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InsightIntelligent Transport Systems – a glimpse into the future

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Intelligent Transport Systems – a glimpse into the future

An update from Melbourne Project Manager Atul Agarwal, winner of the TSA 2018 SMART Prize, following his US study tour with Roads Australia.

I was the lucky recipient of the 2018 TSA Smart Prize which made it possible for me to travel to North America and learn all about Smart Cities and the advancements in intelligent transportation.

Intelligent transport systems (also known as an ITS) is an ecosystem that provides a clear and coordinated system that links different modes of transport together, through specialist management tools. For a customer, this may mean seamless navigation between home and destination through different modes of transportation. For trains, it may mean controlling passenger flow on station platforms and alerting customers to the capacity of carriages. On the road, it could be traffic cameras that provide a quick response to accidents, allowing emergency service vehicles to attend as soon as possible, with diversions quickly in place to keep traffic moving. In other words and intelligent transport system, it provides you as the user with what you need to make smart transportation choices.

No doubt one of the hottest topics in transportation over the last decade or more has been the ongoing research and trials in Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs) space. Another issue gaining momentum is the emerging service industry of Mobility as a Service (MaaS).

America is at the centre of the CAV revolution. The KPMG Autonomous Vehicle Readiness Index (AVRI), which is a tool to help measure 25 countries’ level of preparedness for autonomous vehicles, ranks the United States as number 3 in the world. By comparison, Australia sits 14th on this index.

As we visited the North American cities, my primary focus was to study emerging intelligent transport systems and how these are to be supported by the evolution of physical infrastructure on which these transport systems operate.

Our journey started in the west in Washington DC, where discussions with the US Government departments spanned across challenges related to Safety, Policy, Implementation, Collaboration and Consultation. The general impression we got was that American legislators were conscious not to “get ahead of technology” by locking in regulations and reforms.

In a dynamically changing transportation space which includes not only CAVs but also new micro-mobility options like eScooters, reform is required for regulations to balance with public safety challenges. And, for intelligent transport systems to be successful, these regulatory changes are not enough; innovation is essential for the supporting infrastructure.

Over the coming weeks, I will be sharing my thoughts on both CAVs and MaaS within the intelligent transport system and how project managers and others in the built environment can contribute to and drive change in the sector.

Atul Agarwal, Project Manager
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