Skip to main content

Transport is a technology business

Connected and Automated Vehicles Plan

Transport is a technology business

Digital technology is reshaping society

Transport plays a vital role in shaping the future of our state. At the same time, technology is changing the way we plan and deliver transport services and mobility.

Connected devices like smartphones have already changed the way we communicate and go about our daily lives.

More than 12 million people are expected to live in NSW by 2056. Around three-quarters of this growth is expected to be in Sydney. High economic productivity, advancements in technological innovation and a strong services economy will lead NSW to become Australia’s first trillion dollar state economy by 2056.1

Our road and public transport networks are expected to handle 28 million trips a day and double the current metropolitan freight loads. Technology will be the key to successfully managing this increasing pressure on our transport networks, and delivering safe, efficient and accessible transport in the future.


Transport is already being transformed

We rely on global positioning systems (GPS) instead of street directories, use Opal cards and contactless payments instead of buying paper tickets, and look to mobile apps for our real-time transport information.

Ports and distribution centres are becoming fully automated, and freight is heading toward movements being tracked electronically at every step, in order to pass on efficiency gains to customers in the form of lower shipping costs and faster deliveries.

New ridesharing services, such as Uber, Taxify, and Ola, are reshaping the market for point to point travel in NSW. The growing trend of carsharing and carpooling, driven by services such as GoGet, Car Next Door and Liftango, offer convenient choices for people who do not drive very often or do not own a car, for instance older people and young adults. GoGet - the pioneer of carsharing in Australia, currently has over 100,000 members who have made over five million trips using its services.2 Car Next Door, which now has over 90,000 members, estimates each carshare vehicle represents ten cars that have been disposed of or avoided, resulting in a net reduction of nine vehicles on the road.3


Policy reform: NSW Point to Point Transport reforms

The emergence of ridesharing services, such as Uber, Taxify and Ola, has significantly changed the point to point transport market, with innovative technologies being embraced by customers.

37 per cent of Australian customers reported using a ridesharing service in 2017 4 – a service type that relies heavily on technology and did not exist in Australia five years ago.

The NSW Government implemented an industry wide reform in 2015, which in effect legalised rideshare services, modernised regulation for point to point transport services and increased choice for customers. A new regulatory framework was introduced with a pivotal shift away from prescriptive regulation to give industry greater autonomy to use innovative technologies and embrace point to point transport models in response to customer demand, while ensuring the strict safety standards are met.

The pace of change is accelerating. The four major trends of automation, connectivity, electrification and sharing will transform the future of mobility in a way not seen since we swapped the horse for the car. New mobility services will increasingly operate using connected, automated and electric vehicles. This shift will bring new opportunities to improve transport, while updating the way transport is currently delivered and introducing new challenges.

NSW is leading this transformation in Australia

NSW is open for business and we are taking a leadership role in the application and use of technology to improve transport for customers and shift our thinking towards transport as a technology business.

Our transport system in NSW needs to prepare for these changes, be flexible and adapt to future developments. That is why we developed Future Transport 2056 – our strategy for delivering services, infrastructure and technology in NSW over the next 40 years.

In addition, our Future Transport Technology Roadmap identifies the key technologies we will harness to unlock the full value of our transport networks and personalise services for customers. It sets out five key strategies to take advantage of the unprecedented opportunity technology offers – one of which is to enable CAV platforms.

This CAV Plan supports both Future Transport 2056 and the Technology Roadmap by setting out the opportunities and challenges of CAVs, and the steps NSW will take to prepare for and support CAVs to benefit the community.


Our legislative framework allows highly automated vehicles on our roads

The NSW Government has already established a legal framework for trialling CAV technology in NSW. The Transport Legislation Amendment (Automated Vehicle Trials and Innovation) Act was enacted in 2017 and empowers the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight to approve applications to conduct CAV trials subject to certain safety and operating conditions. The Act also sets out insurance and vehicle supervision requirements, allowing for highly and fully automated (levels 4 and 5) vehicles, including driverless vehicles, on public roads.


Our Smart Innovation Centre leads collaboration

We have also established Transport for NSW’s Smart Innovation Centre, which leads and facilitates collaboration across government, industry and the research sector to carry out research, testing and piloting of emerging transport technology in NSW.

The Smart Innovation Centre is co-funding and co-delivering a number of CAV trials in metropolitan and regional areas, with industry, university and other partners.


The State’s $10 million fund will drive trials and collaboration

In June 2018, the NSW Government announced $10 million in funding to support the expansion of CAV trials in NSW over the next four years. Having a dedicated fund will provide greater opportunities for us to partner with industry and universities to test and gain insights into how these technologies could shape our future cities and regions.


Our Research Hub drives collaboration with universities

We are also undertaking a number of collaborative research projects, through the Research Hub, to assess the safety, network, transport planning and wider socioeconomic implications of CAVs, and the opportunities to improve the amenity and liveability of our cities and towns.

Further research and trials will assess and demonstrate these multi-dimensional issues associated with CAVs, across a range of applications and uses – and support the customer-centric design of future CAV services.

Case study: Smart Shuttle Trial – Sydney Olympic Park

The NSW Government is partnering with HMI Technologies, NRMA Motoring and Services, Telstra, IAG and Sydney Olympic Park Authority to trial an automated shuttle bus.

The trial, which commenced in August 2017, is the first precinct-based trial of an automated shuttle in NSW, with a focus on testing CAV technology that could improve customer mobility. 

The trial, managed by Transport for NSW’s Smart Innovation Centre, aims to understand what supporting technology and infrastructure is needed to operate an automated shuttle in this environment, how it interacts with other precinct users (such as pedestrians and cyclists) and with traffic signals and roadside infrastructure, and how it integrates with the broader transport network. We will also better understand passengers’ responses to this type of vehicle and the services it can enable, like on-demand transport in off-peak times.

The trial will run for two years and is being completed in three phases. The first stage of the trial involved testing in an enclosed off-road environment. The second phase progresses to initial operation at a closed section of the precinct. The third phase will see the shuttle operating in live traffic for public use.

Case study: Regional automated shuttle trials – Coffs Harbour and Armidale

In July 2018, the NSW Government announced connected and automated shuttle trials in two regional locations – Armidale and Coffs Harbour.

The trials will focus on customer mobility use cases and investigate the benefits and challenges involved in introducing emerging CAV technology to regional NSW. The Coffs Harbour trial has commenced and will initially run for 12 months in three phases with gradually increasing levels of operational complexity in real world environments.

The three phases of the Coffs Harbour trial are: Northern Breakwall – connecting Coffs Harbour International Marina and Muttonbird Island; Marian Grove Retirement Village; and Harbour Drive in Coffs Harbour CBD. The service trials will help connect local precincts and test the integration of CAVs with existing transport in the region. The project partners include Busways, Coffs Harbour City Council, EasyMile, Via and Southern Cross University.

The Armidale trial, to commence in early 2019, will run in three phases, each targeting different customer groups in the local community. The first phase will involve testing of technology by students at the University of New England. The second phase will introduce a shuttle service for local residents around the Armidale CBD area. The third phase will expand operations in the CBD area and provide transport links for tourists. The project partners include Armidale Regional Council, EasyMile, The University of New England, Edwards Coaches, Transdev and WSP.

Both trials will provide valuable insights on the potential for CAVs to improve customer outcomes in regional areas, how CAVs could operate as part of an integrated regional transport network, and the physical and digital infrastructure requirements to support the operation of CAVs in regional areas.


NSW offers an attractive startup and technology culture for CAV trials and collaboration

The strong startup and technology industry base, community of early adopters of new technologies and varied road network make NSW an ideal environment for scaling up trials and operations of CAVs in new passenger and freight mobility services.

NSW has significant strength in robotics and automated systems research and the highest percentage of technology start-ups in Australia (over 45 per cent). We have significant expertise in cybersecurity as part of a strong defence sector, while Sydney is also a centre for the financial technology, legal and insurance sectors in Australia.

Transport for NSW is working with the NSW Department of Industry, universities, industry groups and businesses to build on NSW’s key strengths and opportunities to develop CAV-related technologies, and attract global talent and investments. This will enable our innovation activity around CAVs to reinforce these strengths, support emerging opportunities and deliver the learnings we need to prepare our transport system for the full integration of CAV technologies.

The key opportunity for NSW is to lead and encourage the adoption of CAVs, and provide national and global leadership in the area of safety assurance and regulation, with particular advantages for NSW including:

  • a clear and progressive transport vision in Future Transport 2056, with customers as the focus and technology at its heart
  • a coherent State approach to improving liveability, productivity and sustainability of our cities and regions, which are aligned through Future Transport 2056 and its supporting plans, NSW State Infrastructure Strategy 2018-2038, Greater Sydney Region Plan and 20-Year Economic Vision for Regional NSW, which offer opportunities to better balance movement and place objectives 
  • a strong road safety focus, supported by a Safe System 5 approach to safety assurance and regulation 
  • a large community of early adopters of new technologies and a strong industry sector
  • diverse road environments – including motorways, highways, freight corridors, local streets and shared zones (road space shared by vehicles and pedestrians) – meaning if we can make it work in NSW, it paves the way for implementation elsewhere.

NSW is positioned as a leader in the adoption of CAVs, allowing us to attract innovative technologies, new skills and industries to our state.

Case study: Semi-automated port operations, Port Botany, NSW

Sydney’s Port Botany has a semi-automated stevedoring operation that is one of the first and largest in the world. The port, which was automated in 2015, has AutoStrads that load/unload the shipping containers into stacks and onto trucks, without any human interface.

The automated system, developed in conjunction with the Australian Centre of Field Robotics at the University of Sydney, has made the stevedoring operation much safer, with minimal risk of human injury. The whole process can occur continuously and without the need for expensive overhead lighting – AutoStrads do not need to see to navigate. They use 20 per cent less fuel and incur lower maintenance costs. Algorithms are used to automatically redirect AutoStrads from other tasks to the most pressing job.

Image: Patrick terminal 6

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