Respected ITS industry leader Dr Paul Higgins has been announced as the recipient of ITS Australia’s highest honour, the Max Lay Lifetime Achievement Award.
Dr Higgins, whose career in intelligent transport systems spans more than 45 years, has been an active creator and innovator, leading the design and development of dozens of technology-enabled road safety products that have been deployed across Australia and internationally.
“I am both honoured and humbled to accept this award. I had spoken to Max Lay several times in the early 90’s at IVHS conferences, the organisation that preceded ITS. His gracious capacity to inspire aspiring engineers has remained with me and has sustained my interest in supporting engineering student research projects,” said Dr Higgins.
The Max Lay Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually to a leader in the advanced transport technology industry and is recognised globally.
Dr Higgins began his career in the traffic signal unit at Brisbane City Council (BCC), simultaneously pursuing an electrical apprenticeship and engineering qualification at QIT, showcasing a rare blend of technical ‘hands-on’ abilities and design skills. Notably, he established the BCC Traffic Signal Laboratory, which was instrumental in developing Brisbane’s BLISS wide area traffic management system during the evolution from relays to microprocessors in the mid-1970s.
His entrepreneurial spirit led to the establishment of a software engineering company in the late 1980’s, followed by the formation of Excel Infotech in 1992 and its eventual expansion to the Excel Technology Group (ETG) in 1996.
Under his leadership, ETG’s robust R&D focus yielded over 30 innovative ITS products, securing five patents and garnering a reputation for reliability and quality. ETG has also delivered a highly successful range of detection solutions, which are widely deployed across Australia and internationally.
Paul’s pursuit of knowledge and excellence earned him a Queensland Government research Scholarship to attend the Engineering Entrepreneurship Development Program at MIT Sloan School of Management in 2007, further amplifying his contributions to the industry.
Beyond his own achievements, Dr Higgins’ commitment to societal impact is evident through ETG’s sponsorship of undergraduate and postgraduate research students. His dedication to nurturing future talent was recognised by the Queensland University of Technology in 2007 when he was honoured with an Outstanding Mentoring of Students Award.
He was appointed adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Queensland in 2013 which became a six-year tenure, and he continues to mentor and supervise research students today.
In 2023, Dr Higgins received Life Membership of the Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers Society, underscoring his profound impact and influence.