industry groups and other government agencies at a state and national level.

Total Number of Permits Issued
  2018 2019
Single Trip Permits 10,634 10,657
Period Permits 14,786 16,585
Special Purpose Vehicle Permits 2,394 2,430
Total 27,814 29,675

Joint Border Operations

We continue to lead the way in heavy vehicle safety by coordinating or participating in multi-agency operations. We have worked with: Western Australia Police Force; Department of Transport; Worksafe; Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety; and, for the first time, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s Livestock Compliance Unit. Additionally, cross border operations saw us collaborating with the South Australia Police and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.

Our Transport Inspectors check for compliance with mass and dimension limits, ensuring high productivity and oversize vehicles entering our state are operating in accordance with conditions set under Main Roads’ permits and orders; they also check for currency of heavy vehicle accreditation for Western Australia. 

There is additional monitoring of dangerous goods and for fatigue, followed by reporting to relevant state government agencies as required. Department of Transport inspect roadworthiness and licensing requirements and the local police check for drug and alcohol offences.

Western Australia Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme Operational Review

WA Heavy Vehicle Accreditation (WAHVA) is mandatory for individuals and organisations requiring a permit or order for a transport task within Western Australia for profit or part of a commercial business, including interstate operators. Introduced in 2002, WAHVA involves three mandatory modules Fatigue, Maintenance and Dimension and Loading, which operators are expected to incorporate into their daily work practices. The Mass Management module is compulsory for those wishing to operate under the Accredited Mass Management Scheme.

The Operational Review of the WAHVA Scheme, looking at effectiveness of the scheme and potential changes, was completed in January 2019.

Extensive stakeholder engagement included more than 27 face-to-face interviews, three surveys generating 242 responses and a number of stakeholder workshops. The review report detailed 24 recommendations across four streams: policy, legislation, administration and audit management.

Weigh In Motion Scales and Mobile Vehicle Inspection Station Trailer

In mid-2018 we purchased our first fully mobile, self-contained Vehicle Inspection Station, also known as a Shaker. The unit can:

  • check truck and trailer brakes and suspension
  • test vehicle brake force, brake balance, wheel rolling resistance
  • test vehicle deceleration to determine braking performance and efficiency
  • identify wear and drag on the wheels.

The Shaker has aluminium access ramps leading up to the unit giving a vehicle a smooth transition over the Shaker. The inspection is conducted when driving the vehicle, axle by axle, over the device allowing a Transport Inspector to examine the vehicle’s steering and suspension components.

Weigh-in-motion scales are now used, giving a preliminary measurement of the weight of each individual axle group and the total mass of a heavy vehicle without the need for more accurate but time-consuming traditional scales. The inspector can assess whether further measurement is required to determine the level of any overload. When used collectively at a roadblock, this new equipment helps make the inspection process more efficient, allowing compliant drivers to get back on the road more quickly.

To see the shaker in action view a video here.

Planning and Technical Services Achievements

Household Travel and Commercial Vehicle Surveys

On behalf of the Transport Portfolio we are responsible for the delivery of the Perth Area Travel Household (PATHS) and the Commercial Vehicle Surveys. The PATHS is an innovative transport data survey where householders are randomly selected and invited to participate in a survey to capture their travel behaviour. The survey participants are interviewed and invited to carry a GPS logger to capture their travel movements over the working week.

This approach is a world-first. Perth metropolitan residents had a high response rate of 43 per cent; more than 1,600 households voluntarily had their travel data recorded over the last 12 months. This data is currently being analysed, and collection of Year Two data has begun.

We have also developed an innovative methodology for capturing a snapshot of freight movements across the Perth metropolitan area. The Commercial Vehicle Survey methodology will be a world-first, a result of close collaboration between Main Roads, the Department of Transport and the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage. 
The survey will capture freight movements at both the business premises and vehicle level, integrating to provide more detailed freight data. Surveys will commence next year with the data used to better model Perth’s future freight movements, enabling more effective transport infrastructure planning and decision-making.

Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems

Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), or drones, have become low-cost devices for capturing information and offer increased availability and connectivity with available sensors; their deployment is becoming more affordable and desirable. We have activities that will be complemented, enhanced and perhaps one day replaced by the operation of remote devices such as RPAS. Benefits of this technology are delivering positive outcomes for staff safety, data capture, automation and asset awareness.

In May 2019, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority granted a Remotely Piloted Aircraft/Drones (RPA) Operators Certification to Main Roads. This allows us to conduct authorised operations of RPA aircraft.

Road Safety Management System Progress

Our Road Safety Management System (ROSMA) integration process took place in all operational and high priority branches across Main Roads. This process of meeting with each area to ensure Safe System principles are embedded in each of our priority areas led to a business case for further enhancements. This will ensure ROSMA is fit for purpose whilst reducing the need for ongoing support and having a more integrated tool for ease of use. It is envisaged streamlining and integrating the tools into one system will reduce the time undertaking ROSMA on a project and improve compliance and overall road safety benefits.

Towards Zero and the Safe System approach highlight the importance of managing the interaction of road users, roads and roadsides, travel speeds and vehicles for preventing crashes and serious-injury crash outcomes. The Safe System acknowledges that even the most compliant road users make mistakes, so the road system needs to be forgiving and cater for these errors. The strategic approach is to take a longer view – developing a 12-year strategy, looking at the research, partnering with key stakeholders and encouraging a shared implementation. Our road traffic safety management system is based on the belief that no one should die or be seriously injured on the State road network and we are committed to managing the network to minimise likelihood of road trauma to all road users.

Local Roads WALGA
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