Transport Certification Australia (TCA) General Manager Strategy and Delivery, Gavin Hill, spoke about the digitalisation of road transport networks and how new technologies provide opportunities to optimise the management and planning of road infrastructure at the VTA State Conference 2020.
Hill said demand for goods, building materials and the transport of resources is higher than ever. He cited population growth, massive infrastructure projects and growing access to consumer goods from new markets as key driving forces.
He further suggested that in fully utilising digitalisation – the automation made possible by digital processes – efficiencies can result when previously separate processes are linked and integrated.
He went on to draw an unusual comparison between roads and related infrastructure and other public utilities such as water and electricity.
“Generally speaking, those in charge of these essential services do a good job of managing short- and long-term demand and they do this by using technology to collect data which helps them make the most of their investments, enabling them to derive the best response to demand in order to supply the ‘traffic’ that flows across their networks.
“Roads have traffic of a different kind but if you look at the way these utilities networks manage the collection of data and information to manage their operational dimensions I think it’s instructive in terms of where we might go in the road management sector in order to meet the ever-increasing demands placed upon it.”
Hill proceeded to elaborate that trucks lead the charge when it comes to connected vehicles and he intimated that the broad range of data collected by trucks is presently under-utilised by roads and traffic management authorities.
“What you’ve become (as truck operators), perhaps without even realising it, is roads and infrastructure data collectors. You’ve gone ahead and done the right thing by driving efficiencies and safety with in-vehicle technologies but the data you collect, or at least parts of it, is also valuable information for road planners and managers.”
He summed up by referring to his previously stated notion that in this age of digitalisation, maximised efficiencies can result when previously separate processes – truck operation and road planning and management – are linked and integrated through the sharing of data and information.