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19 November 2020

President's Report 2020

Dean Zabrieszach

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2020 was extraordinary for ITS Australia, a year like no other. Like all our members and industry peers, we at ITS Australia were challenged by the ongoing pandemic and the significant demands it created across our business. Pleasingly, with the positive engagement of our partners and team members we were able to adapt to new challenges at pace, with an emphasis on maintaining the vital connections that enable growth and progress in our industry.

Events & Digital Activities

In March, as it became clear that our business would move online, ITS Australia began ramping up its program of webinars. For the past few years we have held regular webinars led by Policy Manager, Stacey Ryan and we were able to swiftly expand our webinar program to provide the industry with a means to connect whilst working from home.

Since March we have held 30 webinars, roughly one each week. These webinars have covered an exhaustive range of topics—encompassing C-V2X, community transport, CAV trials, Vehicle Generated Data, and freight movement—and we have had the opportunity to speak to transport leaders from across the entire country. Often the webinars were an opportunity for us to come together and reflect on the ways that the unfolding pandemic changed our transport networks, our businesses, and our professional lives. The webinars also enabled us to maintain a connection with our peers around the world; our ongoing MAX: Michigan Australia Exchange in Mobility series brings together new mobilities expertise from Australia and the United States.

Throughout the year, ITS Australia’s webinars have been attended by more than 2,000 of our members, and we have had more than 7,000 webinar registrations. The 30+ hours of digital broadcasting that we delivered this year was rich with insight, robust discussion, and new ideas. I give my thanks to all of you who participated in one of our webinars this year.

In September, we held Mobility 2020. Ordinarily held in-person, this year’s Mobility conference became our first-ever fully online conference. Over the two-day program we saw the continued speed of progress in new mobilities, on-demand, and MaaS. We were fortunate to have the Hon. Andrew Constance, NSW Minister for Transport and Roads, open the conference and he was followed by a host of fantastic speakers from across the industry. With more than 300 attendees, from 17 countries, the event was a great success and another valuable way for us all to stay connected this year.

Policy

Throughout this year, ITS Australia’s important project and policy work continued, with workshops and reference groups continuing in the online space. In May, we held the inaugural meeting of ITS Australia’s National Transport Data – Community of Practice (CoP). The CoP grew out of the strong interest of ITS Australia’s members in uncovering and accelerating the opportunities for transport that can be gained from data and analytics.

This year, our MaaS National Reference Committee continued to meet regularly. The committee is made up of project participants and representatives from ~50 key organisations to ensure representation by a broad range of professional expertise. Committee members contribute to and collaborate on the development of Mobility as a Service in Australia by sharing updates on activities in respective jurisdictions and organisations; including research, trials, and international engagement. Under the guidance of the committee, we published a discussion paper on MaaS Data Sharing. The paper was led by a working group of subject matter experts with representatives from the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Department of Transport WA, and the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.

In partnership with our members, ITS Australia works to design relevant and effective research projects to support a range of transport industry activities and goals. In 2020, ITS Australia completed two significant research projects. The first project Unlocking Shared Mobility: Investigating free-flow parking for car-share in Australia explores how across Australia, there is increasingly intense competition for kerbside space and parking. This Unlocking Shared Mobility research is made possible with funding from partners through iMOVE Australia on behalf of the Australian federal government. Project partners are RMIT, IAG, Cubic Transportation Systems, and Royal Automobile Association of SA.

The second project, Connectivity in C-ITS: Investigating pathways to accelerate the uptake of road safety and efficiency technologies was funded by iMOVE Cooperative Research Centre, the University of Melbourne, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, with support from IAG, Intelematics and Transmax. In the project, researchers focused on understanding cooperative intelligent transport system (C-ITS) technologies that would help drivers in eight main ways including; lane guidance, curve speed, collision avoidance, do not pass and blind spot warnings, intersection movement and right turn assistance, plus pedestrian safety messages.

17th ITS Asia Pacific Forum

At the beginning of the year, and to our great disappointment, we were forced to postpone the planned 17th ITS Asia Pacific Forum. With the tremendous support of our partners, sponsors and exhibitors, the forum will go ahead from Monday 12 – Thursday 15 April 2020. We have partnered with the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, a Queensland Government Department of Health Approved COVID Safe Venue, to provide a safe environment to support a vibrant conference and exhibition. We look forward to hosting 800+ attendees in Brisbane with digital access for speakers and attendees who are unable to attend in person.

With a program featuring more than 70 sessions and over 300 presentations, the forum will offer an immersive experience for all of our delegates and a welcome opportunity for all of us in the industry to reconnect. I hope to see you there.

Diversity

For the past few years, ITS Australia has monitored the gender diversity of our association, and we are pleased to report back to members. As in previous years, I note that while overall diversity is our goal—and an important one—gender diversity has been selected as an initial focus on the basis that to enhanced gender diversity has been shown to provide a pathway to improve overall diversity.

I am exceedingly pleased to report that over the past year ITS Australia has made modest but meaningful progress as we seek to have greater gender diversity across all parts of the organisation. This graph below highlights that the industry we operate in, based on our membership and event delegates, has 25% or less female representation. This figure represents a 3% increase from 2019. Looking at our other activities, the gender profile is generally more balanced than the industry apart from the board profile and speakers at our events, typically representing the more senior representatives of the industry.

I am particularly pleased to see that, this year, 21% of our event delegates were women, compared to 15% the year previous. ITS Australia’s events are enlivened by their increasingly broad and diverse audiences. In the coming year the Board will look to ensure that this trend toward increased representation continues.

As an initiative to support diversity and particularly retention of women across the various stages of their careers into more senior roles in the organisation, ITS Australia has recommitted to offering complimentary registrations to our events for members on parental leave for three or more months. The intention is that this will enable members taking extended leave to stay connected with their professional networks and keep up to date with developments in the industry. We also invite members on parental leave to consider participating in one of our committees as another avenue to extend professional networks and remain active in the industry during a career break. Members who have employees who are interested in taking up this invitation are encouraged to contact the office for more information.

Brand & Technology

Throughout ITS Australia’s business, we are investing in the future. In March, we launched a redesigned and refreshed website. Each year, more than 100,000 people visit ITS Australia’s website. The new website will serve as a clean, modern and engaging home for our events, policy work, webinars and industry information.

This year many of you accessed the ITS Australia Portal to register for one of our events or webinars. This new system enables our team to provide a more seamless and effective member experience. Over time, the Portal will evolve to support our members with an increasing range of educational and informative resources.

Throughout this year we embarked upon a brand development project. The first part of the project was to create a more cohesive and recognisable set of logos for ITS Australia’s events, making them immediately recognisable to both our established and loyal stakeholders as well as new entrants into our ever-growing industry. In the new year, you will begin to see the result of this new design work across our event material. The second part of the project was to evolve ITS Australia’s logo into the future with an updated and modernised design. As we look forward into 2021, all of us on the Board of Directors are eager to lead ITS Australia into the post-pandemic world with renewed vigour and enthusiasm. This new logo represents all of our collective ambition for the great things to come at ITS Australia.

Leadership & Team

On behalf of the Board, I extend our thanks to the ITS Australia team for working tirelessly to continue offering services to our members this year. Most importantly, we thank Susan Harris, our Chief Executive Officer, for her incomparable commitment to ITS Australia. Finally, I am grateful to my colleagues on the Board for their energetic and invaluable contributions to the leadership and governance of the association.

Most importantly, I thank all of ITS Australia’s members. It is only with your unwavering support this year that we have been able to continue serving and leading the industry. I look forward to our making further progress in the year ahead.

With the year’s end nearly upon us, Australia has reached a point of relative stability in the fight to suppress the pandemic, and we are now beginning to see hopeful reports about the vaccines that will end this crisis. I believe that we can all look toward the coming year with optimism.

Dean Zabrieszach
President, ITS Australia
November, 2020

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