Perth motorists may soon have the option to make a left turn on a red light in a new trial under consideration by Western Australian traffic authority Main Roads WA.
Should it proceed, the trial, modelled on a similar trial currently underway in Brisbane, is aimed at reducing congestion on Perth's busy roads. There, as in many other growing cities, queuing in turn lanes at lights has become a major problem during peak times.
The proposal is that vehicles be permitted to turn left at a red light, but only after giving way to other road users (a practice allowed in many overseas jurisdictions).
However, Main Roads WA says it will not propose an introduction for the trial until a similar project already under way in Brisbane is completed.
“Following completion of this trial, the Council will carry out analysis to determine the feasibility of implementing this concept on a permanent basis,” Mains Roads said on its website.
Speaking with TMR today, an RAC WA spokesperson said that there is no conclusive evidence to support the introduction of a 'left turn on red' rule to Australian roads.
"There are some safety concerns with the introduction of left turn on red, however the RAC would welcome a trial to test the feasibility in Western Australia," the spokesperson said.
The Brisbane trial, which began in November last year, is due to finish in coming weeks.
Announcing the trial in November, Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the trial would introduce “relatively minor changes” at five intersections in the city in a bid to reduce congestion.
“The trial has been introduced as part of my ongoing commitment to ensure Brisbane is an accessible, connected city by delivering a range of congestion reduction measures,” Cr Quirk said.
Deputy Mayor Adrian Schrinner said that the locations were selected after consultation with the Department of Transport, assessing the intersections against requirements for sight distance, pedestrian activity, cyclist activity and sufficient clearance for buses and trucks.
Speaking with TMR today, RACQ Executive Manager Technical & Safety Policy, Steve Spalding, said that compliance from road users is key to the trial's success.
"Motorists complying with signage and road rules is critical to achieving safety where LTOR is used, the trial must closely evaluate this aspect," Mr Spalding said.
"Along with evaluating safety outcomes, it is important any claimed benefits in congestion have been properly measured and quantified during the trials," he added.
Mr Spalding said that the Brisbane City Council has yet to release the results of its trial, and a similar program already carried out on the Gold Coast has also yet to be detailed.
South Australia and NSW are also understood to be gradually phasing out left turn on red sites over similar safety concerns.