There is growing interest in the concept of Trackless Trams as part of the suite of transport technologies available to help shape more urban outcomes. However, there is much more for decision- makers to consider than the vehicle itself. This paper discusses both the city shaping possibilities of these systems and the challenges and opportunities inherent in integrating new technologies into existing city systems.
Informed by studies, field trips and current trialling of the technology this paper documents the history of the trackless tram from rail to optically guided bus with level 4 autonomy. It describes the potential role of integrated transit systems anchored by Trackless Trams in transforming our cities from car- dominated roadways to green interconnected living streets or activated transit corridors with new urban centres.
The paper then applies the technology to Australian cities using the theory of urban fabrics and how it can assist urban regeneration in all three fabrics: walking, transit and automobile urban fabric. A framework of seven design approaches is used to see how the Trackless Tram could be integrated into the urban regeneration process. It uses work done in Townsville, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth as case studies to illustrate how Trackless Trams could help transform Australian cities in various urban fabrics across their cities. New governance systems and changes to planning rules will be needed to deliver this.