The Federal Government is establishing the Office of Future Transport Technologies to help prepare for the pending arrival of automated vehicles and other transport innovations.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the new office would allow the Federal Government to coordinate more cohesively with other governments and agencies to implement future transport technologies in Australia.
He said the development and uptake of automated vehicle technologies and associated applications would also be managed with a continued focus on improving transport and road safety outcomes.
In an address to a Roads Australia event, Mr McCormack said Australian governments and industry needed to collaborate effectively in order to develop the right policy, regulation and infrastructure, to adapt to future technology use.
“The Australian future transport and mobility industry is expected generate more than $16 billion in revenue by 2025,” he said.
“While representing an emerging business opportunity for the national economy, these technologies also have great potential to reduce the $27 billion cost of road crashes in Australia each year.
Last month Roads Australia, in responding to the Inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy, described automated vehicles and other new technologies as road safety ‘game-changers’.
Mr McCormack said he wanted to ensure these new technologies are deployed in a manner which improves safety, productivity, accessibility and liveability for Australians in both urban and regional areas.
“The establishment of an Office of Future Transport Technologies within my Department will enable the Australian Government to work with industry and State and Territory Governments to ensure Australia is ready for the challenges and opportunities ahead,” he said.
“I expect the office to collaborate across governments to ensure automated vehicles are safe, to consider future infrastructure needs, to make sure cyber security safeguards are in place, and to support Australian businesses in taking advantage of new commercial opportunities,” the minister said.
What it will mean
ITS Australia has welcomed the establishment of the Office for Future Transport Technologies. ITS believes the initiative will also help Australian businesses to take advantage of new opportunities and create a supportive environment for innovation in the rapidly expanding transport and mobility industry.
CEO of ITS Australia Susan Harris said: “Australia stands to benefit from the introduction of new transport technologies in many ways. The ITS industry is continually working to deliver safer transport systems, reduce congestion and increase transport options.
“By engaging with the Office for Future Transport Technologies, ITS Australia and the Australian ITS Industry can continue to shape future transport in Australia by working with the government to identify projects and products that will improve safety, productivity, accessibility and liveability for Australians in both urban and regional areas – the very aspects the Government wishes to address.”