IT’S no secret that commuting in some of Australia’s major cities can be a bit of a nightmare.
But emerging technologies and a focus on data promises to revolutionise how our transport infrastructure works.
Cisco Global Transportation Executive, Barry Einsig, believes the future of Australia’s transport ecosystem has outgrown simply building extra motorway lanes as the world moves to digitised systems of transport to increase efficiency and tackle issues such as safety and congestion.
Mr Einsig’s role with one of the world’s leading systems developers is “to help the various modes of transportation to more rapidly digitise their infrastructure.”
He is currently in Melbourne for the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress this week and says the Australian Government needs to build out the infrastructure it requires for a smarter commuting experience.
Mr Einsig travels to Australia every few years to work closely with state governments and praised them for their “proactive approach” to innovation, saying there is a “real desire, a real understanding for the need to move forward quickly.”
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the population is set to hit 30 million people in Australia by 2030, putting increased stress on the roads and transport systems of our major cities.
In 2007, the Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics estimated congestion was costing Australia almost $10 billion a year — a figure that was predicted to rise to $20 billion a year by 2020.
While digitalisation of transport systems is by no means a silver bullet for issues such as congestion, it can make a significant positive difference to the smoothness and running cost of transport systems.“When you look at Melbourne or Sydney or some of the high growth areas you have, if you’re going to double the population … that means you need to stretch your transportation infrastructure,” Mr Einsig said.
That means operating it more efficiently, making it more consumer friendly, and of course making it safer.Cisco currently has a partnership with Victoria’s Yarra Trams working towards a smarter transport future including driverless trams. But Mr Einsig says rather than prioritising one form of emerging technology over the other, such as autonomous cars or self driving trams, there needs to be a “digital platform to integrate all forms of transport.”
Of course that happens to be Cisco’s area expertise but it comes with a number of challengers.
“Digital platforms start with connectivity, and of course any activity has to include security end-to-end,” he said.
Cisco has been involved with developing products for the internet of things (IoT) for five years — something which can be thought of as the connected ecosystem allowing the communication of all internet-enabled devices.
Much has been made of the security vulnerabilities produced by the internet of things and as such security is major priority when developing integrated transport systems. But Australia is set to embrace a lot more of them in a bid for a smarter commuting future, and it needs to do so quickly.