In August 2018, published its evidence base, covering 10 technical areas, in preparation for the delivery of its Advice on Automated and Zero Emissions Vehicles Infrastructure. In support of the activity, ITS Australia submitted the following to Infrastructure Victoria.
We applaud the directive the Victorian Government has delivered to Infrastructure Victoria in both the investigation of infrastructure needs for deployment of zero emission and automated vehicles, and in opening consultation with industry and other stakeholders. This is an important piece of preparatory work and is of course of material interest to our members and we are pleased to offer the following submission for consideration.
We particularly wish to commend Infrastructure Victoria for the strength of their evidence based approach and the collaborative nature of the work the consultants engaged undertook to ensure we are building on the existing body of research and understanding to better grasp the challenges and opportunities these technologies offer.
There’s much discussion these days about once-in-a-generation change; digital disruption, major demographic and societal shifts, and mega-projects offering improvements unimagined by our grandparents or sometimes even parents. What has not been seen before though is the kind of unprecedented potential for change in transport we are currently experiencing.
In undertaking a research project into Mobility as a Service in Australia, ITS Australia conducted interviews with more than 80 leaders in the transport and technology sectors, across government, industry and academia and a strong theme emerged; that not since the mass-production of private vehicles c1920 has there been such potential for revolutionary change in the transport sector.
Transport innovation like ‘Mobility as a Service’ (MaaS) offers the potential to drastically improve customer choices, reduce travel costs, increase network capacity and transport sustainability while improving social and environmental outcomes.
While the mass-production of private vehicles obviously had a stunning impact on society and the built environment, the advent of connected and automated vehicles and other revolutionary technologies offer the potential for even greater levels of disruption.
Concepts like MaaS and evolving our transport networks are ways we can adapt to and positively leverage societal and technological disruption.
A key consideration that was agreed across experts interviewed was the need for collaboration and cross-jurisdictional standards and policy frameworks.
A strong government role will be critical to ensure that the deployment of these technologies is guided to improve the quality of life for citizens. Governments need to provide strong regulatory oversight to give the public confidence in testing and deployment as well as support collaboration across industry and the community.
To that end we are strongly supportive of existing and emerging pilots and trials underway and proposed around the country, building a collaborative and transparent understanding of the challenges and opportunities these technologies offer, and ensuring that public safety is always the key consideration.
Government should also play a key role in working with the private sector to facilitate deployment and remove unnecessary regulatory barriers to enhance the widespread deployment of +technologies.
Government play a unique role in the transport sector as organisations that both operate as transport providers and policy-makers with a primary consideration of serving their communities most effectively, efficiently, and equitably.
To that end governments and organisations like Infrastructure Victoria are crucial in planning for the future of transport and crafting the policy and regulatory frameworks in which they operate, and importantly, working with their communities on building understanding and consensus for these exciting opportunities.
We would urge Infrastructure Victoria to provide advice to government on the most likely and advantageous of the scenarios modelled in the development of this report, ideally this would also include suggested pathways from the current situation to the optimal future outcomes. This will offer some measure of certainty to both industry and government and better enable decision making going forward.
As a peak body that represents national and international organisations we also strongly support an approach that works towards harmonisation and cross-jurisdictional considerations.
ITS Australia commends the Victorian Government and Infrastructure Victoria in looking to gain a better understanding of these important once-in-a-generation opportunities and are keenly interested in supporting any efforts to acquire information from industry that will support the on-going planning for these opportunities and pave the way for way for future transport technology in Victoria.