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Priority 2: Infrastructure and planning

Priority 2: Infrastructure and planning

Preparing our roads

CAVs offer an opportunity to revolutionise the performance and efficient use of our road infrastructure, and deliver faster and more reliable journeys for customers. For example, CAVs could allow vehicles to travel closer together, behave cooperatively and avoid incidents that often disrupt traffic flow.

But if not well managed, there are potential risks of making congestion worse in metropolitan areas, if CAVs encourage people to travel further or more often by private car. With CAVs estimated to free up 52 minutes a day for car commuters,28 along with the benefits of lower costs and greater convenience, this might encourage more private car ownership and use, and therefore increase demand for road space and parking.28 To manage this, we are planning how to best integrate CAVs to make better use of our existing road infrastructure, support public transport and shared ride passenger mobility such as the On Demand transport services, enable aggregated end-to-end freight deliveries, and prioritise walking and cycling in urban centres.

As far as possible, CAV technology needs to work with existing road infrastructure. While the onus must be on those developing the technology to make sure it can work for a range of different road types and environments, without forcing unreasonable costs onto road authorities and taxpayers, some changes to roads will be needed for CAVs to operate safely and deliver benefits.

In the next few years, we will need to investigate which modifications to existing infrastructure may be needed, such as lane markings, roadside signage, interchange facilities, road geometry (e.g. lane width) and construction and maintenance, or whether CAVs can manage existing infrastructure without imposing a cost on taxpayers.

We will also need to plan for the future needs of CAVs and other emerging technologies and services into precinct and project plans. In the longer term, this could extend to larger scale changes to our infrastructure needs and the shape of the future road network, such as repurposing land currently used as parking spaces.

We are working closely with industry and other states on research and trials to inform the minimum infrastructure changes needed to support CAVs, as well as at a national level to align Australian standards with international standards where appropriate.

We are also working with other government agencies and industry to embed CAVs and other technological developments into our approach for developing “smarter cities” – i.e. leveraging CAVs to improve overall safety, productivity, accessibility and social inclusion, and environmental sustainability of our cities and communities.

Case study: Automated Vehicle Infrastructure Initiative

In March 2018, the NSW Government launched a joint project between Transport for NSW, Roads and Maritime Services, Transurban and eight vehicle manufacturers (BMW, Tesla, Hyundai, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Range Rover and Lexus) to assess the compatibility of Sydney’s motorway infrastructure with automated vehicle technology.

These vehicles, with varying automated driving system capabilities, have been used to test for technology accuracy and reliability in recognising and interpreting line markings, on-off ramps, and traffic signs including roadside (fixed) and variable speed limit signs, among other things, in different road and weather conditions.

The trial will provide learnings to both road managers and vehicle manufacturers to improve how the emerging technology operates on the existing road network. Learnings will be used to establish an infrastructure readiness database, which will detail automated vehicle readiness for different parts of the motorway network.

The trial was run from March until October 2018 across the Sydney Orbital Network including the Lane Cove Tunnel, the Hills M2 Motorway, Westlink M7, the M5, Eastern Distributor, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour Tunnel.

The next phase of the Initiative has commenced with Transport for NSW’s SAFET1 research vehicle (pictured above) being used to extend the project to regional highways.


A flexible approach to planning

The impacts of CAVs on future infrastructure needs and land-use are uncertain. The range of issues associated with CAVs around infrastructure, services and land use makes long-term planning more complex than in the past.

This requires a more flexible approach to planning that allows us to quickly identify how customers are responding to innovative mobility solutions, and adapt our plans in a rapidly changing environment to optimise outcomes for customers and the community.

We are already looking at ways to build flexibility into the planning and design of infrastructure projects, such as roads, transport interchanges and commuter car parks, so these can be adapted for emerging technologies. The M4 Smart Motorway, for instance, incorporates design standards to support digital connectivity and automation.

Flexibility will be needed when making infrastructure project investment decisions to ensure they make provision for testing or adoption of new technologies and emerging service models, as well as preparedness to alter plans if needs change.

We are also considering how CAVs and other innovations, such as electric vehicles and Mobility as a Service (MaaS), have the potential to physically reshape the design of our cities and towns, and improve the amenity for all users of streets and roads, particularly pedestrians. This includes changing parking, the form of our streets and how people interact with vehicles and the streetscape. This will help shape amenity, liveability and social experiences, and support development of smarter, more successful places in cities and regional areas.

Similarly the need for garages and driveways could be reduced, which would improve building design, their relationship and natural surveillance of the public domain and overall streetscape opportunities.

Research is required on the changes to the physical environment of metropolitan and regional areas that might improve liveability, productivity and sustainability, and for policy guidance on how to ensure those benefits are realised as CAV uptake increases.

Transport planning and economic appraisal techniques will need to be updated to reflect potential changes from CAVs to individuals’ demand for travel, value of time, and travel costs.

Further research on network performance as well as the social and economic implications of CAVs is also needed to help identify and prioritise needs, plan investments, and support the realisation of benefit opportunities.


Priority 2: Infrastructure and planning

In the next five years, NSW will aim to:

  1. Develop appropriate evidence-based transport, infrastructure and land-use policies and plans that support the optimal use of CAVs and CAV services
  2. Build infrastructure capability to support at-scale operations of partially, conditionally and highly automated vehicles (levels 2, 3 and 4) on motorways and major roads

2.4 Work with government agencies and industry to assess longer-term infrastructure requirements to support CAVs, including new standards

2.5 Take into account the optimal use of CAVs in developing policies, including:

  • road use and parking policies and standards – including the Road Space Allocation Policy and the Greater Sydney and Regional Parking Guidelines 29
  • Regional Transport and Place Plans to ensure CAVs can support improvements to transport networks and places in regional areas 30
  • public transport service planning guidelines and modal strategies
  • approaches to transport and land-use modelling and forecasting, including the Strategic Travel Model, Public Transport Project Model and Strategic Freight Model
  • principles and guidelines for transport impact assessment and economic appraisal of transport investments 

2.6 Work with the Department of Planning and Environment, the NSW Government Architect, Infrastructure NSW and local councils to develop a CAV Built Environment Guide to identify the opportunities and impacts CAVs will have on urban design and planning for the built environment

To support actions in the NSW State Infrastructure Strategy 2018-2038, we will also:

2.7 Develop business cases for the deployment of smart motorway technology, including connected vehicle infrastructure, along the M1 – Newcastle and M1 – Princes Motorways

2.8 Work with Infrastructure NSW in developing a Smart Cities Strategy for NSW that identifies opportunities to deliver better public services through CAVs and smart infrastructure


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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