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Technology Scenarios

The future is uncertain, and the fast pace of change makes it even harder to predict. We developed four different scenarios to imagine what the world could look like, and work out what we’ll need to do now, to be ready to meet any possible future. 

These scenarios adopt a longer-term time horizon by considering the future of transport beyond 2030. This puts the focus on different technologies, rather than rates of adoption.

Emerging technologies will likely generate a broad spectrum of human responses, so the scenarios are not mutually exclusive. They represent ‘use cases’ that are likely to co-exist and while we consider these scenarios as the most likely to eventuate, others cannot be ruled out. It remains unclear which, if any, scenario will become dominant for future mobility and therefore we need a strategy that will prepare us for multiple different futures.

Scenario 1: My (autonomous) car is (still) king

Automation drives a fundamental shift in the economics of providing point-to-point (or door-to-door) services for people and goods, the number of trips being made. More private and commercial vehicles on a heavily used road network drives strong demand for additional road capacity.

This makes smart management of the network vital. A central hub uses data and advanced analytics to predict incidents, manage traffic flows and prioritise vehicle movements. It also deploys dynamic demand management systems to help better match demand with capacity.

Learn more about driverless and the automation space:

Strategy 4 - Enable connected automated vehicle platforms

Smart Innovation Centre - Driverless vehicle projects

Scenario 2: We’re all in this together

The sharing economy has continued to gather strength and new technologies disrupts the model of individual vehicle ownership, with a strong shift towards shared mobility-as-a-service.

Customers access a mix of different transport options including cars, mass transit and personal mobility devices, using a mobility service account that is set to their particular needs and preferences. Major freight providers are aggregating capacity on major trunk routes and there is an increased blurring between passenger and logistics services. Demand for additional road and public transport investments is strong.

Learn more about shared, on demand transport and mobility as a service:

Strategy 1 - Personalise customer interactions

Strategy 3 - Foster shared-use, on demand services

Scenario 3: Super commuting

A wave of next-generation technology investments delivers dramatic improvements in public transport, with sustained levels of superior customer experience. Dynamic timetabling is possible, with adjustments made to accommodate real-time fluctuations in demand caused by weather and events, delivering on-demand mobility.

While this drives a significant increase in the use of mass, public transit services, the road network continues to remain important, enabling the freight task, as well as providing the capacity for operation of a broad range of public and shared transport services.

Learn more about super-commuting with public, active and shared transport:

Strategy 2 - Transform the mass transit network

Strategy 5 - Create intelligent transport networks, managed with data

Scenario 4: Why travel so much?

Personalised services delivered door-to-door have improved dramatically and become significantly more affordable, reducing the need for people to travel as much in the first place.
The spread of cloud computing and digital presence technologies, along with community activity hubs, has given people more flexibility than ever to choose where they work, learn and play – and most chose to do as much as they can at, or nearer, to home.

This flattens the need for investments in additional capacity on the road and mass transit network, compared with other scenarios.

Learn more about the reduction of the future need to travel with the Three Cities of Sydney concept