Road authorities turned to technology-based solutions to manage traffic growth and improve travel times as maximising network efficiency came under increasing pressure. 

WA's first Smart Freeway has transformed the commute of thousands of Perth's southernmost drivers, by decreasing driving times and smoothing their journeys. Work began on the Kwinana Freeway in July 2018 and in the second half of 2020 this heavily congested motorway became a leader in Intelligent Transport Systems in the country.
Over 800 devices now work in unison to reduce traffic congestion, improve safety and cut at least 10 minutes from the average driver's journey.

Perth's newest Smart Freeway has brought the future of motoring to Western Australia for the very first time. Leading edge technology has transformed a 13-kilometre section of the Kwinana Freeway from Farrington Road to the Narrows Bridge.

Working in collaboration as part of the SmartWays Alliance with Main Roads WA, BMD Constructions and Arup, the joint team brought a collective 70 years of freeway design and construction experience. This included technology professionals, to help Main Roads WA bring its integrated vision for the northbound section of the Freeway to Life.
Understanding that the solution had to maximise the existing infrastructure due to constraints posed by the Swan River and an existing railway, the design process began in mid-2018.
Initial work focused on drainage installation, relocation of communication infrastructure and installation of large electronic lane management signs in early 2020, until all asphalt works were completed in early May. It then progressed to the installation of emergency bays and gantries, safety of motorists during transit, incident and accident management and minimising travel time. The project team then coordinated electrical installation testing and commissioning, and rigorous testing of technology for operations was completed. All smart freeway equipment and devices were fully integrated and tested offsite before installing onsite.
Meaningful stakeholder engagement was undertaken throughout the Project to ensure it would be delivered in the best interests of those who use and live by the Freeway. A strong focus on indigenous engagement and participation saw the Alliance exceed set targets and provide meaningful opportunities.
The smart technology that now powers the Kwinana Freeway is buried beneath the bitumen, connected by fibre optic cable and with power supply safeguards to safeguard the electronic signs against blackouts. Controlled from the Road Network Operations Centre in Perth's CBD, the $47 million-dollar Smart Freeway delivers two Australian firsts - the first radar-based automatic incident detection system and the first full matrix, full colour Lane Use Management Signs and motorist advisory signs ever implemented.

Freeway with digital sign

Community and client outcomes

Thirteen radar units automatically detect incidents like breakdowns and help guide emergency crews to clear the road quickly, keeping traffic moving. Twelve overhead gantries open and close lanes and adjust speed limits, while coordinated signals at five on-ramps improve traffic flow, making merging easier. By removing an existing emergency lane, a fourth lane has also been added that runs from Canning bridge to the Narrows, to smooth a major bottleneck in peak times.
Overall, the new 'smarter' stretch of the Kwinana Freeway provides motorists with greater journey reliability, saving time, reducing costs and enhancing safety.