Eye on Government: Intelligent Transport Grants Program

A new Intelligent Transport Grants Program has been launched by the Victorian Government to drive technology-based innovation and collaboration for the development of Melbourne’s road network.

Did you know that traffic light “ramp meters” placed on the major on-ramps across Melbourne’s freeways have increased freeway capacity by up to 30%? This is perhaps the best-known example of an intelligent transport system – identified by the Victorian Government as a key to relieving Melbourne’s traffic congestion.

The government is now inviting proposals from the technology industry to address a growing range of challenges across Melbourne’s transport network. Launched by the Victorian Government on 11 March, the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) Transport Technology Grants Program will foster industry-based research and trials of intelligent transport systems that help relieve congestion within complex transport networks.

The on-ramp meters, for example, demonstrate how technology alone can directly improve the transport network by simply controlling traffic flow – without building any new infrastructure, requisitioning new land, or creating 12m+ traffic delays due to road works.

The intelligent transport grants program is administered by VicRoads, which has an overall four-year vision focusing on:

  • Servicing the customer
  • Journeys: getting to work, activities, events
  • Productivity: building a road network that supports supply chains, and
  • Customer wellbeing

Each of these focus points will be in part addressed by providing a road network that incorporates greater visibility of activity leading to higher traffic capacity. Intelligent transport systems can deliver this via technology-based solutions such as ramp meters, speed signals, bluetooth readers, and lane sensors – all fully integrated across a sophisticated digital network.

For example, by introducing automatic vehicle detection systems linked to individual lanes across the road network (not just the freeway network), live travel times can be calculated and optimum speed signals displayed. Visibility of road activity (potentially made available to customers via smartphone apps, say) would also allow drivers to plan journeys, including alternative routes if necessary.

The new intelligent transport grant program is driven by the combined need of VicRoads and Public Transport Victoria (PTV), and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR), for a dynamic and fully integrated traffic management system. A further need is for the data and information gained from our roads and public transport network to be shared with industry and the public to drive further awareness and innovation.

The grant also provides an opportunity for industry and government to collaboratively showcase new technologies and innovation at the 2016 ITS World Congress to be held in Melbourne in October.

Grant applications will close on Friday 15 April, with successful candidates announced in late-May. For further information and to apply, visit the VicRoads tender portal.

Also see our post on tips for applying for government grants.

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