Main Roads WA is planning to test a series of radical ideas to combat congestion over the next five years, including the use of freeway emergency lanes for general traffic.
The first is expected to be rolled out early next year, in what Main Roads managing director Stephen Troughton described as a "dynamic" congestion management program.
Mr Troughton conceded some of the ideas would not work, but he said Main Roads would adopt a "suck it and see" approach.
"Congestion is here to stay but we can manage avoidable congestion to make journeys better," Mr Troughton told a Committee for Economic Development of Australia forum this week.
He said many of the ideas were based on experiences in the Eastern States and overseas.
Ideas believed to be under consideration include:
• Modifying traffic signals to improve traffic flow. This could include limiting the use of red right-turning arrows, particularly in off-peak times.
• Changing freeway and highway layouts to help motorists merge by creating dedicated lanes that become off-ramps.
• Introducing traffic signals on freeway on-ramps.
• Varying speed limits, depending on conditions and traffic flow.
Using emergency lanes for general traffic could take one of two forms. It could be restricted to peak-hour traffic, with overhead gantries indicating the prevalent times. Or general traffic could use the lanes permanently, with emergency bays established every 500m or so and emergency response vehicles employed to "push" stopped cars out of the way.
It would probably require the installation of surveillance cameras to monitor traffic flow and a lower default speed limit.
Mr Troughton, who has been in the job for only eight months, said Perth faced a number of transport challenges related to its low urban density and limited river crossings.
And the challenges would grow, with predictions that by 2020 the population would have increased 56 per cent, vehicle kilometres travelled would have grown 104 per cent and road freight would be up 216 per cent.
Mr Troughton said known hotspots would continue to be an important focus.
He said new technology had an important role in traffic management, particularly in providing information about traffic conditions.
Main Roads was working with private sector companies, including TomTom, Google and Intelmatics.
The trial introduction of traffic signals on freeway on-ramps, known as ramp metering, was mooted in the 2012-13 State Budget.But it has been bogged down by a funding standoff between the State and Federal governments.