Skip to main content

Progress and lessons learnt

Customer technologies

Transport has been internationally recognised for the progress that has been made involving world-leading technologies that integrate, simplify and streamline customer information and payments. The following case studies demonstrate how technology solutions help connect and personalise customers’ end-to-end journeys in ways that were not previously possible, making it much easier to plan, book and pay for transport services with convenience and confidence. 

Transforming the customer experience together through Mobility as a Service

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is a framework for offering a full range of multimodal mobility services that enables customers to plan, book, pay and provide feedback for many types of mobility services, using integrated digital channels, enabling flexible, seamless and personalised services.

Our NSW MaaS platform is transforming customer experience by bringing together the trip planning, booking and payment options provided to customers for end-to-end journeys on a range of modes of public and privately operated transport. This integration gives customers seamlessly connected and personalised choices for how they travel.

The innovative Opal Connect MaaS platform helps customers link trips together, including public transport, rideshare, taxis, and commuter parking. It extends the convenience of Opal fares to flexible new On-Demand transport services, including travel credits to reward customers using On-Demand services to connect with public transport. It also enables the Opal Park&Ride program, which helps public transport customers to access free parking at train stations. Opal Connect won iTnews’ 2020 Benchmark Awards for Best Mass Market Project and Best Australian IT Project.  

The integrated MaaS, transportnsw.info and Opal Travel app capability uses sophisticated algorithms to offer personalised information and bookings across a range of modes. This includes trip planning for taxis, rideshare, walking and more direct, moderate and easier routes for cycling, to help customers make informed choices. For example, our automated shuttle service trial in Armidale has its service information integrated on the transportnsw.info trip planner, while the Busbot On Demand automated shuttle trialling in Coffs Harbour had bookings integration with the local service operator.

We have also integrated with Uber to launch an Uber and Transit feature so customers can select the best combination of Uber X rideshare and public transport to reach their destination. Sydney and Chicago launched the first integration of such real-time public transport data with Uber’s services to provide better first- and last-mile connections to public transport.

This collaboration is so great, because it will help people make better decisions about getting around our city and as a result help to reduce congestion, which is a win for our transport commuters and a win for our drivers. The journey is no longer about a single mode of transport, it’s about a combination of modes to get to your destination in the most convenient way.

Andrew Constance, Minister for Transport and Roads

MaaS integration is underpinned by a growing range of data from third-party mobility providers.

Our Open Data MaaS Data Specification enables sharing of planned and real-time information for a range of services, including bikesharing. Our Car Park API provides real-time occupancy status for Opal Park&Ride and Sydney Metro car parks. We also share a growing set of council kerb use data, including for parking, carsharing, and for bus, taxi and loading zones.

Enhancing planning and booking of travel through integrated information for seamless travel

Transport’s two main customer information channels – transportnsw.info and the Opal Travel app – have been significantly upgraded to help more customers easily plan and book services on a wider range of transport modes and across more locations, including through more personalised and real-time information.

Transportnsw.info now offers more help for regional customers, with information on regional bus and school bus services, and digital bookings for NSW TrainLink trains and coaches. This information connects journeys between trains and other modes and includes trip planning for point-to-point, walking and cycling trips, to help customers make informed choices.

Transportnsw.info also provides real-time passenger capacity information for all modes of transport, a feature that won the 2019 global Real Time Passenger Implementation Award in London and the 2020 ITS Australian Excellence in Transport Data Award. In a world first, estimated and predicted passenger capacity have also been added for all modes to help customers travel on services with adequate capacity.

The Opal Travel app also streamlines trip planning, with a departure board for next services and in-trip tracking. The app offers personalised notifications and alerts across all modes of transport for trackwork, delays or incidents.

In another world first, the Opal Travel app’s COVID Safe travel notifications inform customers if physical distancing is possible, based on predicted capacity on their regular train, metro, bus or ferry service. The app sends personalised proactive notifications on whether the transport service is COVID safe for travel, and won the 2020 ITS Australia Excellence in Transport Data Award.

Over 3.5 million customers have installed the Opal Travel App. Together with transportnsw.info, more than 169 million trip plans have been executed (2019/20).

The Transport Connected Bus program, which is being rolled out in regional NSW, provides real-time tracking and customer information for regional bus services, so customers can track the location of their bus, its estimated arrival time and how full the service is, which means less time waiting at the stop and more time at the customer’s destination.
 

For customers, this will mean better trip planning as they will have access to data showing the bus location on its route and an indication of the capacity. The NSW Government is committed to delivering quality public transport and transport infrastructure and technology to regional NSW.

Paul Toole, Minister for Regional Transport and Roads

We have also delivered valuable customer technologies to help specific customer groups in planning and booking travel across NSW. For example, we have made it easier for customers with disability and mobility impairments to access trip planning services and plan for more accessible journeys through transportnsw.info and  transport accessibility apps. We have also developed a voice command service via the Transport Bot virtual assistant powered by artificial intelligence that can answer many common questions through Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. This delivers real-time service information, route maps, and information on mobility aids and travelling with assistance animals.

To further help people with disability, we are introducing a smartcard to replace the paper docket system for the Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme and delivering a new centralised booking service for wheelchair accessible taxis with an associated app for taxi drivers to receive bookings. The booking service already accepts phone and online bookings and will soon offer more options with voice activated bookings, digital assistants and apps to assist customers with save preferences and track their taxi.

To assist our boating customers, we have supported development of boating apps like Boatable and Deckee that log trips, track other vessels, map locations of boating facilities and provide information on weather, safety, navigation and fishing spots. We have also launched an interactive mooring finder map that helps boat owners easily find and apply for private moorings across NSW.

Simplifying Opal payment choices for customers

Opal ticketing has built on its foundation of providing simplified fare payments for public transport in metropolitan areas. Over time, we have added Opal ticketing for more service modes and more locations across NSW, so that more customers can share the benefits of convenient multimodal fare payments. We are now adding more options for customers to integrate Opal fares with different payment technologies, for further convenience and choice.

Opal Contactless is the world’s geographically-largest contactless public transport ticketing system, and is a quick and easy way to pay for public transport. If you have an American Express, Mastercard or Visa credit or debit card or a linked device, you can pay for travel by tapping on and off at Opal readers. Contactless payments are available on public transport in the Opal network and already, more than 23 per cent of adult customers are using it. Opal Contactless payments won the Committee for Sydney Smart City Awards 2019 for Best Mobility Outcome.

The Opal Connect Mobility as a Service platform extends the convenience of Opal fares to flexible, new privately-operated mobility services and helps customers link their journeys from end to end.

For further convenience, students in regional areas and South West Sydney are trialling new Opal student bag tags that eliminate the need to tap on and off the bus with an Opal card. The Opal tag attaches to students’ school bags and is automatically picked up by an RFID reader as they board the bus. This is easier for students, saves travel time as students walk straight on, and provides accurate data for planning school bus services.

Over 750 million trips were made using Opal in 2019 (pre COVID-19), including over 24 million trips using Opal Contactless, growing to more than 60 million Contactless trips in 2020.

10,000 users are registered for Opal Connect and have made over 40,000 connected trips.

Improving connectivity for regional communities with new technologies

Regional customers and communities face different opportunities, challenges and choices to those in metropolitan areas. That is why we have ensured that our technology solutions are made available across NSW and are tested locally in a range of regional communities.

We have delivered real-time tracking and passenger counts for over 300 regional bus services, with more to follow, and over 40 rail and coach service information screens have been provided at regional stations to advise customers of exactly when their train, bus or coach is due to arrive. We have deployed CCTV and customer help points at 40 regional stations to improve safety and have improved digital connectivity with increased network bandwidth at 32 regional stations.

We have successfully trialled contactless RFID bag tags for school students to board buses more quickly and provide operational data to bus operators, and the trial will be expanded to more regional communities. Bookings for TrainLink train and coach services have been simplified with a better online booking system, and a digital Discovery Pass provides more flexibility by combining adult and children’s fares in a single purchase.

The Live Traffic NSW service and app continues to provide real-time information on traffic conditions and incidents across NSW, assisting motorists and freight operators to plan their journeys, and contributing to the safe and efficient management of our roads.

We have expanded the network of electric vehicle charging stations to ensure local and visiting drivers are able to access more regional communities, and we have conducted trials of automated passenger shuttles in Armidale, Coffs Harbour and Newcastle to demonstrate new ways to connect communities within regional cities, including for retirement village residents.

More recently, we have also established our new vehicle testing facility at Cudal in Central Western NSW as a regional facility for testing connected and automated vehicles and related technologies.  In addition, our goal to transition NSW’s 8,000 buses to zero emissions will bring local benefits for regional customers and communities, and is already bringing valuable new jobs and investment to regional centres for electric bus manufacturing.

Future Transport Technology Roadmap

Putting NSW at the forefront of using innovative technologies
to transform transport for our customers.

View Technology Roadmap 2021-2024