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Future mobility and services

Future Transport Strategy

Technology-enabled mobility and services

Emerging technologies and innovations, matched with advanced data analytics, bring major new opportunities for customer services and operational improvements. Technology development has always occurred, but the pace of development and opportunities is now growing significantly, making this area a major focus for Transport for NSW. 

Mobility is increasingly technology led, where data sharing and smartphone apps are matching customers with transport services in many more ways than before, with opportunities to personalise services to suit customers’ changing needs. Mobile technology and intelligent systems are providing customers with a single integrated platform for planning, booking and paying for end-to-end journeys on a wide range of modes. Customers can also opt-in to receive more personalised and proactive trip planning, payment and service information.

Recent innovations mean public transport passengers, bike riders, pedestrians and drivers can easily access relevant information, increasing customer satisfaction. For example, we have real-time passenger capacity information for Waratah trains and metropolitan buses, so passengers can see which services have spare capacity before boarding (updated quickly for physical distancing rules as part of NSW’s COVID-19 response). Bike riders can now plan their trip under three different preferences – easier, moderate or most direct.

We created Contactless Transport Payments for an easy way to pay for public transport using a credit or debit card or a linked device, and have extended the convenience of Opal fares to new on-demand services through Opal Connect. Customers with disability and mobility impairments can access multi-modal accessible trip planning, including via voice command, and regional bus customers can now access real-time tracking and passenger occupancy information in trials that will be rolled out in more regional cities, to help them decide how and when to travel. 

Our operational technologies are also developing rapidly, with smart sensors able to share rich insights on movement patterns and disruptions with intelligent decision engines, supported by artificial intelligence and machine learning, able to quickly and accurately adjust road and rail network management. With NSW’s new Spatial Digital Twin, real-time data from sensors will provide a digital 3D spatial representation of transport assets and services that can be visualised with historic and future scenarios to facilitate better planning, design and modelling of NSW’s future needs.

Telematics visualisation shows heavy vehicle counts on roads in NSW, using satellite tracking and wireless communication technology to remotely monitor where, when and how vehicles are being operated on the road network. These smarter technologies help our infrastructure and service investments operate more efficiently, to provide the best value to the community.

In addition, emerging vehicle technologies are providing benefits, with electric vehicles now offering valuable cost savings and cleaner, quieter operation. Zero-emission buses will replace diesel buses and improve air quality in centres, and e-bikes and cargo bikes are providing new forms of transport. More vehicles are gaining new levels of automation for improved safety, and NSW continues to trial more highly automated vehicles in metropolitan and regional settings.

The rise of ridesharing is an example of how traditional service models have been updated with technology through advances in GPS navigation devices, smartphones and networks that can coordinate drivers, customers and payment systems. NSW is supporting the integration of ridesharing for ‘first- and last-mile’ connections to public transport services.

Car sharing is also on the rise, with State and local governments in NSW actively enabling car sharing through changes to parking permit arrangements. Bike sharing has also been introduced by the private sector.

As the scale and pace of innovation increases, so too does the challenge of predicting technology adoption. Just as with changes in travel patterns due to COVID-19, our forecasts and modelling of future mobility patterns need to allow for such uncertainties, look for early ‘no regrets’ actions, and be able to adapt and innovate; and we must provide the right settings and environment for this to happen. 

While customers – and markets – ultimately determine whether a technology is widely used, governments play a key role in enabling new technology solutions by first ensuring safety, and also adapting regulations, service provision, data sharing and collaboration with customers, the private sector, and the research, design and start up communities.

Six principles for Future Transport

The Future Transport 2056 Strategy is focused on six key principles for the future of mobility in the state, which together aim to positively impact the economy, communities and environment of NSW.

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