Are We There Yet?


Podcast by ITLS

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Professor Peter Newman is a professor of sustainability at Curtin University in Western Australia. He is a long passionate advocate for public transport in general and rail transport, trains and trams, in particular. He recently, to the surprise of many, came out in support of trackless tramps. Professor Newman joins us on the line now

Jun 2019

24 min 20 sec

At the end of year dinner of the institution of transportation Engineers Australia and New Zealand branch in 2018. Roger Dunne was honoured for his contribution to the transport profession made over many years principally as an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Auckland and as a fellow and life member of the ITE DB: Prior to joining the University of Auckland in 1972 Roger worked for the New Zealand Ministry of Works and development in Palmerston North and Wellington and then Freeman Fox Wilbur Smith and Associates in London and Paris. DB: The link between academia business and government activities is critically important. So we thought we would have a chat to Roger on his reflections from an illustrious career. DB: Sir Roger have you spent your main part of your career in academia. RD: Yes I have and rather surprisingly because I spent about 10 years in the Ministry of Works and in New Zealand and then I went to England for three years I was consulting engineering over there and surprisingly someone offered me a job at the University of Auckland which I originally said no and then eventually accepted. But I've thoroughly enjoyed my stay here. DB: You started in engineering yet I think reading your CV you have seen a lot of broader career areas focused areas come in to the transport field. Would that be a fair reflection. RD: Oh yes yes. RD: I have always been interested in mathematics and the New South Wales master's degree which I did. It took me an interest in that area and then I became interested in planning. RD: Ross Blunden who is professor there and the other staff I said was a great program at New South Wales and really interested me and so I've been very thrilled to be able to be working in the area. DB: Ross Blunden was my professor. Yes. Way back there he was a wonderfully interesting guy. DB: We've now not only taken on the mathematical side of things but also some of the social sciences as well. Oh is that an important expansion. RD: I've always been interested in land use planning you know the arrangement of land use and transport and that was sparked I think by Ross Blunden and others that New South Wales. But I did a postgraduate diploma here which is more or less a master's degree in land use planning and I've got a lot of friends of mine and land use planning and I think that's an area where we're deficient in linking transport with land use. RD: I don't think we we realise the importance of it and the variety that over the last 40 or 50 years but I still don't think we take it into account with our planning and our transport.

Feb 2019

18 min 51 sec

Concerns about exacerbating congestion and crowded transport systems in our city with continuing population growth is now a popular issue. The need for fast trains between major cities and regional areas in Australia has been suggested for a long while, to spread the population away from our capital cities. It now seems as though it is the politically right time to dust off the proposals – IN the recent Victorian state election one party promised to upgrade all of the rail system including four fast lines and some people and organisations in NSW, which will have a state election in March 2019, have raised the idea for fast trains from Sydney to at least Newcastle and Wollongong. It is important to note that FAST trains are not the super express trains we see in Japan, China France or Spain. Professor David Hensher the founding director of the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies at Sydney University said: And I think it's a big challenge that the NSW Government is very interested in, is how can we build a railway between Newcastle and Sydney that takes only one hour and which means traveling at about 150 kilometers an hour. It's not high speed rail but it does require major upgrade of the existing track which in some cases may mean new alignment. We know the government is interested in that and I think it's got to be linked back to taking pressure off Sydney. In an address to the Institute of Transport Engineers in Victoria, John Reid whose company Austraffic collects and compiles transport data, said that considering the impact of new technology is not just about “mechanizing, computerising or robotising what we do at the moment”. Its about what will change and how we can foster new patterns of behavior to produce more livable cities. Fast trains are not just about reducing the travel times for existing travelers. There about enhancing city and regional areas. A recent report titled Building Up and Moving Out, from the federal Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities recommended high-speed rail between cities and regions, with the east coast to be given priority and spoke of the London Effect. Planning expert Bob Meyer has looked closely at Milton Keynes a major UK example and in the podcast speaks about his experiences. While we might condemn the media for oversimplifying the issues much of our computer modelling of transport fails to take into account how many things will change with new transport including some land-use patterns which was part of the discussion with transport planner Chris Stapleton in our other podcast Computer modelling for transport planning. Beyond technicalities to practical applications. The usual discussion in the press about these trains is to serve the journey-to-work. But it is important to understand that an improved transport system is not just to turn regional towns into dormitory suburbs of a major capital city. There will be a significant amount of commuter travelling but it is not just in the typical peak direction of into the major city in the morning and out again in the afternoon. Planning is not just about setting the rules its about consumer choice and what the market will pursue. Fast trains should not be promoted because with have a romantic vision of railways or that they have worked in the past, they will evolve as part of the solution to our plan for vibrant regional areas.

Dec 2018

16 min 32 sec

Professor Michiel Bliemer from the University of Sydney’s Institute of Transport & Logistics Studies talks about the need for a road user pay tax as a policy initiative in order to acquire funds but also affect transport demand.

Nov 2018

13 min 52 sec

Dr Stephen Greaves who is Professor in Transport Management at Sydney University Business School. Technology is seen as having a huge impact on serving our future needs. But this is not just the hardware of autonomous cars for example. Technology can also add to the ways we can understand peoples’ needs as much as how we might serve those needs. Stephen’s current research is focused around the health/environmental/safety impacts of transport, active travel including cycling, and innovative travel data collection methods using the latest technologies.

Nov 2018

14 min 10 sec

Everyone seems to have an opinion about public transport fares. Most think they should be lower and some even suggest they should be free. But does it matter that much? And what are the consequences of different prices not just in the short term as who decides to get a bus or a train rather than use your car, but also in the long term which includes where we chose to live and work and the resultant impact on the shape of the city that develops. Professor Corinne Mulley, then Professor of Public Transport at the University of Sydney’s Institute of Transport & Logistics Studies

Nov 2018

27 min 32 sec

Tyler O’Hare is in his final semester of a civil engineering degree at Monash. He was on the organising committee of a Student Leadership Summit held recently in Melbourne. Tyler’s experience, his reflections on his degree and the ways in which he is striving to expand his network and understanding of what is involved in traffic engineering and transport planning are an interesting case study on how young people are creating a future in our profession. Tyler is doing an engineering degree but finds he is not “super interested in structures and water”. The Civil course has no specific transport stream although they do a few subjects such as road design including horizontal and vertical elevation. There are some elective subjects and Tyler has used these to dig deeper into the transport engineering field. There are a couple of other ways Tyler found activities that broadened his experience: “In one of my subjects earlier this year I was actually in combination with Vic Roads. We did a massive assignment based on their whole “movement and place” principle which opened my eyes and opened the eyes of the students to focus not just on cars running down the road but making the roads a place for pedestrians and a place for cyclists to be involved as well”. At Monash a lot of people who are doing civil engineering are doing a double degree. Some of the subjects include architecture, sciences, law and the arts. Tyler said “I'm working on a major project at the moment with an architecture student who's doing civil engineering and architecture as a double degree. He's probably focused on going more down the architecture stream but it's awesome to talk to him and get his understanding of how the fields differ, which is really cool”. Like most students Tyler is looking to expand his network of contacts, and events run by AITPM and ITE are very helpful. The most productive step in getting a broader understanding of traffic and transport was having people he could firstly relate to and then that can lead to mentoring.

Oct 2018

17 min 42 sec