New Zealand to study the economic opportunities from new transport technologies


New Zealand’s Ministry of Transport and its largest business advocacy body, BusinessNZ, are partnering to commission a study into how the country’s economy can benefit from transport innovation.

The study will be overseen by an advisory group, which met for the first time last week, chaired by Dr David Prentice, chief executive of the multi-disciplinary infrastructure consultancy Opus. The advisory group also includes the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and a range of other players from the public and private sectors. The private sector is developing much of the new technology, so the New Zealand government feels it is critical that it engages with the companies involved.

In June 2014, the Ministry of Transport released its ‘Intelligent Transport Systems Technology Action Plan 2014-2018’, which listed specific actions that the government was undertaking advance the adoption of ITS technologies, including: strategic leadership, direction setting and collaboration; providing a supportive regulatory environment; funding and procuring infrastructure or services; and using the information and opportunities provided by ITS.

“The potential of self-driving cars and their associated economic opportunities are often the focus of research and investment, but there are many other aspects of the transport system which present economic opportunities,” explained New Zealand’s Transport Minister, Simon Bridges (right).

“I want to see businesses positioned to flourish in New Zealand, as intelligent transport systems (ITS) are commercialized. The study is expected to be completed by the end of 2017, and will make recommendations for how we can develop and grow ITS market opportunities where we have a competitive advantage, and identify areas to be strengthened.”

Bridges continued, “There are companies in New Zealand already working in the growing ITS market, as well as companies who could do so. A number of international companies have also expressed interest in developing their ITS technologies in New Zealand. We have a reputation for good, effective regulation, which is enforced by practical regulators who are open to finding solutions which support innovation. Leveraging off these advantages to support businesses, and attracting international companies to come and develop their technology here, will have significant benefits for transport in New Zealand, and the broader economy.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).