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  • ITS news
  • Enhanced Road User Education the Key to Future Project Success

27 March 2024

Enhanced Road User Education the Key to Future Project Success


Over two days in Brisbane at this year’s Roads, Tolling and Technology Conference, ITS experts discussed the data and technology that can deliver massive safety and efficiency benefits for our road networks, but warned that educating and convincing road users is critical for these benefits to be realised.

The conference, which attracts ITS leaders from industry and government, has expanded in recent years to cover not just toll roads, but all aspects of road operations and the interconnected technologies that drive them.

This year's conference began with a look at significant road and technology projects from across Australia and New Zealand, with host state Queensland, through the Department of Transport and Main Roads, outlining the systems, technologies and innovation driving their network management of the massive 33,000 kilometres of State roads.

Attendees were also given an insight into the complexity of the transformational North East Link Project in Victoria, described as the missing link in Melbourne’s freeway network. As well as outlining the intricate land use planning decisions preceding the project and the complex tunnelling component of the build, Major Road Projects Victoria CEO Duncan Elliott described the key to success to-date and into the future as having a ‘social licence’. This includes the intensive engagement with 34 sporting clubs along the North East Link route to relocate and rebuild new and enhanced facilities, as well as the imperative to keep communities informed by providing real-time and accurate information on disruptions and alternative travel solutions.

ITS Australia CEO Susan Harris reiterated the critical theme of focusing on the end user, which emerged as a major talking point both in and out of sessions over the two days.

“Our expert presenters were consistent in their desire to put customers at the centre of what they do, arguing the best solutions will be achieved by ensuring user engagement at all stages of project development,” said Ms Harris.

“Nowhere was this more evident than in the critical discussions on the topic of data and privacy, where panellists stressed the need to clearly explain the benefits of data sharing to consumers.”

As an industry, we must work collaboratively to sell to the community the safety benefits that come from data sharing, while reassuring them about the safeguards in place to ensure the highest privacy standards are maintained.

Susan Harris / CEO, ITS Australia

During the plenary panel session ‘Data Sharing vs Community Privacy Expectations’, a lineup of industry and government leaders looked to Europe as a template for the urgent work that needs to be undertaken in Australia to implement clear frameworks for data governance.

Panellists agreed that collaborative governance was the critical next step to support the broad ITS ecosystem in managing data appropriately but stressed while government must set the scene for the work to be done, it was not the job of government policy makers alone to design the framework.

“Industry operates on the signals it gets from government, this is a critical starting point for government and industry to get together and develop a plan for implementation that also includes appropriate data governance. Ultimately, in the case of government it needs to just do it!” said Adviser and Consultant Chris Koniditsiotis, who was on the panel.

A key feature of day two of the conference program was a panel discussion in which toll road operators, tolling tech providers, and government leaders delved into the key future technology challenges and opportunities in operating and managing motorway tolling systems.

According to the panel, Australia’s ITS industry has been a world leader in building cross border partnerships across all sectors to deliver harmonised tolling solutions, but that collaboration must now continue into the C-ITS generation of tolling.

The panel also considered global technology innovations, with representatives from tolling technology leaders Kapsch and Q-Free sharing insights into solutions operating in other countries and how we could use that technology to significantly enhance Australia’s tolling ecosystem.

The conference also featured a wealth of fascinating contributions from industry leaders including Carla Hoorweg, CEO, ANCAP Safety; Matthew Bereni CEO, Traffic Management Association of Australia; Rita Excell, Head of Transport – ANZ, Amazon Web Services; Pablo Ruiz, Head of Operations – Australia, SICE; Dr Geoff Allan Chief Executive Officer, Austroads and Associate Professor Doug Wilson, Director of Transportation Research Centre, University of Auckland

In addition to the comprehensive two-day program, a small group of industry leaders convened for an ITS Australia hosted Thought Leadership Dinner on the Tuesday evening before the conference. The guest list, which comprised senior leaders from ITS Australia Platinum and Gold Member organisations were privileged to hear a keynote address from ANCAP CEO Carla Hoorweg, who provided an overview of ANCAPs program of work and their aspirations to partner with the ITS industry into the future.

The ITS sector will continue many of the important conversations canvassed at Roads, Tolling and Technology at the annual ITS Australia Summit 2024, taking place in Sydney from 13 to 15 August. Under the theme, ‘Safe, Sustainable and Inclusive Transport for Vibrant Communities’, more than 1000 attendees from Australia and abroad are expected in Sydney to tackle the critical issues and help shape Australia’s transport future.

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