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The future network

Future Transport Strategy

Developing the digital network

Transport services in the future will require an extensive and increasingly sophisticated technology-enabled network. 

As technology evolves, we will continue to adapt and respond to deliver exceptional mobility for our customers by ensuring transport technology is inclusive and provides solutions for all customers, on all modes across NSW. 

Harnessing the combined power of connected devices, sensor technologies, wireless communications and the rollout of the 5G network as well as advanced data analytics using artificial intelligence and machine learning, will generate rich real-time information on how our networks and services are performing. This will allow us to keep networks flowing smoothly, identify and tackle problems as – or even before – they occur, and deliver better, faster information to our customers. 

The Transport Management Centre is currently developing a system under the Intelligent Congestion Management Program that will use the most up-to-date and predictive data to monitor and manage performance and maintenance requirements in real time across all modes.

Embedding sensors and intelligent transport system technologies across key assets, such as bridges, cameras, car parks, streets, traffic lights and toll payment infrastructure, and ensuring their ability to ingest third-party data, will generate enormous volumes of new data on road conditions and traffic patterns. This information will be conveyed in real time to serve the customer and help personalise their journey.

Digital technology will be particularly important for city-shaping corridors, including motorways, where ‘smart’ technology will be built into the network. The NSW Government is investing $600 million to build the M4 Smart Motorway, which introduces intelligent technology to the M4 Motorway between Pitt Street, Mays Hill and Mulgoa Road, Penrith to reduce stop-start traffic and improve travel times. We will continue to roll out smart motorway technology on key road corridors.

New vehicle safety technology will be put to the test at higher speeds and over longer distances at Australia’s first ever, 5-star safety testing facility in Cudal in the state’s central west. The facility has the capability to test new and emerging vehicle technologies, such as autonomous emergency braking, speed-assist systems, communication between cars and traffic infrastructure, and the development of smart highways.

As vehicles become increasingly connected and automated, we will develop even greater means to manage our networks more safely, efficiently and dynamically without the need for investment in fixed roadside infrastructure. 

Increasing automation at warehousing and distribution centres and intermodal terminals will help freight customers by reducing dwell times in the supply chain. As technologies evolve, the freight industry will also be able to leverage advancements, such as robotics and drone delivery, reorganise their businesses to provide customers quicker and more convenient deliveries matched to their individual needs, and harness data and analytics to improve safety and productivity. 

Rapid technological innovation and big data has the potential to deliver much broader digital applications for customers. New developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning are likely to emerge in the near term and NSW will need to be ready to incubate new applications, trial new uses and become early adopters of technology.

We are not only implementing technology on our physical network. The NSW Government is developing a ‘spatial digital twin’ – a digital real-world model of cities and communities that facilitates better planning, design and modelling for NSW’s future needs. This will enable data-driven precinct planning, using eye-level mapping and visualisation to help customers spend less time getting in and out of stations, buses and ferries. 

The digital twin will provide a state-wide real-time view of all freight, roads and public transport, mapped to associated infrastructure, and will be able to visualise current and proposed transport scenarios for improving place based design, customer experience and network efficiency.

A crucial part of harnessing this potential is ensuring we manage the growing volumes and complexity of data, in line with the NSW Government’s Digital Strategy. 

For more information on our technology initiatives and future directions, please see the Future Transport Technology Roadmap.


Future directions to investigate

  • Embed flexibility and optionality into network design to support changes in technology systems and improved connectivity, particularly with the new 5G network.
  • Work with industry partners and technology companies to incubate and trial new technologies.
  • Identify new ways for intelligent systems to bring together services and assets on the network, to deliver better connections and integration between services.
  • Embed sensors into new and existing infrastructure to increase data richness.
  • Support the development, prototyping and deployment of ‘smart networks’, including a road network that connects to smart vehicles including EVs and CAVs. 
  • Apply the NSW Government’s Digital Strategy.
  • Apply the updated Future Transport Technology Roadmap.

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.

Read more