The West

Lights key to traffic chaos
Easing the flow: Traffic lights key to easing congestion. Picture: The West Australian

Better sequencing of traffic lights on Perth's major arterial roads could be the key to unlocking the city's traffic congestion, new Transport Minister Dean Nalder says.

But public transport fares are certain to rise over the medium term, with Mr Nalder backing Colin Barnett's call for the taxpayer subsidy to public transport to be progressively reduced.

Mr Nalder, sworn in less than two weeks ago as Transport and Finance Minister after the resignation of Troy Buswell, gave his first extended interview as a minister yesterday.

Mr Nalder said a recent Main Roads trial of longer and better co-ordinated green lights on a 4km stretch of Canning Highway had slashed travel times from Riseley Street, in the heart of his Alfred Cove electorate, to Henley Street in Como by up to six minutes.

The changes to the stretch of road, which has five sets of traffic lights, cost just $500,000, boosting hopes that similar congestion-busting changes could be made in other parts of the city for relatively little investment.

Similar trials are now being conducted on Orrong Road between Leach Highway and Great Eastern Highway and Stirling Highway between Eric and Loch streets.

Asked if it could be a citywide solution, Mr Nalder said: "That's my hope. If we can replicate that result in further sites across the city, I'm keen to do that."

Mr Nalder would not be drawn on the relative merits of the airport-Forrestfield rail and MAX light rail projects.

The Government promised both would be operating by 2018 but only the airport line now has the go-ahead, to be built by 2020.

A decision on MAX has been deferred until after the 2017 election.

"I'm not going to spend a lot of time going back to revisit decisions, because I run the risk of not looking after the ones that are in front of me," Mr Nalder said.

"The decision has been taken."

Asked how realistic the Government's commitment was to build stage eight of Roe Highway - which the Premier said this week could cost up to $800 million - Mr Nalder said: "We have a desire to do it but I think we also need to be a prudent Government when it comes to priorities and managing our financial affairs."

The West Australian

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