Transurban CEO Scott Charlton recently delivered the opening keynote presentation at the 2016 ITS World Congress opening ceremony on the challenges and opportunities technology presents for the transport sector.

Ninety-eight per cent of Australians are concerned about growing traffic congestion. Here in Melbourne, congestion is a daily conversation and it is a conversation that is echoed across the world.

It is a global issue that shows freedom of movement in our cities is one of the most important issues in our modern lives.

The UN predicts that by 2050, two thirds of the world’s 10 billion people will live in cities, almost twice the current amount.

This significant population growth and accelerating urbanisation of our major cities will lead to significantly more kilometres on our networks. At the same time stretched government budgets and rapidly declining fuel excise are limiting the funding available for infrastructure.

The result being that transport infrastructure is seriously underfunded to meet the growing demand.

Recognising the opportunities of technology

The transport industry understands that opportunities are on the way to potentially relieve congestion and that we can turn this growing problem into a revolution in transport for the betterment of us all.

We know Electric vehicles, CAVs, intelligent transport systems, mobility-as-a-service and other technologies will combine in many different ways to fundamentally change how we use and fund transport, and ultimately help us manage congestion, which will enhance our quality of life.

We are already seeing the first signs of change - CAVs on the motorways, integrated transport apps, ride sharing services, and manufacturers delivering those electric platforms. 

2020s: the decade of the transport revolution. 

Over the next five years, industry and government have to prepare for the biggest transformation of the transport sector since Henry Ford’s Model T rolled off his assembly line. 

We are at the tipping point for redefining mobility for future generations and, if we’re not ready by 2020 we will miss the window for scaling up and guiding an orderly adoption of emerging technologies.

Transport policy decisions made today will determine the evolution of mobility over the next 10 to 30 years. The key will be guiding consumer behaviour through effective regulation at this time of inflection.

This is far easier than retrospectively changing behaviour after technology has been adopted by the community, we need to get the foundations right to make the most of the longer-term opportunities.

Transurban’s contribution

We are contributing to progress policy reform and technology adoption, undertaking one of the world’s first studies to test different ways drivers can pay directly for their road usage.

A road-usage and pricing system creates a sustainable revenue stream for governments that is not connected to petrol-based consumption.

It also can be used to manage network demand through pricing signals and empower customers with real-time information so they can make informed choices.

Most importantly it will be fairer and more equitable, which will enable all stakeholders to benefit.

Our study, conducted here in Melbourne, has given us valuable information about drivers’ views and behaviours when faced with different road usage options.

Our study showed that Australians are open to trying a new and transparent way of paying for their road use. This means that moving to a usage-based model would generate a sustainable funding source to meet future transport needs. 

Visit changedconditionsahead.com for the results from the Melbourne Road Usage study.

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