In October, Karen Fehl and Steve Griffith presented a paper at the 23rd ITS World Congress in Melbourne. Titled, ‘Better Business Outcomes through ITS,’ the paper acknowledged significant benefits to customers and asset owners, while also highlighting some of the challenges associated with ITS implementation and expansion in NZ over the past 16 years. These challenges were summarised as:
- Uncontrolled disparate growth
- Vendor-driven Evolution
- Aligning Technology Advances with Project Programmes
- Business Systems Alignment with Physical Infrastructure
- Human Factors in ITS
The paper then went on to suggest that these challenges also provide opportunities for improving systems, including the development of systems and standards, strong policy leadership and better business processes.
The introduction of ITS systems into New Zealand’s roading network over the past two decades has resulted in gradual improvements in information provided to customers in a reliable and timely fashion. However, aside from the technical considerations, there have been a number of organisational, legal and jurisdictional challenges to overcome. These challenges have also presented opportunities. In addition, Government and lead transport authority, the NZ Transport Agency, are developing systems and standards at a number of levels. Through gradual adoption of various systems and standards, and strong policy leadership, the NZ Transport Agency is increasingly benefiting from better business processes surrounding ITS. This will result in better project outcomes in terms of the quality of information provided to customers, as well as improved value for money. This paper describes some of the historical challenges which have motivated business change, and provides some insight into the opportunities that arise through legislative, organisational and standards-based changes to promote better business outcomes through ITS.
Steve attended a seminar on 30th November, which investigated the safety of At-Grade Rail Crossings. The seminar involved a series of presentations, followed by a panel discussion (of which Steve was a panel member). The seminar was focussed on exploring how serious an issue it is, and what the possible safety improvement options are. Steve observed that while significant progress has been made to date in improving safety for motorists, pedestrian safety has deteriorated. It was acknowledged that the public profile of these fatalities is very high, is very disruptive for passenger transport, and more can be done. This involves tackling the issue from a number of fronts, including via education programmes, enforcement as well as engineering solutions, particularly through smart use of ITS.