It was an honour co-chairing the 2019 Australian ITS Summit – a great event that promotes the development and deployment of technologies that deliver safe, efficient, and sustainable transport across all public and private modes.
This year’s theme centred around Shaping Future Transport, which opened the door to exciting discussions and bold new ideas.
Here are my top five takeaways from the two-day event.
1. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is shifting from concept to reality
The Australian transport industry has never seen the level of change that it is currently experiencing. MaaS offers the potential to drastically improve commuter choices, reduce travel costs, increase network capacity and transport sustainability while improving social and environmental outcomes.
MaaS is no longer a concept with case studies being shared around alternative modes of transport, including on-demand bus services, electric scooters, and the early use of autonomous shuttles. What united the conversation was the better connections between the different modes of transport and the critical role data plays in connecting everything.
2. Congestion issues in metro areas are one step closer to being solved
Did you know that approximately 30 per cent of urban congestion is caused by cars looking for a park? The good news – ITS partners are developing smart technology that shares real-time information about where to find a park to improve the flow of traffic.
Another great example is the use of dynamic speed monitoring on major freeways. For example, The Western Australian Government is set to reduce congestion on its highways by approximately 30 per cent through the use of dynamic speed monitoring rather than building additional lanes.
3. Predictive technology will play an essential role in the future of ITS
Innovative ITS technologies are already available – providing real, tangible benefits to commuters.
For example, ‘time to leave’ alerts are gaining in prevalence and popularity. Thanks to predictive technology, commuters can now assess their route based on real-time congestion to minimise their time in transit.
Intelematics has also developed a predictive battery algorithm that informs vehicle owners of an impending battery failure before it occurs. It’s these predictive technologies that work to keep people moving.
4. Visions are set on a more sustainable future
Many conversations centred around the sustainability benefits of ITS technology. ITS technology creates greater efficiencies across our transport networks; for example, the ability to regulate services on demand. These efficiencies create a reduction in emissions and congestion, which, in turn, make our cities more sustainable.
Combined with the push for alternative, sustainable fuel sources and the development of infrastructure to support these vehicles, a future of zero vehicle emissions and zero roadside casualties through smart, predictive transport systems may soon be a reality.
5. Collaboration, partnerships and diversity are crucial to innovation
Collaboration, partnerships and diversity were recurring themes throughout this year’s Summit. In an industry with so many moving parts, the best solutions are developed when multiple players combine resources and ideas. We need to see continued collaboration, particularly between government and industry, to ensure we’re embracing ITS technologies in the best possible way to plan for a sustainable future that helps keep people moving.
The quicker we embrace and develop ITS technologies, the faster we reap the benefits, which include improved safety, reduced harmful carbon emissions and reduced congestion.
The ITS Summit is always a fantastic event – and this year was no exception. I, for one, can’t wait to see how ITS progresses over the next few years and how Intelematics will continue to play an essential role in keeping Australians moving.
Stephen Owens is the Chief Operating Officer at Intelematics and served as co-chair at this year’s ITS Summit in Melbourne.