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09 July 2019 – A new report into the future of freight and transport from global engineering, design and advisory company Aurecon has revealed surprising insights into Australians’ preferences for moving people and goods as cities grow at unprecedented rates.
Titled 2035: Moving People and Goods, the report contains insights from more than 1300 people who were asked to imagine their lives in 2035 and express choices about where they live, work, commute, and the delivery of goods. With Australia’s population predicted to reach 32 million people by 2035, the survey was conducted to gain a greater understanding of the impact that freight and transport will have on future communities and liveability.
Overwhelmingly, the most important overall consideration when it came to future freight and transport decisions was convenience. For 59% of respondents, convenience was the most important consideration in relation to transport. Fourteen per cent of respondents would forsake some transport convenience if they could save money, but only five per cent would make choices that benefited the environment over convenience.
Aurecon Managing Director – Infrastructure Ben Stapleton said people and communities now placing a higher value on time is a consideration that must be factored into future planning decisions.
“As urban population growth continues to skyrocket and cities continue to expand, we’ll need to balance the increase of congestion and activity with communities’ demand for more convenience,” Mr Stapleton said.
“Choice, speed, access and responsiveness are the clear priority of future generations. An important role for planners developing infrastructure of the future will be how to achieve this functionality and balance against cost and environmental impacts. We need to devise solutions that provide convenience as well as an environmental benefit, but this will require us all to work collaboratively on such complex matters.
“Convenience will influence every aspect of the planning and design process, and along with cost considerations, value creation, equitable access and environmental impacts and opportunities, must be considered in an holistic way to create infrastructure that meets the needs of today, and can be flexible to suit the expectations of tomorrow.
“One example of this is as an industry, we need to continue prioritising the development and improvement of integrated, reliable transport systems to create reliability and increase convenience, reducing barriers for people to use public transport and a decreasing reliance on the car.”
As the trend to vehicle automation gathers momentum every day, the survey highlighted that cities, governments and transport agencies were playing catchup when it comes to supporting the infrastructure required for automation. Some industries on the other hand, such as mining, were already benefiting through operating driverless rail and introducing automation.
Likewise, the survey highlighted the desire to look at different solutions for our future freight and transport network. New technologies were seen as an answer to resolve the pressures on transport networks and the decline in liveability driven by the massive growth in road freight demand since 2000.
Mr Stapleton said these results highlighted how solutions such as driverless trucks would change the cost structure, utilisation of trucking and cost of consumer goods, while tackling two significant contributors to accidents in Australia – truck size and fatigue.
Data also revealed a significant disconnect between the general public’s expectations of autonomous vehicles (AV) versus industry respondents. In 2035, 46% of survey respondents want to jump in an AV to get to work, yet 67% of industry respondents envisage travelling to work via multiple modes of transport spanning bus, train, riding or walking.
“This indicates a clear gap in what the general public expect will be available for AVs, and we expect that industry is more cautious about the offerings that will be available. In order to make AVs a reality, regulatory barriers will need to be overcome through development of policy that responds to and embraces technology and innovation,” said Mr Stapleton.
“Freight and transport policies need to be flexible so that jobs, homes and infrastructure networks can be coordinated to maximise accessibility and liveability. We need to create choice for consumers by bringing all transport modes – ranging from car, ride share, public and active transport – together and integrating them into people’s lives rather than forcing transport solutions upon them.
“We need to work with all stakeholders to reimagine what the future of transport could look like, helping to remove roadblocks and pushing innovation in this area forward so the gap between the public’s expectation and what industry perceives will be ready and accessible to people in the future can be reduced.
“Engagement with the public is fundamental to gain a thorough understanding of what all this means now and into the future, and also for industry to understand what people really want.”
The report also explores how to integrate all modes of transport into people’s lives and ensure fair and equitable access for all, and considers the various challenges that increased freight demand will have on road safety.
More than 1300 respondents from urban and regional areas across Australia shared their views as part of the 2035 Moving People and Goods survey.
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