Burnley tunnel pace lights

Australia’s first pacemaker lighting system has had a significant impact on Melbourne’s peak hour traffic since it was introduced to the Burnley Tunnel 12 months ago.

The pacemaker lights give drivers a nudge to maintain their speed on the Burnley Tunnel’s steep incline. And one year on, we are happy to report the lights are doing the job. Since their installation we’ve seen a 17% increase in speed (about six km/h) through the tunnel during the morning peak and a 12% increase in the evening peak.

Our General Manager Operations, Phil Naulls, said the improvement is not just restricted to peak hours. “Over the course of the day between 7am–7pm motorists are travelling through the Burnley Tunnel 10% faster now compared to before the lights were installed, Phil said.

Phil says journeys are also smoother, particularly in the morning peak where we have seen a 70% reduction in stop start traffic.

Drivers travelling around the city on the weekend are also benefiting from the lights’ impact on traffic, with Saturday journeys through the tunnel around 15% faster and Sunday trips 13% faster.

And when there has been congestion in the tunnel, traffic is recovering to the normal speed limit 95% faster compared to before the lights were installed. These results are even more impressive considering traffic across the CityLink network has increased by 2.2% in this same time period, with more than 1,600 extra vehicles getting through the tunnel between 7am and 7pm.

While there are more vehicles in the tunnel, drivers are actually going faster. So, we’re getting more people through, and in quicker times.

Phil added the improved traffic flow is also beneficial for trucks – we’ve seen 30% fewer truck breakdowns since the pacemaker lights were switched on. This is because truck drivers aren’t using their brakes as frequently. 

“With the lights operating, truck drivers can maintain consistent speeds, lowering stress on their engine and resulting in fewer truck breakdowns,” Phil explained. “Truck breakdowns are the single biggest factor for congestion on the network, so anything we can do to reduce breakdowns makes a difference for motorists on CityLink.”

As part of a major upgrade of the Burnley Tunnel, Transurban also replaced the tunnel’s operational lighting system with LED lighting.

The new LED lighting is not only 35% brighter than the existing lights but also 25% more efficient. As of 1 January, CityLink is using 100% renewable energy from Victoria.

More from our newsroom

No articles found for the selected Keyword