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Future mobility and services

Future Transport Strategy

The role of government in enabling new services

Creating the right environment for new service models and forms of mobility

Government has been the default provider of transport services. However, the emergence of new technologies and innovative mobility service models is changing and diversifying the transport landscape. The private sector is becoming more involved in transport service delivery and operating in environments that are traditionally the domain of governments alone, and the role of governments is increasingly shifting from direct provider to orchestrator. 

These changes have the potential to catalyse a transformative shift away from a reliance on private vehicles to more shared, efficient and sustainable mobility. This could offer significant benefits to customers and the community, and support the environmental and financial sustainability of the transport system. Part of the role of government is to investigate the opportunities and risks that such a paradigm shift might present, and shape outcomes to deliver the best possible benefits for our customers and the wider community.

The role of government is increasingly becoming about setting network and customer outcomes and ensuring policy and regulatory frameworks are in place to support new service models and integrate new forms of mobility into the transport system. This may involve reducing any regulatory burdens and setting safety and service standards. Government also provides an integration role, enabling customers to move across the transport network and different transport providers. For example, Opal Connect allows customers to move across the network with a single digital account.

In some instances, the role for government will be to get out of the way and allow the market to deliver services. This may be the case where demand for services is high or where the private sector is better equipped to meet customer needs. This aligns with the NSW Government’s position on regulatory frameworks, to ensure unnecessary restrictions on competition are removed. In other cases, the role of government will be to identify and address market failure situations where government intervention is considered necessary to encourage and shape the introduction of innovative services and safeguard the interests of our customers and the community.

An example of government creating a more contestable market is its response to the emergence of rideshare companies. Many customers were quick to embrace ridesharing but regulation did not reflect the ‘shared economy’ approach, meaning rideshare companies were unable to operate legally. Similar services like taxis and hire cars were able to operate legally but were heavily regulated in a way that hampered innovation and created unnecessary barriers to new market entrants. 

Some of the adjustments the NSW Government has made to create the right environment for innovation include:

  • Removed 50 unnecessary regulations on the point to point industry and allowed rideshare companies to operate legally, while continuing to regulate on issues in the public interest, such as safety and consumer protection, and establishing the Point to Point Transport Commission.
  • Introduced legislation to enable automated vehicle trials to ensure new technologies are properly assessed to meet safety, service and customer outcomes. Since the introduction of this legislation, trials commenced in Sydney Olympic Park, Armidale and Coffs Harbour, and a further trial in planned for the Dubbo area. 
  • Established the Open Data Hub and Developer Portal to make Transport’s extensive data sets available to developers, entrepreneurs and data analysts, to create innovative solutions for our customers.
  • Created Opal Connect, providing a new ticketing solution that enables customers to move across the transport network, modes and providers with a single digital account.
  • Supporting the National Policy Framework for Land Transport Technology and delivery of the National Land Transport Technology Action Plan 2020-23.


Future directions to investigate

  • Continue conducting and facilitating pilots of new service models, including Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and on-demand services.
  • Support industry partners in service delivery and engage communities by involving them early in transport and land use planning processes.
  • When reviewing regulation governing the transport system, consider arrangements that could pre-empt or adjust quickly to market disruptions. 
  • Investigate the long-term potential for innovative technologies and service models to transform the future sustainability, performance and customer experience of mobility and place making, with improved data insights allowing for innovation in service provision.

Introducing an element of competition to smaller markets

The NSW Government takes an integrated approach to services, where the customer outcome drives delivery choice regardless of organisational boundaries and constraints. Where government has traditionally had to directly provide public services to meet its obligations to the community, it is now able to play a more sophisticated role in developing a marketplace for, or purchasing, high-quality innovative services, where these deliver better outcomes for customers.

In markets with lower contestability, such as some areas in regional and outer metropolitan NSW and customer segments where disadvantage exists, we will need to look to more innovative procurement practices, where services that better respond to customer needs and deliver better value for money for government are purchased.

An example of a new procurement approach in an outer metropolitan area is Newcastle Transport, a private entity awarded the contract to operate bus, ferry and light rail services, and manage interchanges in the Newcastle area. The contract is outcomes-based, and sets minimum service levels while providing a greater level of autonomy to the service provider to plan and reshape the network. The contract also contains provisions for incentive payments for patronage growth above the base contract rate.

This approach has introduced a level of competition in transport service markets that has not existed before, as the government went out to competitive tender before appointing the service provider. The new network is expected to increase the quantity and quality of services within a more efficient cost structure for government.


Future directions to investigate

  • Go to open market tenders when procuring services, to introduce competition in markets with low contestability and drive customer outcomes.
  • Include arrangements that reward innovation and patronage growth into service contracts.
  • Continue creating a workplace culture where Transport for NSW is equipped to achieve the best value-for-money outcomes from private sector providers.

A focus on service outcomes for customers

New services should improve the customer experience and help us achieve our vision

Traditionally, transport services were strictly defined as the operation of transport infrastructure and fleets. This meant that service providers were dependent on their control or ownership of the physical assets or network. Today, mobile technology is increasingly enabling customer value by connecting providers directly to customers.

The emergence of rideshare companies has significantly changed the point-to-point market, with new online service providers emerging and being embraced by customers. The NSW Government has harnessed the potential of new point-to-point models through changes to legislation. However, this experience has taught us that the pace of change can be swift and unpredictable.

Today, we are at a ‘tipping point’, with more companies developing or operating innovative transport services, and increasing access to funding from investors who see major opportunities to create value from overcoming transport inefficiencies and customer pain points. Unlocking the potential of new services for the benefit of customers requires us to set clear customer outcomes for transport services, engage closely with industry and the community, appropriately exchange data and ensure our infrastructure can support new services.


A marketplace for innovation

The emergence of new services enabled by technology has a number of significant implications for government. It places greater importance on the availability and sharing of data, as markets operate most efficiently and deliver better customer outcomes when people and service providers have access to information.

A new market for service providers requires clear information to be made available to customers in real time so that the transport system is simple to understand, easy to use and can deliver personalised services relevant to individual needs and preferences. For transport customers, this means being able to compare travel times and prices across different transport modes in real time to make the best choice about how to reach their destination. It also means that in times of disruption or major incidents, we are able to communicate proactively and re-route customers to minimise impacts on the network and the customer experience. 

Customers influencing service provision

Personalisation of many transport services means customers will have more choice about where services go, their price and even how they are packaged with other services, such as events and shopping.

The emergence of on-demand bus and ferry services and other forms of shared transport are demonstrating this by allowing customers to directly influence where their local services travel on a day-to-day basis. Transport for NSW also seeks to manage demand on transport networks through combinations of behaviour change, capacity creation and service optimisation.

As technology unlocks new service possibilities, transport will increasingly resemble a retail industry, where individual service providers can tailor offerings to individual customer needs. This presents an opportunity for customers to have unprecedented input into how transport services are delivered.


Future directions to investigate

  • Transform the customer experience and service interface with digital engagement channels for our customers to enable personalised, two-way interactions, flexible mobility options and customer-centric information services.
  • Continue to roll out flexible payment models, such as contactless payments and the digital Opal card, to provide seamless mobility as a service for commuters, as well as easy-to-access travel options for visitors.
  • Develop and introduce personalised service models, shared services and on-demand models, with priority roll-out in regional centres and for people who find it harder to access other transport services.


Enabling places through transport technology

Transport for NSW adopts a place-based approach to the planning, design, delivery, and operation of transport networks. This means putting our customers and the community at the centre of transport planning and delivery, and offers a common language and core process of collaboration to support meaningful discussions with communities about how to address our future transport challenges. 

Digital, technology and data analytics advances are going to underpin places for the future. The NSW Government’s Smart Places Strategy supports integration of technologies into the built environment to capture and convey data and insights.

The embedded technology in places helps to capture information on the asset or local environment. The data is analysed to help people and governments make better, evidence-based decisions about how to improve the productivity, liveability and resilience of cities, towns and communities. An example of how this is being put into action is the development of Transports Spatial Digital Twin – a digital real-world model of cities and communities that uses a four-dimensional model (3D spatial information and time information), allowing visualisation of the physical environment and future scenarios to test plans, designs and ‘what if’ scenarios to optimise outcomes for customers, communities and places.

The data and digital infrastructure in places can also support future transport options, such as on-demand, Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and point-to-point services, to provide convenient access to great places.

Integration of MaaS and on-demand services with future ‘smart city’ systems and real-time data analytics can enable adjustment to service availability in real-time, based on measured usage across the city. MaaS, if successfully integrated with great places, can free up roadside space for pedestrians, bike riders and future transport modes. 


The Future Transport Technology Roadmap

Transport for NSW has an ambitious vision for a major uplift in the use of technology and innovation, to enable a better experience for all our passenger and freight customers, and to support better places, in all parts of NSW, on all modes, for the greater benefit of the wider NSW community.

We will create well-connected communities linked by integrated and innovative public transport networks and safer roads, offering a range of mobility services and real-time information to give customers the freedom to choose how and when they want to get around. We will also help create successful and healthy places, so the liveability, amenity and economic success of communities and places are enhanced by transport. 

The updated Future Transport Technology Roadmap provides transport professionals and our partners in communities and industry with our plan for the next three years to deliver on our vision as a technology business. 

We plan to use technologies and innovations to deliver on our objectives for our regional and outer metropolitan customers as much as for our city customers, and for freight, just as much as for public transport, walking, cycling and emerging mobility services.

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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