Mobility Design Lab tram stop project gets on track

The Monash ADA Mobility Design Lab has played a central role in a new initiative that uses recycled plastics from kerbside waste to create innovative modular tram stops.

The Development of Next Generation Tram Stop Platforms Using Recycled Materials project will develop ways to turn recycled plastics into modular components that are ‘fit-for-purpose’ for the construction of future tram stop platforms across Melbourne.

The Lab developed modular structures to enable a variety of flexible responses to tram passenger boarding and alighting needs. Stops can be located for special events or longer installations but at a fraction of the cost of current construction. The project brought together Design, rail engineering, material science, water engineering, accident research, and technologists from across the University to work on the problem with Yarra Trams.

Melbourne’s tram network is the largest in the world consisting of 24 routes, stretching 250 kilometres with more than 1,750 tram stops. Future-proofing tram stop platforms with this innovative modular design, which incorporates hollow drainage features, will not only promote environmental sustainability, but improve constructability with minimal disruption to traffic, less impact by severe flash flooding events and ensure greater accessibility for those living with a disability.

Director of the Monash Institute of Railway Technology, Professor Ravi Ravitharan said the project will identify how reinforced recycled plastics can be used effectively to construct a modular platform that can be rolled out on a large scale.

Our team of researchers will look at a number of suitable options of recycled materials that can be manufactured into a prototype which will then be trial assembled and load tested at the Institute of Railway Technology laboratories. The development will consider recycled rubber for damping components as well as reinforcement options to achieve the intended design concept.

Professor Ravi Ravitharan

The project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between Monash University researchers from the Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Arts, Monash University Accident Research Centre and Monash Art, Design and Architecture with Monash Institute of Railway Technology.

The project, which was recently awarded $300,000 by the Recycling Victoria Research and Development Fund – Materials, is delivered by Sustainability Victoria on behalf of the Victorian Government, as part of Recycling Victoria. The project is a partnership between Monash University’s Institute of Railway Technology, Yarra Trams, Integrated Recycling and Advanced Circular Polymer.

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