The New South Wales government has welcomed the first passengers on its Driverless Smart Shuttle at Sydney Olympic Park, with the service set to officially start next week, marking stage two of the state's driverless trial. Through its Smart Innovation Centre -- a hub for the "collaborative" research and development of safe and efficient emerging transport technology -- the NSW government in August last year partnered with HMI Technologies, NRMA, Telstra, IAG, and the Sydney Olympic Park Authority to conduct a two-year trial of the shuttle. Legislation was passed alongside the formation of the hub to approve trials of automated vehicles. The hub has since added the University of Technology Sydney, to enable the NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight. The legislation allows government to partner with industry, researchers, and universities to be a testing ground for automated vehicles, with the trial touted as bringing driverless cars a step closer to reality in Australia.
A bill to compensate taxi drivers affected by the legalisation of ride-sharing companies like Uber has passed Queensland's hung parliament late Thursday evening. In August, the government announced a AU$100 million assistance package including payments of $20,000 per taxi license, capped at two per owner, and AU$10,000 per licence for existing limousine service licence holders. As part of the package, the government also said it would invest AU$26.7 million into a hardship fund for drivers negatively impacted by the reform, which came into effect on September 5. Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe announced changes to the assistance package which include allowing compensation payments to trusts and companies that own taxi licenses, as well as sole operators such as drivers who lease a taxi off the license holder. Drivers classified as employees are excluded in the scheme. "It is expected the government will be in a position to send invitations to eligible taxi and limousine licence holders regarding the transitional assistance in December to enable payments shortly thereafter," Hinchliffe said.
The South Australian government has launched a six month trail of a new autonomous bus and smart transit hub in Adelaide. The trial involves a driverless shuttle, known as Olli, and two transit hubs, called Matilda. Olli will drive from Mosely Square in Glenelg to the Broadway Kiosk, and back, with a statement from SA Minister for Transport, Infrastructure, and Local Government Stephen Knoll pointing to the trial as showing how technological developments could improve the state's transport system and customer experience. Transportation is about to get a technology-driven reboot. The details are still taking shape, but future transport systems will certainly be connected, data-driven and highly automated.
The New South Wales government has announced a AU$123 million investment into an "advanced" transport management system that it says will utilise predictive technology and give customers better real-time information on transportation services in Sydney. As part of the system to be delivered by 2020, Cubic Transportation Systems has been awarded a AU$50 million contract to enhance monitoring and management of the road network across the state, coordinate the public transport network across all modes, improve management of clearways, plan major events in the state, and improve incident clearance times. Transportation is about to get a technology-driven reboot. The details are still taking shape, but future transport systems will certainly be connected, data-driven and highly automated. The five-year, seven-month contract will also see the California-based company provide real-time information to the public about disruptions.
The New South Wales government is rolling out electronic displays at a few of its bus stops, using the solar-powered signs to direct people navigating the disruptions to public transport. In a LinkedIn post from Transport for NSW (TfNSW) coordinator general Marg Prendergast, it was explained the new signs, using e-ink technology, are being rolled out at Station Link bus stops during the temporary shutdown of train stations between Epping and Chatswood. For a cost of AU$49 million, Station Link will see the addition of over 120 new buses, expected to provide thousands of extra services from September 30 while TfNSW upgrades the rail line between Epping and Chatswood. It is expected the line will be closed for around seven months. "The solar-powered signs give customers real-time updates about when their next service will turn up using GPS data that tracks our buses," Prendergast said.