Local technology partners are set to play an increasingly central role in the future the New South Wales transport landscape if the state’s Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Andrew Constance, gets his way.
Constance believes that Australia’s technology partners will be “absolutely front and centre” in the long-term evolution of the state’s transport infrastructure, with the government itself taking a step back in terms of solution delivery.
“Government should not be delivering the solution, by rights," Constance told Salesforce employees during an internal event at the cloud software company’s Sydney offices on 4 November.
"I think we’ve got an important role in terms of making sure everyone’s safety is protected, compliance, and facilitating it, but I don’t think we should be delivering it."
Constance’s comments come just days after he unveiled the NSW Future Transport Technology Roadmap, which sets out a number of initiatives aimed at making the most of new and emerging technology to effectively overhaul the transport landscape in the state.
The roadmap outlines plans for Transport for NSW to take on technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, and adopt the practices of private-sector technology leaders in other non-government sectors, with innovative solutions set to be co-developed with a broad range of industry partners.
It also highlights a push for the government to be swifter on the uptake or alteration of alteration of public policy and regulatory frameworks aimed at enabling the early and safe adoption of new technology within the public transport sector.
One of the central themes outlined in the roadmap is the creation of a Transport Digital Incubator, which will be established to cultivate a “global hotspot” for transport data sciences.
The idea behind the incubator is to create an environment within which the department can prototype and develop new digital applications in an agile manner, and then release them more broadly once they are ripe for production purposes.
For Constance, it’s all part of a broad push to drive innovation and enable innovation within the NSW transport landscape in a bid to create an infrastructure ecosystem that can support the state’s growing population now and into the future.
But to do this effectively, Constance suggests the government should let its technology partners do much of the heavy lifting when it comes to designing and delivering the actual solutions behind public innovation.
“Transport is a technology business,” he said. “And the bottom line is, government’s hopeless at technology; it’s appalling at it.
“There are some obvious and very big failures where governments, over the years, have mucked up technology.
“Government shouldn’t be doing some of these things. We should be getting out of the road. And that’s where it’s very important. So, we ourselves need to change, and that’s where the Smart Innovation Centre work will start to draw out these issues,” he said.
The Smart Innovation Centre is just one of a number of initiatives that illustrate how the state government has been making good on its promise to collaborate with private sector players on technology development, and turn to its technology partners to help drive innovation.