NTC calls for more data and analysis to improve Australia’s transport planning


Australia’s National Transport Commission (NTC) is calling for more transportation data sets and more regular reports on freight and passenger movements, in order to aid government and industry with the long-term planning of the country’s transport network.

The NTC has released its Who moves what where: Better informing transport planning for Australians discussion paper, which recommends a proposed five-yearly ‘Who moves what where’ report and seeks stakeholder feedback on the draft recommendations to ministers to better inform and equip Australia’s transport planning decision makers. The NTC is an independent statutory body that contributes to the achievement of national transport policy objectives by developing regulatory and operational reform of road, rail and intermodal transport.

In November 2015 Australia’s transport ministers asked the NTC to describe existing transport usage datasets, update transport industry composition data, and analyze existing high-level information on transport usage for freight and passenger flows. They also asked that the organization to develop options and opportunities to improve data collection and sharing, potentially using modern telematics technology and other applications.

The discussion paper sets out the lessons from the ‘Who moves what where’ project to date, proposes recommendations to fill identified information gaps, and provides opportunities to improve data collection and sharing, to benefit planning for transport and related areas in Australia. The NTC is seeking stakeholder comments to finalize the recommendations that will be presented to ministers in the second half of 2017. Other proposed recommendations in the discussion paper are related to a transport-wide approach to identifying long-term statistical and information priorities, and introducing data collections to assist with measuring transport productivity. The NTC is also interested in working with other government agencies to find innovative ways to encourage the Australian community’s use of relevant open data sets in the future.

Chief executive of the NTC, Paul Retter, said it made sense to keep building upon the data the NTC had compiled from more than 150 data sets and released in the Who moves what where information paper in September last year.

“Publishing a regular report on passenger and freight movement trends would help industry, governments and local communities plan for the future,” noted Retter. “If we are able to use the knowledge and power of even more big data sets and better analytics, we can produce detailed reports that identify national trends, and the likely impact those trends will have on the transport systems and associated infrastructure routes we use every day.

“Australia needs to have the best information to make the best investments in transport infrastructure, from large-scale projects to the location of bus stops. Every Australian has a stake in better, more productive transport systems, including consumers, employers, and governments, and I encourage all of them to make a submission through our website. The feedback will help us determine the final recommendations to be presented to Australia’s transport ministers at our meeting scheduled for November.”

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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).