In detail: Roads into the future

It’s no secret that technology is developing exponentially. And in no sector more so than transport. Industry General Manager for Transport Infrastructure, Peter Trueman, looks at how technology is driving change that can increase transport infrastructure capacity, improve safety, reduce emissions and potentially reduce congestion:

“How we will behave in response to these changes is uncertain. There will most likely be more trips with different origins and destinations. An example from the past was the rise of suburbia when “horseless carriages” achieved mass market use in the early to mid-twentieth century. There will most likely be major impacts on land use and urban development as intelligent transport installation and use accelerates.

Governments and transport agencies are embracing and driving change. Smart freeway projects are increasing, trials of on-demand public transport and driverless buses are underway in many jurisdictions. These developments will likely lead to safer, higher capacity roads and faster, more certain travel for road users. It will likely also be safer for pedestrians and cyclists, quieter, with less emissions and lower costs for freight. How people behave in response to this change is a great and exciting mystery.

So what role is John Holland playing in all of this?  In transport infrastructure, we have traditionally delivered roads, bridges and tunnels. Increasingly we, and our clients, are redefining the scale and nature of these physical assets and adding or embedding the smart systems that enable their more efficient, effective and economic use so that the road users receive a better service. One that provides safer, faster and more reliable journeys.

We are developing our capability and capacity in intelligent transport and are looking to expand the business more and more into this area, through evolution and step change as technology and user behaviours change. To that end, we are leveraging our successful rail business expertise in systems integration, control, communication and power systems and operations and maintenance into the broader transport sector.

We want to be at the forefront of transport infrastructure technology implementation. We expect to see major changes first in toll roads and freeways, then arterial roads and ultimately in the overall network operation. As further integration occurs between private and public transport and the road and rail networks, we are striving to capitalise on our strong capability and track record in these complex and challenging areas for our clients and the community.

We recognise that without a culture of innovation and learning, we may prosper today but not in the future as the rate of progression and change continues to increase. The key is to have an innovative organisation with a great team who can anticipate as far as possible and continue to position the business accordingly through a portfolio of bold changes and sustaining improvements and experiments.

A bold statement for 20-years: We’ll be well down the road towards driverless vehicles in 20-years, with most (if not all) vehicles having a significant degree of automation. There will be less car ownership, far better “first and last mile” nimble public transport, fewer and fewer internal combustion engines (maybe less than half the fleet), higher performing roads and very importantly, the beginnings of large scale behaviour change in response to the opportunities afforded.”