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11 September 2019

Congestion could cost Australian cities $40bn by 2030, says minister

First publishedon www.ITSInternational.com

Australian state capitals are paying $25 billion per year on avoidable congestion - and could end up paying $40bn by 2030 unless there is a policy change.

That is the stark warning from Alan Tudge, federal minister of population, cities and urban infrastructure, who spoke at Australia’s seventh ITS Summit.

Discussing how ITS technologies can help solve gridlock, he described some of the projects which fall under the Australian government’s $100bn programme of transport infrastructure expenditure – such as ramp metering, dynamic speed limits, reversible lanes, variable signage and traffic signal priority for emergency and freight vehicles – which “can massively increase road utilisation and hence, effective capacity”.

The summit at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, organised by ITS Australia, was attended by more than 500 stakeholders. Key topics included sustainable transport solutions, connected and autonomous vehicles and Mobility as a Service.

Keynote speaker Kirk Steudle, senior vice president of Econolite Systems, emphasised how mobility technologies must evolve with the values of the communities they are intended to serve.

“The fusing of technology into our daily lives shows no signs of slowing down,” he continued. “Integration of technology into the transport network is needed for greater economic efficiency and expansion.”

A panel discussion facilitated by Dennis Walsh, chief engineer at the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, explored how diversity and inclusivity are key to productivity. The panel also included Zoe Eather of Arup on the integration of smart mobility to enable more liveable Australian communities, and Susan Proctor from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation on reskilling older Americans into new roles in smart transport. Kapsch’s David Bolt asked how the industry should engage with younger generations to achieve a wider diversity and how to challenge ‘what an engineer looks like’.

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Department of Transport and Main Roads
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