Intelligent Transport Systems

Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) have delivered important but incremental changes to Australia's transport systems. There have been significant benefits from deployments of dynamic speed zones and active lane management, ramp metering, traveller information systems, e-tolling and other well-established systems.7

ITS involves the utilisation of Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) technology and Australian companies are at the forefront of this sector. For example, Cohda Wireless is solving urban GPS blackspot positioning problems in New York City.

As a result of a diversified and complex transport infrastructure network, Australia has developed world-leading technologies that work with motorists and infrastructure operators to alleviate congestion and improve safety and traffic conditions.

Improving traffic management

Australia has a track record of leadership and export success in the Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) field. In the 1970s, New South Wales designed the Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System, commonly referred to as SCATS. SCATS has grown to be one of the predominant global technologies in traffic management, deployed in over 100 cities worldwide.

Increasing motorway efficiency

Australian governments have partnered with the private sector to develop intra-city motorways to improve traffic flow around major cities. Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane operate 16 intra-city tollways, with more being planned. This environment allows for innovation in interoperable tolling and ITS, which improves the efficiency and safety of Australia's major intra-city motorways. Such technologies have been paramount in reducing congestion and improving the safety of inner-city driving, for example, enabling Melbourne's freeway and tollway network to carry 30 per cent of the arterial road traffic, on only seven per cent of the arterial road network length.8

Building smart motorways

Queensland-based Transmax is a leader in Australian smart motorways technologies with an ITS platform called STREAMS. STREAMS has been implemented on Australian motorways for coordinated on-ramp metering, automatic incident detection, dynamic variable speed limits and lane use management. Leveraging this Australian experience, STREAMS is being piloted in motorway projects in the US.

A supportive environment for ITS

Recent initiatives include:

  • The Radiocommunications (Intelligent Transport Systems) Class Licence 2017  regulations introduced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). These allow the 5.9 GHz band to be used for ITS in Australia, and will support the use of complying wireless technologies and devices. The new regulations also make the local guidelines consistent with ITS arrangements in major vehicle markets such as the US and the European Union.9
  • The iMove CRC, a national collaborative research centre which brings together 44 partners from industry, research and government. R&D projects are creating new technologies and solutions to tackle major transport issues like congestion, road trauma and end-to-end freight movement. One of iMOVE's first projects is a $2.58 million, 3.5-year research partnership between industry, the Queensland University of Technology and the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, to test C-ITS safety applications.
  • Australian industry is utilising Data61 simulation in the transport sector to model ramp signalling on motorways. Organisations like Real Serious Games and Sydac use augmented reality, as well as simulation, to train operators of multi-modal public transport systems.
  • Australia's National Transport Commission is reviewing the use of telematics for regulatory purposes across the transport sector, to encourage further take-up and realise the safety and productivity benefits it can provide. Australian companies such as Intelematics and MTData are working directly with government and industry to implement their telematics technologies.
  • ITS Australia, together with Transport for Victoria, Transport for NSW, TransLink, Department of Transport WA, Royal Automobile Association SA, iMove CRC and key industry players, are delivering a project to better understand what MaaS means for Australia and Australians. After interviewing thousands of Australians, the findings are providing a pathway for future mobility options in Australia.