Land Transport Technology
Technology in the transport sector is undergoing rapid change, bringing with it opportunities to improve a number of key areas including safety, accessibility, efficiency and sustainability.
The Australian Government is committed to encouraging the development and deployment of new technologies and is working with states and territories towards a nationally consistent policy and regulatory environment (see National Policy Framework on Land Transport Technology).
In October 2018 the Deputy Prime Minister announced the established the Office of Future Transport Technology to enhance the Federal Government’s strategic leadership role, to coordinate more cohesively with other governments and agencies to implement future transport technologies in Australia more successfully and responsibly.
What are the emerging technologies?
Important technological developments in land transport include:
- Automation—vehicles with a relatively sophisticated level of automation, such as self-parking or traffic jam assist, are already commercially available in Australia. Most major vehicle manufacturers, as well as several large technology companies, are developing vehicles with higher levels of automation, including vehicles that are designed to require no human control.
- Connectivity – the next generation of connected vehicles, which involve Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS), will be able to communicate with other vehicles (V2V), road-side infrastructure (V2I) and other devices, such as mobile phones (V2P) for a wide range of safety and efficiency applications.
- Smart Infrastructure – sensor data and advanced analysis techniques such as machine learning are providing new opportunities to optimise the performance of existing infrastructure. This includes opportunities for better predicting maintenance requirements and improved infrastructure planning.
- Sharing economy – innovative car-sharing and ride-sharing services are providing a viable alternative to car ownership for some consumers. This could accelerate long-term trends away from car ownership, and impact on travel patterns and infrastructure use.
- Zero emission vehicles – falling costs and new storage options are likely to make electric-powered vehicles and other alternative fuel technologies (such as hydrogen fuel cells) more popular in the future.
What are the potential benefits?
The main opportunities of new technologies are:
- Safety – emerging transport technologies have considerable potential to reduce the number and severity of crashes by providing warnings to drivers, or by reducing the need for human decision-making.
- Efficiency and Sustainability—the use of technology has significant potential to improve the efficiency of existing assets. These transport technologies may have flow-on environmental benefits such as fuel savings and emission reductions from shorter trips and reduced congestion.
- Accessibility – technology can help serve the needs of all users, including the elderly and those with a disability, by facilitating more convenient access to transport.