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Automated and electric vehicles

Connected and automated vehicles (CAV) 

The introduction of fully connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) is a highly anticipated future development for transport. These vehicles will operate without a human driver, and will be able to communicate with each other and with infrastructure to minimise the risk of accidents and improve traffic flows.

CAVs are expected to increase road safety, reduce the cost of transport services, allow customers to utilise trip time more productively while travelling, extend the reach of public transport through better first and last-mile connections, improve mobility for people who cannot drive (such as older people and people with a disability), and dramatically reduce the need for on-street and off-street parking, particularly in urban centres.

Since the release of Future Transport 2056, the NSW Government has allocated $10 million over four years to support CAV trials across the State. In January 2019, the NSW CAV Plan was released. The Plan establishes NSW’s strategic approach to CAVs, which focuses on enabling and supporting the development and market entry of these technologies in a way that is legal and safe, and delivers the best possible benefits to our customers and the community.

CAV trials

CAV trials are enabling us to test technology in real customer use cases so we can identify possible service uses, determine infrastructure requirements and understand what customers think about this transformative technology.


Metropolitan CAV trials

Sydney Olympic Park Smart Shuttle
NSW's first connected and highly automated Smart Shuttle trial at Sydney Olympic Park, has transported over 4,500 passengers. In an Australian first, two automated shuttles integrated with traffic lights and four digital bus stops, provided a regular turn-up-and-go shuttle service. Successful traffic light integration of two shuttles laid the foundation for V2I (Vehicle to Infrastructure) connectivity. 

Testing CAV safety features and interactions
Transport for NSW is also collaborating with The University of Sydney's Australian Centre for Field Robotics on a three-year project to understand how CAVs will interact with road users, vehicles and local infrastructure in high-density urban environments. The trial will develop intelligent vehicle systems, including advanced vehicle detection and path prediction, vehicle-to-vehicle communication and intelligent roadside infrastructure to improve the safety outcomes for road users.

Find out more about CAV trials in NSW.


Regional CAV trials 

Armidale and Coffs Harbour 
We are partnering with industry, researchers, local councils and businesses to co-deliver CAV trials in Armidale and Coffs Harbour; to test emerging technologies in regional settings, assess the potential for these vehicles to improve road safety outcomes, and provide more flexible services for regional communities.

A road safety challenge unique to Australia is the risk of crashes involving kangaroos in rural and regional areas. It is estimated that around 100 serious injuries are caused by collisions with kangaroos or wallabies each year. Currently, driverless technology is unable to react to the unpredictable movements of kangaroos. 

A 'smart ute', retrofitted with automated technology will be trialled between Dubbo CBD, Dubbo Regional Airport and Taronga Western Plains Zoo to test the technology in a safety use case and determine the capability of automated vehicles to detect and respond to kangaroos.

Find out more about the Dubbo Ute Trial.


Electric and hybrid vehicles


Fleet replacement program
More than 50 new electric buses will roll out across Sydney over the next year, as part of the NSW Government’s commitment to deliver faster and quieter services. The new electric buses are part of the Government’s fleet replacement program, with the first vehicles expected on the road during the first quarter of 2021.

Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Plan
As electric vehicles become more affordable and improved battery technology delivers longer range and shorter recharge times, we expect to see an increase in electric vehicles on NSW roads. These vehicles are cheaper, cleaner and quieter to run, bringing significant economic and environmental benefits.

In January 2019, the NSW Government released the Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Plan to ensure we have the right infrastructure and information available to support use of these vehicles on the network. This includes co-investing for regional fast chargers and commuter car park chargers.

Read the full Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Plan.


Zero-emissions bus trial

Electric buses have a reduced impact on the environment and have zero tailpipe emissions, making them ideal for preserving the amenity of local places, and safer to operate in tunnels and underground interchanges due to the lack of nitrous oxides and fine particulates.

The NSW Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Plan included an action to trial zero-emission buses with a view to testing the operational, technical, financial, customer experience and environmental performance of these new technologies. Transport for NSW has achieved its target of 10 per cent of passenger fleet vehicles to be electric or hybrid by 2020-21, and are now targeting 30 per cent by 2023 under the Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020-2030.

The TfNSW bus contract with Transit Systems West for Sydney’s Inner West included the requirement to introduce four zero-emission electric buses, which commenced operations on 1 July 2019 under a trial program. Initially the buses were focused on routes 431 (Glebe Point to Martin Place), 433 (Balmain to Central) and 470 (Lilyfield to Martin Place); however, one year into the two-year trial Transit Systems West is now trialling the battery electric buses on other routes as well. The four buses were supplied by manufacturer BYD-Gemilang and each bus is capable of travelling in excess of 350 kilometres a day on a full charge. Transit Systems West has also procured one Yutong E12 battery electric bus to compare performance and operational outcomes. This bus is also performing better than expected on Leichhardt depot routes.

A zero-emissions bus trial was also undertaken on Nowra Coaches services between Kiama and Bomaderry railway stations. The trial, which was held between February and June 2019, operated a Yutong E12 electric bus. During the trial, approximately 8,500 passengers took part. Customer surveys showed a high level of satisfaction with the trial service.

Transport for NSW is investigating expanding trials that will enable larger numbers of customers to experience electric buses.

Other Project Highlights

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