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By Charles Pauka

Australian governments, vehicle manufacturers, transport technology providers and other interested parties have been asked to contribute to the development of a national safety assurance regime for automated vehicles.

The National Transport Commission (NTC) has released a discussion paper Regulatory options to assure automated vehicle safety in Australia, which examines the balance between government oversight and industry self-regulation for automated vehicle safety. The paper identifies four regulatory options for a safety assurance system for automated vehicle technology.

Chief executive of the NTC Paul Retter said Australia’s transport ministers asked the NTC to look at what level of regulation is needed to ensure automated driving technologies are safe now and into the future.

“Australian governments are starting to remove legislative barriers to more automated road vehicles. Without a safety assurance system, these vehicles could potentially be deployed with no government oversight or regulatory intervention,” Mr Retter said.

Read more here.

This story first appeared in Transport and Logistics News. 
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                    [post_excerpt] => National Transport Commission releases discussion paper. 
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                    [post_content] => dd-buses-web_opt


Double decker buses will soon become a common sight on Sydney’s streets once more after the New South Wales Government revealed it will commission a proper fleet of the high capacity vehicles to boost capacity on crowded runs as part of a $108 million service boost and refresh in the 2016-17 NSW Budget

Exact details on who will manufacture and how many of the new 80-seat beasts will be deployed are still to be finalised, but the firm commitment to reinstate double deckers into mainstream route service in Sydney cements major turnaround in public transport thinking 30-years after the last Leyland Atlantean made its from Wynyard to Avalon in May 1986.

While the Baird Government started trialling Bustech double deckers North-West T-Way at the end of August 2012, the pre-Budget essentially embeds the top deck vehicles as part of the city’s core fleet for the foreseeable future.

The announcement is also the second major public transport ‘back to the future’ flip for Transport for NSW after the commitment to reinstate light rail services (or heavy trams) in the city and eastern suburbs, with deployments in the West also highly likely to be commissioned.

Heavy crowding and more demand than capacity during peak-hour services for Sydney buses has been a serious and persistent problem for at least the last decade, as urban renewal and residential infill push more commuters onto the bus system. The biggest headaches for authorities and commuters alike include passengers who are closer to a bus route destination often missing out on scheduled morning trips because vehicles are filled to capacity well before they get near their terminus. Efforts to deploy more, larger single decker and articulated or ‘bendy’ busses have also created knock-on effects as busses get stuck long queues to unload passengers on approaches to the city and other major centres. A big benefit of double decker buses is that even though they carry 65 per cent more passengers than regular buses – 130 people when completely full on seated and standing capacity – they only occupy the space of a single bus making it easier to cram more services into smaller areas and tighter streets. leyland atlantean_optWith major residential developments now replacing industrial real estate on the city fringe, authorities are looking to boost both capacity and frequency. “Thousands of Sydneysiders rely on bus travel every day to get from A to B and we know demand for services is continually increasing, particularly in growth centres in the North West and South West, as well as in inner city areas like Green Square,” said NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance.

“Since coming to office, the NSW Government has delivered more than 15,800 extra weekly public transport services for customers and today’s announcement is further proof that we’re committed to putting on even more where and when they’re needed most.

“This is all about staying ahead of the curve to ensure customers have sufficient levels of service well into the future.”

sydney-bus-museum-vintage-bus-sydney-comedy-festiv1_optFor people that remember Sydney’s original double decker bus fleet, it’s actually more like replacing something many feel, like trams, should never have been taken away in the first place. Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian – who spearheaded many of the key public transit reforms when she held the Transport portfolio – said the upcoming NSW Budget would continue to fund more services and infrastructure. “These double decker buses have allowed us to deliver good customer outcomes and we are pleased to be rolling out more of them across Sydney,” Ms Berejiklian said before cataloguing where new money was going to be spent. The Treasurer said that under the NSW Budget 2016-16 commitment, 12 new or extended routes will come online. They include a new cross suburban link between the Inner West and Lower North Shore, all night services seven days a week for Green Square and Zetland as well as Abbotsford, Five Dock and Rouse Hill on weekends. The addition of new all-night services has long been called for by groups representing essential services and the hospitality sector where the availability and cost of labour have been hit by the shortage of car spaces and a lack of alternative transport options. Fleet renewal and replacement is also a strong focus, with older non-air conditioned buses finally dropped from service in favour of climate controlled accessible (or ‘kneeling’) busses that allow wheelchair users to roll-on and roll-off regular services – an important addition given many older Sydney railway stations still don’t have lifts.   Specifics for the 2016/17 Growth Bus Services Program Western Sydney (including Hills District and South West) More than 1,350 new weekly trips, including 5 new or extended routes.
  • New route 605 (North Kellyville to Rouse Hill Town Centre)
  • Extended route 751 (Marsden Park to Blacktown via Colebee)
  • Extended route T72 (Blacktown to Rouse Hill Town Centre via Alex Avenue)
  • Extended route T74 (Blacktown to Riverstone via Hambledon Road)
  • Extended route 783 (Penrith to Jordan Springs)
Enhanced services:
  • 607X (Rouse Hill to City via M2)
  • 610X/M61 (Rouse Hill and Castle Hill to City M2)
  • 611 (Blacktown to Macquarie Park via M2)
  • 615X (North Kellyville to City via M2)
  • 619 (Rouse Hill to Macquarie Park via Kellyville and M2)
  • 620X-621 (Castle Hill and Cherrybrook to Macquarie Park and City via M2)
  • 700 (Blacktown to Parramatta via Prospect)
  • 740 (Plumpton to Macquarie Park via M2)
  • 841 (Narellan to Leppington)
  • T65 (Rouse Hill to Parramatta via Westmead)
  • T80 (Liverpool to Parramatta via Bonnyrigg)
Sydney Metropolitan More than 1,950 new weekly trips, including 2 new routes.
  • New route 530 (Burwood to Chatswood via Five Dock, Hunters Hill and Lane Cove)
  • New route 985 (Miranda to Cronulla via Woolooware Shores)
Enhanced services on the following routes:
  • Various Northern Beaches routes between Mona Vale and the City
  • 197 (Mona Vale to Macquarie Park via Terrey Hills)
  • 270-274 (Frenchs Forest District to City)
  • 343 (Kingsford to City)
  • 370 (Leichhardt to Coogee)
  • 433 (Balmain to Railway Square via Harold Park)
  • 477 (Miranda to Rockdale via Sans Souci)
  • 506 (Macquarie University and East Ryde to City via Hunters Hill)
  • 518 (Macquarie University to City via Ryde)
  • M20 (Zetland to Wynyard via Central Station)
  • M41 (Burwood to Macquarie Park via Ryde)
New all-night services on the following routes:
  • 301 (Zetland to City via Surry Hills) – seven days
  • 438 (Abbotsford to City via Five Dock and Leichhardt) – Friday and Saturday only
  • 607X (Rouse Hill to City via M2) – Friday and Saturday only
Lower Hunter – More than 170 new weekly trips, including 2 new or extended routes:
  • New route 178 (Anambah to Rutherford)
  • Extended routes 260 and 261 (Minmi and Fletcher to Jesmond and University)
Central Coast – 45 new weekly trips, including 1 extended route:
  • Extended route 40 (Gosford – Wyoming)
  • Enhanced services on routes 67 and 68 between Terrigal and Gosford
  • Enhanced services on route 33 between Gosford and Mangrove Mountain
Blue Mountains – More than 30 new weekly trips on route 686 between Katoomba, Echo Point and Scenic World Illawarra – More than 240 new weekly trips, including 2 new or extended routes:
  • New route 75 (Tullimbar to Stockland Shellharbour)
  • Extended route 32 (Dapto to Brooks Reach)
  • Enhanced services on route 1 between Austinmer and Wollongong
  • Enhanced services on routes 31-33 between Wollongong and Dapto District
  • Enhanced services on route 34 between Warrawong and Wollongong
[post_title] => Best of 2016: High & mighty: double decker buses return to mainstream Sydney route service [post_excerpt] => Back to the Future II [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => double-decker-buses-return-to-mainstream-sydney-route-service [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-12-20 15:26:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-20 04:26:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 3 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24427 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-07-18 17:19:11 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-18 07:19:11 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_24435" align="alignnone" width="300"]iStock_000024856222_Small_opt Legalising Uber will cost $250mil.[/caption]   The Baird Government has officially opened the door to its ambitious $250 million compensation package for New South Wales taxi and hire car licence holders hit by the biggest regulatory shake-up of the sector in the state’s history, urging those affected to apply for “transitional assistance payments” of up to $20,000. The much anticipated compensation cash package comes as Transport and Infrastructure Minister Andrew Constance presses on with reforms revealed in December last year that effectively legalised ride-sharing operations like Uber in the state at the stroke of a pen –but sent the value of taxi and hire car plates plummeting. Already feeling the heat from competition regulators, the taxi industry in NSW – like other states – had been fighting a rear guard action to maintain what had been a crumbing legal monopoly under siege from online ‘point-to-point’ network operators which use private cars and drivers. Although widely embraced by passengers, the new services created a significant problem for the government because they not only flew under the regulatory radar, but stripped away valuable revenue as well. “We’ve ushered in a new era for the transport economy under the new Point to Point Transport Act, providing taxi, hire car and rideshare customers with more choice and increased competition,” Mr Constance said. “In recognition that these reforms have liberated the point to point market, we’ve put in place one of the most generous industry adjustment packages in the world for taxi licence holders.” While the changes undoubtedly legitimised newer ‘booked services’ operators and drivers who had previously faced stiff fines and prosecution, they also put the onus for compliance back onto network operators and businesses rather than leaving it to individual drivers. At the time Mr Constance vowed the creation of a new, stand-alone, watchdog in the form of a specific Commissioner would be “the toughest regulator the NSW point to point transport industry has ever had.” The Transport Minister also found himself getting some free advice from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak at a press conference that Uber should not be allowed to become a monopoly. Powers provided to the new Commissioner include ability to hit companies that fail to meet safety requirements with big, court imposed fines that are based on an offending firm’s profitability rather than a traditional sliding scale that typically hit drivers rather than their employers. The get tough push also included criminal sanctions and jail sentences of up to two years “for nominated directors and managers found guilty of serious safety breaches” to discourage corners being cut. “For the first time the buck will stop with the company making profit from the services – not just the driver,” Mr Constance said in December last year. But before the regulatory stick is applied, the Baird government wants drivers and operators that have been financially hit by the legalisation of ride sharing to access relief funds. Mr Constance said the NSW Government would now “write to more than 4,000 eligible licence holders” to let them know how to apply for the money, and would process each application “as quickly as possible.” More specifically the $250 million relief package includes:
  • $98 million for payments of $20,000 per ordinary and transferrable licence, for up to two licences, for licences held before 1 July 2015;
  • $142 million for taxi licensees facing hardship as a result of the changes; and
  • Up to $10 million for a buy-back scheme for perpetual hire car licensees.
Mr Constance said affected licence holders would be able to access “dedicated Taxi and Hire Car Business Advisors” as well as or the NSW Taxi Council to get help filing applications for financial relief. Applications for the money close on 13th January 2017 and can be made at [post_title] => Uber and Out: Claims for Taxi reform compensation cash now open [post_excerpt] => Sharing (the pain) economy. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => uber-claims-taxi-reform-compensation-cash-now-open [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-07-19 10:04:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-07-19 00:04:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24328 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-07-07 06:00:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-06 20:00:09 [post_content] =>   Employee welding using MIG/MAG welder.   [By Geoff Crittenden, chief executive, Welding Technology Institute of Australia] Public safety is at risk unless Australian politicians legislate to enforce compliance with Australian standards for fabricated steel. There are buildings and infrastructure across Australia manufactured from imported fabricated steel that does not meet Australian standards. This country urgently needs laws to ensure all fabricated steel erected in Australia must be certified as compliant with the standards and the standards must be enforced.
Must we wait for deaths to occur before action is taken?
I’m not asking for special treatment, just compliance with the same set of rules that govern Australian-made steel fabrications. A whistleblower has given me copies of documents that show a grain silo under construction in a rural Australian location, which I will not identify to protect the whistleblower, is being built from imported fabricated steel modules that are not compliant.
A WTIA-certified senior welding inspector’s report shows 10 separate items tested do not comply. Problems identified include undersize, missing and incomplete welds.
[caption id="attachment_24334" align="alignleft" width="287"] Structures at risk. Pic: WTIA[/caption] A separate qualified consultant’s visual weld inspection of the imported silo support structure found none of the welds inspected is compliant with the Australian standard, AS/NZS 1554.1:2014 (Structural Steel Welding). The consultant’s report said: “The welds are deemed unacceptable.” Both reports include photographs that clearly show the sub-standard welds.  

Risk of collapse

Despite the serious safety issues raised in these reports, my understanding is construction is proceeding with no rectification of the non-compliant welds. I am fearful this silo will collapse and could cause fatalities. This silo is just one example of a problem that is rampant across the nation. About 85% of the 600,000 tonnes of fabricated steel imported into Australia every year is non-compliant.
Compliance with Australian standards is not mandatory and there is no way to legally force a structure’s owner to rectify shoddy workmanship.
We need a law that clearly states that no fabricated steel structure can be erected in Australia without being inspected and certified as compliant. [caption id="attachment_24336" align="alignleft" width="143"] Geoff Crittenden[/caption] My colleagues and I in the steel supply chain have provided details of dangerous structures, including a footbridge between two schools in Western Australia, to government agencies but our warnings have been ignored. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission is a watchdog that protects children from unsafe imported toys and the like, but there is no regulation to protect the public from imported, fabricated steel that poses serious safety risks to all Australians. In April, I gave evidence to the Senate Economics References Committee’s inquiry into the future of Australia's steel industry and explained there was no law requiring fabricated steel to be inspected by a qualified welding inspector to ensure it met Australian welding standards. It was obvious many committee members were unaware of that fact. I had hoped the Senate inquiry may assist in getting the required legislation, but we must now wait for the new parliament to be formulated, so the process is delayed. The issue needs to be reinstated to the parliamentary agenda urgently.

Regulatory intervention required

There is a simple solution to stop substandard fabricated steel products being imported –government support for a regulated inspection scheme. A two-tiered scheme with audited self-certification permitted for some low-risk fabricated products, but compulsory third-party certification for fabricated steel used in high-risk projects, including road, rail, mining and energy infrastructure, is the answer. WTIA, as the welding industry’s peak body, can manage the scheme at no cost to the Federal Government, including facilitating independent, third-party qualified inspectors to ensure welds on imported steel are safe. [caption id="attachment_24335" align="alignright" width="287"] Defects abound: Pic: WTIA[/caption] I fear governments are not taking public safety seriously. Right around Australia, there are bridges, light poles, crash barriers, road gantries and other infrastructure manufactured from imported, fabricated steel that has never been certified as being safe. They all have the potential to fail with a potential loss of life. The Australian steel industry’s future is at risk and it is important to retain a vibrant industry but public safety must be paramount in politicians’ minds.
We need fair competition for Australia’s fabrication and steel industry but, more importantly, we must protect lives.
There is also an economic imperative. When defective welds in imported fabrications are identified, Australian workshops are frequently asked to rework them, increasing whole-of-life costs. If it’s a government project, that cost is ultimately borne by taxpayers. The cost of additional reworking could be avoided if it were illegal to import fabricated steel without it being inspected and certified. I am aware of unsafe structures that have been cut-up and reworked in Australian fabrication shops, but not all unsafe welds are identified because they are not checked by qualified welding inspectors when they reach Australia. There is no doubt the steel industry is in dire straits. The moderate size of Australia’s steel industry, the rapidly declining manufacturing sector, Australia’s proximity to low-cost producers, and the de-regulated compliance environment have made it so vulnerable it is at the tipping point of viability. Without public intervention it is likely BlueScope would have closed its Port Kembla, NSW, operation, probably triggering a general collapse in the steel industry. Arrium is in voluntary administration with debts of $4 billion and workers at its Whyalla, South Australia, steelworks face uncertain futures.
A strong steel industry is critical to the future of Australian manufacturing. Arrium’s 7,000 direct employees are just the tip of the iceberg; more than 14,000 Australians are employed in related jobs.
However, if there was a law in place to enforce the Australian standards, Arrium would not be in the strife it is in today.  

Stopping rust in public policy

Public policy should recognise the importance to Australia of the steel industry and the need to maintain and repair the 2.4 billion tonnes of steel infrastructure that is crucial to the nation’s security and economy. Defence shipbuilding, mining and energy, and civil infrastructure are all reliant on the steel industry and strategically vital to Australian interests. Successive federal governments have withdrawn support for heavy industry and given up on the so-called ‘rust’ industries in favour of the ‘clean’ service and high-tech sectors. That strategy overlooks the steel infrastructure on which Australia relies. The Federal Government has removed much of its ‘red tape’ regulation to try to boost productivity and profit. But there has been little regard to the fact that the world’s most powerful economies are also the most regulated. WTIA supports a free market but sensible regulation is essential to ensure compliance reduces the risk to public safety. About WTIA The Welding Technology Institute of Australia (WTIA) is a national non-profit, membership-based body representing the Australian welding industry’s interests. It has 300 member companies and 1,200 individual members. WTIA facilitates technology transfers and research & development; certifies personnel; conducts education and training; and provides technical services to members.   [post_title] => Shoddy welding ‘will lead to deaths’ [post_excerpt] => Shoddy imported steel warning. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => shoddy-welding-death-risk [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-07-15 09:13:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-07-14 23:13:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 8 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24297 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-06-29 21:38:10 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-06-29 11:38:10 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_24302" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Data cloud image_opt Autonomous workaround. [image: HERE][/caption]  Cars and trucks – manual or self-driving – will very soon be able to see what’s coming around the next corner or over a hill and automatically avoid collisions without having line-of-sight using cloud-based technologies. Sound far-fetched? Hold that thought. The grand vision of a world filled with driverless cars that instantly communicate with each other to make transport a stress free, totally automated and intelligent experience has have generated huge attention lately … but the really big and basic questions over how future transport systems will evolve are really still up in the air. Sure, car makers, traffic authorities and technology companies are all racing towards a big shiny autonomous dream, but the far more basic issue of who will write the ‘language’ of data standards and protocols that ultimately dictates how vehicles talk to each other still hasn’t been decided. But that could be about to change. On Wednesday location technology developer HERE announced what it claims is a major step forward in thrashing out a global consensus on what kind of technical lingua franca autonomous vehicles will speak, saying that more than “more than 11 major automotive manufacturers and suppliers” had agreed to its open data standard dubbed SENSORIS. The agreement’s potentially a very big deal because it could form the basis of a workable consensus on which interoperable international standards for autonomous vehicles can be built. Global technical standards are, for the main, one of the driest and most eye-glazing subjects around – predictably, they garner little or no publicity as a result. But they’re still critically important as the bedrock foundations for technologies that need to work the world over to realise their potential. Boring, yes. Irrelevant? No way.   [caption id="attachment_24301" align="alignnone" width="300"]HERE_Infographic_Sensor_ingestion_opt Car cloud hits the road. [pic: HERE][/caption]  The internet, aviation, telecommunications, credit cards, banking, satellites, navigation and even customs and postal systems would all come unstuck without global standards. Think the technical equivalent of the biblical Tower of Babel scenario (or Australia’s rail gauges SNAFU). According to HERE, companies that have already joined what it calls the SENSORIS Innovation Platform include AISIN AW, Robert Bosch, Continental, Daimler, Elektrobit, HARMAN, HERE, LG Electronics, Jaguar Landrover, NavInfo, PIONEER and TomTom. Ok, BuzzFeed keywords like Tesla, Apple, Uber, Trump, Kardashian, kittens, General Motors [etc] don’t quite make the cut, but the point is there’s some real momentum happening without big name brand dropping. “More organisations are expected to join in the coming weeks,” HERE said in its announcement. The design for the universal data format for vehicular chat (that’s SENSORIS) has also been submitted to Europe’s public/private partnership for helping to develop intelligent transport systems, a peak industry body called ERTICO-ITS Europe. And things are genuinely starting to move quickly on the technical language front, even if the official talk is stills preferences dry accuracy over fluffy buzzwords. “Defining a standardised interface for exchanging information between the in-vehicle sensors and a dedicated cloud as well as between clouds will enable broad access, delivery and processing of vehicle sensor data,” said ERTICO’s chief executive Hermann Meyer. “[It will] enable easy exchange of vehicle sensor data between all players, and finally enable enriched location based services which are key for mobility services as well as for automated driving.” The soundbite version of that statement is that car makers are desperate to avoid a repeat of the compatibility wars that can fragment developing industries. Betamax vs VHS; Apple vs PC, left hand drive vs right hand drive – and too many electrical power plug and voltage standards to point to. HERE’s Asia Pacific director, Brent Stafford, has an Australian spin on the concept. “Driverless vehicles need more than just these sensors to provide a smooth and safe driving experience, Stafford says. “They need to communicate with all other vehicles on the road, sending, receiving, interpreting and responding to live route conditions in real-time, Stafford says.” “By speaking a universal data language, in the future, a German built autonomous truck driving down an Australian highway will be able to warn a driverless Japanese sedan and US made SUV following close behind to ‘slow down’ or ‘change lanes’ because of a wombat or mob of kangaroos near the road ahead.” Our favourite example of ‘vehicular multiculturalism’ from Stafford revolves around trying to find a park from the incredible shrinking pool of spaces. “Perhaps a Holden parked in a busy neighbourhood could notify a BMW that has been circling nearby, that a parking spot has just become available in the adjacent space,” he says. Well it certainly wouldn’t offer it to a Ford. That would be un-Australian. If Government News had its way, intelligent self-driving cars would be able to detect approaching parking inspectors and drive-off before they could issue a ticket. That would be technological progress. [post_title] => Good to talk: Finally, agreement on single comms standard for self-driving vehicles [post_excerpt] => Digital Esperanto hits the road. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => self-driving-cars-get-a-babelfish [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-07-05 10:54:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-07-05 00:54:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24242 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-06-27 11:43:33 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-06-27 01:43:33 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_24243" align="alignnone" width="239"]Rob Fitzpatrick_opt AIIA chief executive Rob Fitzpatrick.[/caption]   [By Rob Fitzpatrick, Chief Executive, Australian Information Industry Association] Government use of digital technology is booming, if the number of entries in this year’s iAwards are any indication. The iAwards is Australia’s leading awards for innovation in ICT, honouring organisations, researchers and students at the cutting edge of technology innovation in Australia. With over 600 entries this year, the number has almost doubled from last year, boosted by a very strong showing from the public sector, at all levels of government. Hosted by the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) for the last 22 years, the awards recognise and reward ICT innovations that make a positive impact on the community. There have been many entries from government in the past, but this year they comprise the majority. It is not hard to see why. The movement to open data – where governments make their information available to developers to build new applications – is revolutionising the way governments interact with citizens. This year’s record number of entries display the great diversity of applications that employ digital technology, but perhaps the most remarkable thing is the proportion that come from government (31 per cent of overall award entries came from one or more government-owned entities) and in particular public health. These days it is hard to be innovative without using digital technology. Governments at all levels are embracing the technology in a big way. When citizens and businesses get better access to the data generated by governments, which ultimately belongs to the public in any case, all sorts of applications are made possible. Open data enables better supply and demand management, more responsive emergency services, and the more timely and targeted delivery of a whole range of other government services.   Collaborative momentum grows There is a growing momentum around the connections between Australian ICT developers and government authorities. A lot of communities are really latching on to the wider availability of broadband and smartphones to build applications that provide better services to the community. Consider the work that the federal government has been doing around the NationalMap, putting all manner of spatial data into the public domain and letting people determine the best places to do things like plan community events, build schools and sell homes or just finding their way to get to work. We have reached something of a tipping point in Australian society. We have a government and an opposition both talking about innovation. It’s almost as if we have been given permission to have ideas. It’s something people want to talk openly and proudly about. And it’s not just the way governments are interacting with citizens. Government departments are working differently between themselves as well. That’s one of the areas the new Digital Transformation Office is targeting, improving efficiency and the way government departments work together. We're seeing examples at the federal level, with MyGov, and in most of the states. New South Wales in particular is really showing the way, as the number of entries about NSW government services in the iAwards show. In NSW you can walk into a government service centre and talk to any of their staff about different services, including some federal government services like Medicare.   Pervasive Digitalism All levels of government are digitising. The delivery of digital services is happening across the board. A look at some of the entrants in this year’s iAwards shows the diversity of applications. Hume City Council has developed a digital workflow and decision support system, a single application that captures forms, approvals methods and workflows across all local government services. Melbourne developer Ladoo has developed the Know Your Council website in conjunction with Local Government Victoria, which uses custom web services to handle and present data submitted by councils, allowing the government and the community to assess and benchmark individual council performance. There are so many examples. Addinsight is a traffic intelligence system built around a network of Bluetooth receivers that measure travel time on Adelaide roads, monitoring for unusual conditions, alerting traffic managers to potential problems and broadcasting congestion information to drivers via a smartphone app. Also from South Australia is BlueBays, a free mobile phone app to help people with disability locate and share information about accessible car parking spaces. Child Protection Intake Monitoring provides Victorian Health and Human Services staff with information about clients that will assist them to make better, quicker and more informed decisions about vulnerable children. Common Ground makes it easy to access maps and gives simple explanations of mining and exploration titles. The Federal Government Free Trade Agreement (FTA) portal helps business to seize export opportunities flowing from Australia's FTAs with China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.   Health e-Nation But perhaps the biggest revolution is in the application of digital technology to public health. There are dozens of entrants from the sector this year. Examples include Better Health Explorer (BHX) to help users to find online health information, ClinTrial for collaboration and better access to clinical research trials, DoseMe for clinicians to determine a patient's ability to absorb and process drugs, 3D training simulation for nursing, and a number of electronic patient record systems. The range of applications, from all parts of government and from local, state and federal, is astonishing. The growth in the number of entries from the public sector is a great thing for the iAwards, and for Australia. In the past, the public sector hasn’t often shone a light on the good things it has been doing. That has really changed – people feel good about these new applications. A revolution is underway in how governments deliver services to their citizens.   Rob Fitzpatrick is CEO of the Australian Information Industry Association [post_title] => Government projects dominate Australia’s biggest tech innovation awards [post_excerpt] => Public sector solutions stand out. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => government-innovations-dominate-iawards-2016 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-06-28 10:29:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-06-28 00:29:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24213 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-06-21 19:27:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-06-21 09:27:35 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_24214" align="alignnone" width="300"]KellyVille-Platform_With-Station-Attendants-(1)-Accordion-900px_opt $12bn au go go for Sydney Metro. Pic: Supplied.[/caption]   Accelerated transport infrastructure renewal and expansion has emerged as the major long-term thrust of the Baird Government’s New South Wales Budget 2016, with a $10.5 billion splash on public transport soaking up more than half of the $20.2 billion headline figure for overall recurrent and capital funding for transport infrastructure including roads. The record spend comes as state transport planners seize what infrastructure experts describe as a once in a lifetime opportunity to build-in forward capacity to cope with strong population growth in Sydney and the regions and move away from reactive projects previously centred around car-based commuters. The showpiece of the package is $2.7 billion for the new Sydney Metro rapid transit automated railway that will create a second major rail network linking Sydney’s North and West, and the city’s via the CBD, including a new underground crossing that traverses Sydney Harbour. The total projected cost for that project alone is $12 billion over the coming four years. “Underpinning our massive infrastructure investment are the funds to continue to grow services on existing public transport networks and ensure they are maintained to high standards,” said NSW transport Minister Andrew Constance. “The Budget includes $1.3 billion for Sydney Metro Northwest, which is set to open in the first half of 2019. Around $1.4 billion has been allocated for the second stage, Sydney Metro City & Southwest.” [quote]A further $1 billion has been earmarked for new suburban trains on the existing rail network, a renewal that’s over and above the $3.9 billion previously allocated to replace the current ageing fleet of electric intercity trains.[/quote] Exact numbers on how many new suburban trains will come, however the Budget Papers reveal the “procurement process” will start in 2016 with the new trains adding extra capacity to support rising numbers of commuters.   Light Rail expansion stays on track The resurgence of light rail in NSW has also continued to forge ahead, with $64 million “to continue planning and preparatory work for Parramatta Light Rail” and $142 million for Newcastle’s Light Rail, while the delivery of the Sydney CBD and South East Light Rail scored $71 billion. Business groups and property developers are especially keen on the Parramatta Light Rail because of the potential of the project to trigger urban renewal and redevelopment and create public transport corridors across the West rather than just to and from the city. One driver for the anticipated building boom – which is expected to amount to tens of thousands of dwellings – is a new special levy based on floor space ratios that will be applied to new builds to help fund the new light rail line.   Making a B-Line for Buses While there were no surprises on the bus funding front thanks to the pre-announcement of spending – particularly the reintroduction of double decker buses onto main route services – the creation of the ‘B-Line’ high frequency fast bus service to Sydney’s Northern Beaches has continued in earnest, attracting $210 million for “continued planning and infrastructure”. Intended to bolster bus frequency by an extra 480 servicers a week at a maximum interval of just 10 minutes, the new service will launch in 2017 and feature architecturally designed bus stops, dedicated commuter parking for bus travellers and real time information at stops. Also in the Budget mix is a further $108 million for 218 new busses “to replace older buses and expand private and public fleets across NSW.”   New Ferries Floated Having already privatised the operation of Sydney Ferries, funding has finally flowed for an inner harbour fleet renewal for Sydney’s most picturesque more of public transit that was once the target of criticism that it provided little more than a boutique service for Sydney’s richest residents – those living near or on the waterfront. [quote]The Budget has allocated $30 million for 6 new inner harbour ferries, a relative bargain considering recreational boats with a tenth of the passenger capacity can easily tip the $5 million mark. The first arrives at the end of 2016.[/quote] The Parramatta River also gets four new riverboats at a price tag of $8 million for those prepared to swap some extra time getting to work for water views and fresh air on their daily commute. The huge and controversial casino and office development of Barangaroo also get funding for its own wharf in the Budget, with $17 million allocated for the build but no mention of whether the facility is intended to act as a western CBD water transport hub for commuter coming from the North Shore or other stops to the Southwest.   Regulation Uber alles Letting ride share and point-to-point transport platforms like Uber legitimately enter the market in NSW hasn’t come cheap, even if commuters ultimately benefit. [quote]Having changed legislation to allow for the introduction and regulation of point-to-point competitors, including the creation of a new watchdog, the compensation bill for axing the taxi industry’s licensed monopoly has come in at $250 million.[/quote] The bail out and transition package comprises of $142 million over three years for taxi licensees “facing hardship as a result of industry changes”, $98 million for payments to taxi licence holders who purchased plates before July 2015 and “up to $10 million over three years for a buy-back scheme for perpetual hire car licence owners.” Assistance to vulnerable and disabled passengers who can’t catch public transport is also up there, with $16 million a year to help allocated to ensure “wheelchair accessible taxis continue to be available for those in the community who crucially rely on them.” Community transport and home and community care services for people unable drive or catch public transport score $84 million. [post_title] => NSW Budget 2016: Public transport upgrades the big ticket winner [post_excerpt] => Cash splash on new trains, buses and ferries. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => public-transport-upgrades-are-the-biggest-winners-in-nsw-budget-2016 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-06-23 23:06:56 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-06-23 13:06:56 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24181 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-06-16 22:05:56 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-06-16 12:05:56 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_24182" align="alignnone" width="300"]Driverless BMW_opt Is NSW ready for hands-free happiness?[/caption] [By Gerard Waldron, Managing Director of the Australian Roads Research Board] Driverless vehicles have the potential to drastically improve road safety, reduce congestion and save the NSW economy billions of dollars over the coming decade. It’s the most important transport innovation of the century, but NSW risks falling behind other state governments if it doesn’t take the opportunity to introduce new policy and legislative measures that can drastically reduce the road toll. The significant road safety opportunity and need for a more collaborative national approach, is the message the Australian Driverless Vehicles Initiative (ADVI) will present today at the NSW Staysafe Committee Inquiry into Driverless Vehicles and Road Safety. ADVI’s partnership of more than 60 government, industry and academic organisations, including ARRB Group, led the first ever demonstrations of driverless vehicles on Australian roads in SA last year and assisted the SA government in the development of the country’s first driverless vehicle legislation. While SA is currently in the ‘driverless’ seat, NSW has a strong history in road safety initiatives, such as ANCAP crash testing since the early 1990’s. Moving to a world where cars are designed not to crash, the NSW Government has the opportunity to support new industry led technological innovations and provide a flexible environment to encourage further innovation in NSW. Research has shown the road safety benefits could also be as large as a 90 per cent reduction in road crashes, which are currently caused by human error, resulting in a potential saving of $24.3b in the national road trauma bill. Just last week, global automotive industry analysts IHS Automotive released its latest driverless vehicle forecast, predicting a substantial increase on previous estimates to nearly 76 million vehicles with some level of autonomy sold globally between now and 2035. Over half a million driverless vehicles are predicted to be sold by 2025 with China, Japan, and the USA leading the charge. [quote]Although Australia has seen a decline in vehicle manufacturing in recent years, we remain more than capable of taking global leadership in research, policy, infrastructure and adoption, just like we have done with previous technology innovations like mobile phone networks.[/quote] For a nation which suffers a $20 billion annual economic hit from congestion and spends twice as much on transport as the OECD average, driverless vehicles will provide some welcome relief for commuters, with recent research from the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB Group) showing two thirds of Australians have been impacted by worsening road congestion in the last five years. However, it’s unlikely to be an entirely smooth transition to completely autonomous vehicles and the implications of new risks for drivers requires careful investigation to inform training, testing, licensing and vehicle design. These potential risks include driver skill, engagement and ability to take back control of semi-autonomous vehicles. Issues around trust, overreliance and misuse of driverless technology and also the much publicised interaction between autonomous and non-autonomous vehicles also require Australian specific research. If these risks aren’t managed there is the very real danger that isolated road incidents involving driverless vehicles could result in reactionary legislation and policy making that would severely disrupt progress. By all levels of Australian government working closely with academia and private sectors, we can ensure scientific research informs real-world infrastructure and policy planning that will cement Australia as a global leader and enable the social and economic benefits to flow through as early as possible. The reality is, driverless and connected vehicles remain a highly complex technology and require a flexible approach to legislation, policy and infrastructure changes, unlike anything we’ve seen before in transport. [post_title] => NSW needs to take drivers seat in driverless future [post_excerpt] => Stuck in the slow lane. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-needs-to-hit-the-accelerator-on-driverless-vehicles [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-06-21 10:11:01 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-06-21 00:11:01 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24065 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-06-02 19:52:58 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-06-02 09:52:58 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_24066" align="alignnone" width="287"]Rail Trial Murray to Mountains_opt Sure signs of an election.[/caption]   The Australian Greens have thrown a $1 billion carrot for dedicated bike lanes, cycling parks and better footpaths into the mix for the federal election’s great infrastructure auction, as the minor party positions itself for a potentially hung parliament and more power sharing deals in the Senate. Released this week, the $250 million a year “Bikes and Walking Commitment” promises to create a new “Active Transport Fund” that will provide federal funding for what Greens transport spokesperson Senator Janet Rice says must be a far better coordinated state and local government response. The proposed federal money for what has traditionally been municipal and state funded territory is aimed squarely at, aside from winning votes, eliminating big disparities between different council and state government projects and active transport strategies that often fail to link up because of competing interests. In cities like Sydney, the lack of funding coordination means that cashed-up CBD councils like the City of Sydney spend tens of millions on often contentious separated cycle ways, while neighbouring municipalities that funnel cycling commuters into the city centre often spend next to nothing or just refuse to disclose total spending to advocacy groups like Bicycle Network. Although the big ticket Active Transport Fund is so far short on any specific initiatives, Greens transport spokesperson Senator Janet Rice is adamant an injection of federal money to ensure coordination will make the difference between cycling becoming a safe and mainstream mode of commuting rather than a divisive and dangerous pursuit. “You can’t leave it up to the states and local government because a lot of really valuable projects miss out because of lack of funds,” Senator Rice told Government News from the No.19 Coburg bound tram in Melbourne. “You get inefficiencies, you get projects stopping at local council borders. So by having a focus on it and saying active transport needs to be a priority, you can really turbocharge the delivery of good infrastructure.” Senator Rice said that despite bicycles being “the world’s most energy efficient vehicle” the contribution of cycling in a “clean transport future” was being largely ignored.   Cycle of discontent While that may be the case, the flagging of a billion dollar cash injection into what would necessarily be inner metropolitan infrastructure renewal plays directly into electorates where the Greens are standing lower-house candidates, like Grayndler in Sydney’s Inner West. Once regarded as red ribbon Labor territory, long-term incumbent Grayndler MP and Shadow Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese is having to fight-off a serious challenge from the Greens’ federal candidate for the seat from Jim Casey, a firefighter and unionist. Despite having Labor leaning councils (Marrickville and Leichhardt) and state seats, the creation of safe, efficient and dedicated cycling infrastructure in the inner west has largely failed to occur despite a big rollout in the city – a problem the Greens are now threatening to fix with funding of around $1 million per kilometre. “Depending on the complexity of each cycling project, a million dollars a kilometre buys you a pretty fancy all-bells-and-whistles bike path, making allowances for bridges and things like that,” Senator Rice said. In terms of how the money would be spent, Senator Rice said that councils that came up with coordinated and interconnected proposals would be looked at favourably – a cat herding task that, rather ironically, could be made easier by forced council amalgamations in NSW that the Greens have been fighting at every turn. “Essentially [the money] would be administered by a federal department. Clearly critieria have to be developed as to which projects got funded. If there is a masterplan, [like] a Sydney bike paths masterplan, I’d say that would be more favourably [considered],” Senator Rice said. “Certainly if there is a project that has a number of councils working together, I’d also say it’d be a higher priority than say just random projects that somebody thought-up.” Regional areas are also in the Greens sights for cycling infrastructure, with money potentially available for the development of ‘rail-trail’ projects that convert disused rail corridors into bike touring and hiking paths that are more accessible and easier to use because more gradual inclines. Senator Rice said it was now not unusual to see 1000 cyclists a weekend turn-up to the Wangaratta to Beechworth trail, a model that showed sustainable tourism produced economic benefits. Funding for more challenging mountain bike courses, like those established in the Snowy Mountains, Canberra NSW South Coast, Tasmania and other regions to attract tourists, would also be in mix. Walking the talk Pedestrians, arguably the originators of so-called active transport, are also being factored into the Greens’ cash splash. Senator Rice said while footpath maintenance and repairs would stay remain council hands, there needed to be a focus on enabling links between different modes of transport and public facilities that made it easier to walk. “Key pedestrian connections, particularly from town centres to stations, where you need to have the investment to make them happen, that’d be the kind of projects that councils can apply for to fund,” Senator Rice said. The payback for that funding would come in the form of a reduction of the “strain on our health system by promoting good health practices and tackling Australia’s weight problem.” Senator Rice said that in the United Kingdom analysis of investments in walking and cycling infrastructure showed that almost 80 per cent of the substantial economic benefits related to improved health outcomes. “Almost two-thirds of Australian adults and a quarter of children are overweight or obese,” Senator Rice said. “Getting on our bike or walking for half an hour just three times a week makes us healthier, both physically and mentally. “We cannot leave bike and walking infrastructure to state and local governments alone,” she said. [post_title] => Reinventing the wheel: Greens pledge $1bn for bike paths [post_excerpt] => Pedalling promises a plenty. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => greens-pedal-1bn-to-cyclists-to-set-off-a-voter-chain-reaction [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-06-07 09:32:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-06-06 23:32:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23985 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-05-26 22:57:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-05-26 12:57:36 [post_content] =>     [caption id="attachment_23990" align="alignnone" width="300"]lpi-queens-square-office-nsw-573x335 Earmarked for privatisation (Photo: J Bar)[/caption]   The New South Wales government's in-house land agency will be partially privatised, the state's Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian has confirmed. [For the latest in geospational news and coverage head to Government News' sister publication Spatial Source] The Sydney titling operations of Land and Property Information (LPI) are being put on the market for purchase by private operators with a deal likely to consist of a 35-year long-term concession. The sell-off comes on the back of recommendations of a comprehensive scoping study, initiated in September 2015. According to the government’s official statement, the valuation services and spatial mapping divisions will not be included in the sale, which employs about 220 people in the regional city of Bathurst. The move has been described by some commentators as a precursor for other public land agencies around the country to follow in a similar stead. Ms Berejiklian has stated with certainty that the spatial services operating out of Bathurst will remain public: “Obviously the spatial part of the business means you’ve actually got experts who know how to draw the maps, who actually know to provide their expertise in this area,” she said. “It’s really something we believe that should be retained by the Government, which is why the spatial services and evaluation [sic] services will be staying run owned and managed by the Government.” [quote]"We took a long, hard look at it and we’ve decided that we believe the spatial services which are based in the central west, should definitely stay owned, run and managed by the government.”[/quote] “That’s a decision we’ve taken after having a close look at it, and that’s pretty much as final and definite as you can get.” The Bathurst office employs some of the country’s finest geodetic surveyors, including those responsible for the construction and operation of the world-class CORSNet-NSW, Australia’s most comprehensive CORS network for precise GNSS positioning. CORSNet-NSW provides precise point positioning for over 99.8 per cent of the NSW population. While the Queens Square and Bathurst offices are the largest, LPI has additional offices in Albury, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Grafton, Lismore, Newcastle, Nowra, Orange, Parramatta, Port Macquarie, Queanbeyan, Tamworth, Wagga Wagga, Wollongong and Wyong- all of which have an uncertain future. CORScoverageApril2016b_-_Copy-473x335 Further details of the division will become available in the near future, however clues were given last month when it was announced at the Association of Public Authority Surveyors NSW (APAS) Conference that LPI will be split into three distinct areas of operations, and that the role of the Surveyor General and the Deputy Surveyor General are also expected to change significantly. In its official statement, the NSW Government says it will invite the private sector to invest in and operate the titling and registry business of LPI. The net proceeds from the transaction will be invested in new infrastructure, including the development of the Sydney’s major sporting stadiums. It was also announced that one third of the profits would be earmarked for regional infrastructure projects. “Investment from the private sector in LPI’s titling and registry operations will provide better outcomes for the state,” Ms Berejiklian said. “The private sector will also be better placed to invest in new technology, which will have major benefits for consumers.” Berejiklian ensures the integrity of the titling system will be protected by a strong regulatory framework. This will include government oversight of any private operator and the continuation of the Torrens titling system backed by the Torrens Assurance Fund. A new regulator will also be created to monitor and enforce the operator’s service, KPIs and the security of the data. To avoid an unfair price monopoly fees will only be permitted to increase through a consumer price index (CPI) during the 35-year long-term concession. Gary Ulman, President of the Law Society of NSW regards LPI as one of the best performing land titling services in the world, and claims that the sale is unjustified. “The justification for the privatisation of public assets usually lies in the need for a large-scale injection of capital into an industry, or to address underperformance by a government utility,” Ulman said, “Neither rationale applies in this case.” Further details will be announced through Spatial Source and Position magazine as they become available. [via Spatial Source]   [post_title] => NSW puts Land Property Information on the block [post_excerpt] => Outsourcing grinds on. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-puts-land-property-information-on-the-block [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-05-31 10:24:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-05-31 00:24:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23933 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-05-23 20:47:06 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-05-23 10:47:06 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_23934" align="alignnone" width="300"]Breathalyzer_on_citizen_opt But the app said ...[/caption]   Drink driving apps that supposedly tell you whether you’re over or under the legal limit to drive after consuming alcohol need to be thoroughly checked for accuracy and potentially regulated, Queensland’s leading road safety research body says. The Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety-Queensland (CARRS-Q) is worried that a proliferation of apparently unevaluated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) calculators could be giving drivers trying to do the right inaccurate information on which to base decisions. It’s an issue that CARRS-Q’s Dr Hollie Wilson is looking for a solution too as smartphones and apps become ubiquitous in modern life. Part of the challenge for researchers is the extent to which health and risk prevention apps, including BAC calculators, are effective or evidence-based remains “largely unknown”. "There is concern that apps intended to be useful health tools may actually provide inaccurate and misleading information,” Dr Wilson says. “This is worrying when coupled with an absence of regulatory control and evaluation." The bottom line is that CARRS-Q wants to be sure that the apps are accurate and work – based on actual hard evidence – and are prepared to build one themselves if necessary. Dr Wilson cautioned it is essential that any drink driving app “provides accurate and concise information based on current research.” To get to that point CARRS-Q has been running research study and conducted “a systematic contextual review of drink driving prevention apps.” They’ve also them based on “overall quality” that includes how engaging they are, how they look, functionality, information quality and – arguably most importantly – assessed the accuracy of the BAC calculators that are the basis of many apps. CARRS-Q says most apps that focus on “impaired driving” specifically try to calculate how long iot will take a driver to be under the limit “by estimating Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) with a simple calculation to make it easy for a person to know their risk level.” “The review highlighted the need to understand better what messaging is needed to ensure the transmission of accurate, evidence-based and useful information to people who are at risk of drink driving, what motivates them to use apps of this kind, and how a gamified approach might improve app quality and uptake,” CARRS-Q said. The research body said the project has now been finalised, with full results are expected to be published “in the near future”. [post_title] => QLD wants accurate drink driving apps [post_excerpt] => Would you trust an app to drive? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => qld-wants-accurate-drink-driving-apps [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-06-09 22:25:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-06-09 12:25:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23811 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-05-04 11:17:45 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-05-04 01:17:45 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_23812" align="alignnone" width="287"]Road_Train_Australia_opt Infrastructure money: fuel for votes.[/caption]     Australia’s peak body for councils and municipalities, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), has cautiously welcomed the 2016-17 Budget, expressing relief that the Roads to Recovery program will get a little extra cash alongside an “indication” of a return to inflation-proofing annual grants from Canberra to councils. Funding for the popular scheme, which provides specific purpose funding for councils to fix key roads, has been boosted by $50 million a year with the forward estimates confirming it will continue beyond 2018-19. While abolishing the scheme would have equated to political suicide in the regions, the boost reflects a restoration of a prominent role for councils at the bigger national policy table after the Abbott government intentionally expunged the term ‘local government’ from the very portfolio that looks after it. ALGA President Mayor Troy Pickard said councils had called for additional funding for the Roads to Recovery program “and the extra funds indicated in the budget will be welcomed in helping to address the challenge of maintaining more than 640,000 km of local roads.” However the peak body has also cautioned that the money will only go part of the way to fixing Australia’s bitumen repair backlog and called for roads to be a national investment priority. “More needs to be done to ensure the local road network has the capacity required to address access, productivity and road safety issues, especially in regional areas,” Mayor Pickard said. “Additional investment in local roads must be part of the solution to increasing transport productivity on the nation's transport network." There was also palpable relief that indexation appears to be returning to the popular Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) program that suffered a sudden billion dollar hit under the Abbott government that caught many councils badly short on their own budgeting. According to ALGA, the numbers contained in the budget out years “signalled an expectation that annual indexation of Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs), which will provide $2.3 billion in untied funding to local government in 2016-17, will return from 2017-18.” However the Turnbull government is keeping its options open on the re-indexation front, opting to communicate any move to restore inflation proofing through interpretation rather than specifically calling out and thus committing to such a move. One financially influential factor that won’t to be lost on councils is that while the $1 billion dollar hit via pausing indexation hurt, inflation has remained stubbornly low thus dulling the part of relief that indexation might have otherwise had. "The three-year pause on FAGs indexation implemented in the 2014-15 budget was unexpected and had a severe impact on the sector,” Mayor Pickard said. “We sought a specific commitment from the Government and the Opposition to restore indexation. The indication that indexation is expected to return in 2017-18 is welcome although it does not completely guarantee an end to the freeze, which will reduce ongoing funding for councils around Australia by more $300 million per year." At a wider level ALGA has applauded the vigorous reversal by the Turnbull government of Tony Abbott’s strong that Commonwealth needed to stay strictly out of state led public transport projects, especially at a funding level. Councils have the potential to directly benefit from public transport improvement because of the potential to raise property values on which rates are calculated as well as naturally attracting more residents to council areas well served by trains, light rail and busses. Mayor Pickard said a commitment to infrastructure is essential and “was one of the strong themes running through ALGA's budget submission and 2016 election plan” and welcomed top ups for roads black spots and bridges. “From ALGAs' perspective the additional $60 million in funding for the Bridges Renewal Program and Black Spot Programme will be very welcome,” Mayor Pickard said. [post_title] => Councils welcome Federal relief: Budget2016 [post_excerpt] => In from the cold. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => local-government-finally-gets-some-federal-relief [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-05-10 10:25:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-05-10 00:25:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23720 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-04-27 09:34:56 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-04-26 23:34:56 [post_content] => DSCF0153_opt   There’s no denying the national scourge of tyre dumping and disposal is a massive environmental problem, but magnify rubber radials to the size of those used on gigantic mining trucks, earth-movers and big tractors and you’ve literally got a monster-size problem. As Australia’s mining boom cools, resources companies and local councils are being forced to grapple with how to safely and sustainably deal with the estimated 155,000 tonnes of giant rubber – known as Off the Road Tyres or OTRs – discarded each year which are just too big and expensive to move. Big tyres claim a big chunk of tyre waste stream too, making the problem of OTR disposal as colossal as the giant rubber wheels themselves. Government commissioned research estimates OTRs make-up close to a third of the toxic spent tyre load, proving size really does matter. Worse still, OTRs are so big and so heavy that the main way miners get rid of them is by digging an even bigger hole on-site and then just dumping them there – hardly an environmentally sensitive solution. But that could be about to change. process-destructive-distillation_optAustralia recycling company, Green Distillation Technologies (GDT) – which first came to attention for pioneering a method to chemically deconstruct old tyres into re-usable oil, carbon and steel – has declared it’s going to try and hit the big time with its unique re-processing approach. Craig Dunn, GDT’s chief executive, told Government News his company has signed a deal with Tytec Logistics, which deals with big-tyre logistics and remanufacturing, to try and find a way to deconstruct big rubber by applying his company’s technology. Dunn says that although GDT’s everyday tyre recycling technology is proven, the handling of the oversize tyres so far isn’t – a situation that presents a big opportunity to build a commercial prototype. “Currently there are no means of recycling these very large tyres and the usual means of disposal is burial in a dump on the mine site, or in an EPA nominated dump,” Dunn says. tytec_opt “The test plant for the world’s first processing plant for OTR tyres is being built at the GDT complex in Warren, Western New South Wales, with the first OTR operating plant to be built in Perth in 2017. “Our first concepts have entailed placing our processing chamber horizontal to the ground, rather than the vertical position used for recycling car and truck tyres and using a fork lift and tractor to feed the OTR tyres into the chamber and that approach appears to work quite well, but we need to make it more mechanised.” The commercial incentive to be able to break down big tyres isn’t hard to figure out. According to GDT, a tyre that weighs 3.5 tonnes that is broken down using its processes can give back 1500 litres of oil, 1.5 tonnes of carbon plus the steel reinforcing that goes back to the tyre manufacturer for reuse. Another incentive is that because sustainability is a hotter issue than ever, miners and mining equipment makers have a very real motivation to invest in a process that stops huge tyres from being Tyre forklift_opt(1) buried in mega graveyards all over the world. Dunn sees strong export potential. “We believe that after the first operating plant has been built in Perth, there will be a need for other OTR plants in Australia, as well as the United States and South America,” Dunn says. If that comes off, it could be a lucrative as well as sustainable innovation that bubbles for years to come. [post_title] => Recycling monster truck tyres: big challenge, huge rewards [post_excerpt] => Mining's mega fauna graveyard. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => recycling-monster-truck-tyres-big-challenge-huge-rewards [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-04-27 09:34:56 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-04-26 23:34:56 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23650 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-04-18 19:26:24 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-04-18 09:26:24 [post_content] => woz snip Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has very publicly put the boot into how online giant Uber treats it drivers, using a joint question and answer session with New South Wales Transport Minister Andrew Constance to warn of the danger of new transport oligopolies. “I do have concerns about Uber becoming a monopoly,” Wozniak said. “Uber will push their workforce down to the absolute lowest minimum wage that they can get away with. That’s how I think of Uber: not very nice thoughts.” The strong words came at the NSW Government organised Future Transport Summit where officials, planners, industry and the occasional technology demigod are trying to thrash out a rough vision of how the next 20 years of transit will look like – minus the jetpacks. Woz’s view is one senior Australian politicians and public servants are certain to be taking notice of as they try to manage the effects and consequences of the online juggernaut renowned for attacking regulators both in public and behind closed doors. So far Uber has enjoyed a spot of sunshine after the NSW government moved to provide it and similar services some regulatory legitimacy rather than having transport authorities chase down and fine its drivers -- but Uber’s honeymoon as a hip challenger brand could be as short lived as a wait for one of its cars. Mr Wozniak said that he “like a lot of people have some distrust of Uber and how their drivers don’t really realise necessarily at first that they aren’t really making much money.” “I want to use Lyft instead of Uber when I can now,” Wozniak said, conspicuously namedropping one of Uber’s emerging rivals. A big concern for regulators, governments and passenger like Woz is that as so-called sharing economy platforms rapidly scale-up to disintermediate existing players – like licensed taxi services or hotels in the case of Airbnb – the volume of market share they capture can stifle competition. “It is a danger when any group becomes a very powerful monopoly because they can take advantage and use it in bad ways,” Wozniak said. “I would rather there would be a lot of competitive forces, I’d like there to be about four or five choices anywhere you go.” Buckled-up beside Wozniak, NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance was up for some political ride sharing of his own and certainly wasn’t about to argue for less competition. “We want Lyft here, we want these other products here,” Constance said. “We want the taxi industry to become innovative and drive competition. The whole thinking around transport is going to change.” With speculation rampant about what Uber will morph into should driverless cars become a reality sooner rather than later, Constance was pinged with a logical question as to whether self-driving will actually ease or worsen congestion given a finite amount of road space. As the minister for trains, busses rather than roads (that’s Duncan Gay) the answer won’t be what car dealers want to hear. “This is why I’m building new train networks,” Constance quipped. “I want people in trains not in cars.” Wozniak also had some firm advice for governments and security agencies seeking a back door into encryption technologies that protect devices like the iPhone in the wake of the stoush between Apple and the FBI. “I agree with Apple’s side in the case in the US with the FBI. I’ve been a long-time supporter of civil liberties and civil rights,” Wozniak said. “In this case Apple actually said ‘look, you are a consumer, we make you a good product and we’re guaranteeing it’s so well protected even we cannot get at your data’… I’ve never really heard a company say that.” Wozniak said he believed Apple had been “truthful and honest” in its stand that the company itself could not access the data the FBI had wanted. “I admire that so much and then it’s so shocking that government comes in and says ‘no, we have to tell you [that] you cannot make your product secure’ when cybersecurity is so important to people,” Wozniak said. “Where we can get it [cybersecurity], let’s keep it.” “This case was just [a] flat footed attempt for the government to try and get in and make sure [that] ‘every iPhone ever we can get into’. I don’t believe that’s right … so I’m against it.” [post_title] => Steve Wozniak wants monopoly handbrake put on Uber [post_excerpt] => Give me a Lyft says NSW Transport Minister Constance. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => steve-wozniak-wants-monopoly-handbrake-put-on-uber [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-04-19 10:00:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-04-19 00:00:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27415 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-06-16 11:31:34 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-16 01:31:34 [post_content] =>   By Charles Pauka Australian governments, vehicle manufacturers, transport technology providers and other interested parties have been asked to contribute to the development of a national safety assurance regime for automated vehicles. The National Transport Commission (NTC) has released a discussion paper Regulatory options to assure automated vehicle safety in Australia, which examines the balance between government oversight and industry self-regulation for automated vehicle safety. The paper identifies four regulatory options for a safety assurance system for automated vehicle technology. Chief executive of the NTC Paul Retter said Australia’s transport ministers asked the NTC to look at what level of regulation is needed to ensure automated driving technologies are safe now and into the future. “Australian governments are starting to remove legislative barriers to more automated road vehicles. Without a safety assurance system, these vehicles could potentially be deployed with no government oversight or regulatory intervention,” Mr Retter said. Read more here. This story first appeared in Transport and Logistics News.  [post_title] => National safety scheme for automated vehicles [post_excerpt] => National Transport Commission releases discussion paper. 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