The latest 16 April 2019 edition of IPWEA InTouch Magazine includes a feature article from Level5design CEO Peter Damen titled "Cycling Infrastructure is effective - but local government is using less of it".
Local streets provide a place where the community can access their homes and other local destinations and are an active place to walk, cycle, play, relax and interact. They support local land use and community activity and are part of the public open space network. Read more on the IPWEA website here.
On Wednesday, our CEO Peter Damen met with DeepBlue Technology as part of the Australian Future Transport Mission to China connecting Australian transport authorities to some of the world’s largest innovators in transport technology.
DeepBlue Technology is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) company based in Shanghai. Earlier this year they debuted their newest development in AI-based autonomous driving, the Smart Panda Bus which is 12 metres long and can seat up to 40 people. It features an in-vehicle robot, palm vein recognition, accurate advertisement push, abnormal behaviour detection and an intelligent emergency escape system which hasn’t been implemented in a public commuter system until now.
Among a host of DeepBlue’s AI technologies, Peter also learnt about their smart vision processing software which detects abnormalities in work zones and their range of service robots including Floor Cleaning, Vacuuming, Vending, On-board Vending, Patrol, Smart Ant Logistics, Hotel Service and Vehicle Assistant models.
A fantastic week in China so far, we look forward to seeing what else DeepBlue Technology have in store for the future!
As part of the Australian Future Transport Mission to China, our CEO Peter Damen is in China meeting with leaders in transport innovation and autonomous vehicle technology to gain further insight into the transport technologies of the future. Yesterday he had the pleasure of meeting with BAIC International, the top electric vehicle supplier in the world. Currently, they are monitoring 345,000 of their BJEV electric vehicles across the Chinese road network, which have driven 5.1 billion km. Peter was impressed by their innovative transport technology program. They are currently in development of the Optimus Prime project which aims to increase sustainability in the development of new energy vehicles and usage. They also created the Darwin system which is a self-growth vehicle intelligence system. BAIC plans to enter the European market with its electric Arcfox brand unveiling an SUV named the ECF as well as its GT electric supercar. Arcfox currently sells the Arcfox Lite which is a two-seater SUV released in China in 2017.
Level5design featured in this week's The Parking Insider, from Parking Australia, with a thought provoking article on how car sharing is set to reduce dependency on privately owned vehicles.
Read the full article here - https://www.parking.asn.au/car-sharing-set-to-reduce-dependency-on-privately-owned-vehicles/
Thanks go to all of our speakers that did such a great job at the "Connected and Automated Vehicle and Emerging Transport Technologies workshop" for local government on Wednesday 13th March in WA.
Thank you to all those that made the effort to join us for the day. IPWEA are doing a great job and we are pleased to be able to support their association and to help their members.
Our Level5design stand at the IPWEA State Conference in Fremantle over the 14th-15th March.
Here is our CEO Peter Damen presenting a plenary talk on Connected Automated Vehicles and Emerging Transport along with a panel of representatives from across Australia.
The talk covered the emerging technologies in automated and connected vehicles to allow organisations the opportunity to become better prepared for the coming changes.
How will the introduction of automated vehicles and emerging transport technologies change the transport industry?
To enable the functioning of new technologies in the transport sector, certain operations and laws need to be changed. One example of this is the need for change in local parking laws. Why do you think this could be?
Find out about what needs to change to enable these new technologies from Level5design’s Larry Schneider at IPWEA’s workshop on March 13th.
See the full programme of talks here - https://pos.li/2bbnr8
Autonomous & connected vehicles are coming… are you prepared?
Level5design are excited to work with IPWEA and a range of esteemed presenters from around Australia for a workshop on Connected Automated Vehicle & Emerging Technology, on Wednesday the 13th of March.
The workshop will cover the following topics:
For more information, view the full programme here - https://pos.li/2bbnr8
Recent research conducted by Level5design shows speeding is the highest ranking traffic-related issue being addressed by local government and has been for over 10 years. By identifying and implementing the most effective traffic calming techniques, local area traffic management can stop speeding in its tracks. Watch this space for more useful facts and figures such as what are the most effective traffic calming techniques used in Australia and New Zealand.
Why are bicycle facilities considered effective but being used less?
Research by Level 5 Design shows bicycle facilities incorporated within local area traffic management schemes have been rated by local government as increasingly effective, but are being used less than before. Despite a 19 percentage point rise in effectiveness of bicycle facilities since 2014, there has been an equivalent decrease in their use within traffic management schemes in local communities. In fact, quite a few large metropolitan local governments state that they never build bicycle facilities into local area traffic management schemes. If these facilities are as effective as many say, surely we should be using more of them. What are your thoughts on why this could be happening?
If you knew that car sharing would provide big benefits for your family, would you sign up to it?
Car sharing is growing in popularity, but many people are still unaware of its benefits and aren’t quite sure how it works. Is it expensive? Do you pay for petrol? What happens when you’re done with the car? What about insurance? These are all relevant questions that can be easily answered if people have the right information.
The first important piece of information to know about car sharing is that it is a form of car rental but it differs from the traditional car rental approach typically used in Australia (Hertz, Avis, etc.) It is designed for convenience, and it generally appeals to people who need to use a vehicle for only short periods of time (a few hours) and want to pay for what they use as they go. It allows access to a car at any time, and in some instances with no prior booking. It can provide access to a wide range and type of vehicles from sedans through to wagons, SUVs and utes.
So, how does it work? First, you need to find out what car sharing operators you are close to. The leading companies for car sharing in Australia are Flexicar, GreenShareCar and GoGet and all work off a similar approach of picking a plan (how many hours you want to drive), booking your car and then driving away!
Shared cars tend to come fully packaged with insurance, registration, fuel, maintenance, servicing, cleaning, etc. so there is a lot less to pay for and to worry about.
There are several different types of car sharing approaches:
Car sharing has the potential to make a major contribution in the transition away from Australian’s dependence on private cars. Using private cars is one of the most carbon intensive ways to get around and car sharing will increasingly become important for a nation that is edging progressively closer to accepting the benefits of partially and conditionally automated vehicles. Car sharing can be an effective part of the overall solution to improve the liveability of our cities that is likely to include electric, connected and automated technologies and other ride sharing and car subscription models.
One car share vehicle has the potential to replace between 7 – 13 privately owned cars and the parking spaces that go with them. The typical car share user travels 50% less than the driver of a privately owned vehicle, and often uses other more sustainable methods of transportation such as public transport, cycling and walking.
The cost of owning and driving a car is continuing to escalate. The latest analysis by the Australian Automobile Association (Transport Affordability Index Sep 2018) has found that the average Australian metropolitan family spends $18,221 a year on transport costs — up 4.2% on the previous year. The analysis found transport costs now represent 14.4 per cent of city family annual expenses.
With the cost of owning a car becoming increasingly expensive, car sharing can help to eliminate many of these costs and ensure that people only pay for what they use. The benefits from not providing as much parking, which is often considerably underutilised, are also significant.
The City of Port Phillip in Victoria have been conducting studies on car sharing and have found that every dollar spent on car sharing returns $2.43 in quantifiable benefits to the community. They also estimated that there are approximately 1,000 fewer vehicles on the City’s roads today due to the 1,000 car share vehicles within its jurisdiction.
Victoria isn’t the only state to highlight the benefits of car sharing. The City of Sydney in NSW found that the benefits that car share provides outweigh the costs by a ratio of 19 to 1! This proves just how effective car sharing can be when local government actively promotes it.
The most attractive places in our cities are walkable, bikeable and public transport friendly. Car sharing can complement these forms of transport and will provide a range of benefits in our increasingly densely populated cities, where it is more cost effective to use a car sharing service in place of owning a second car!
Other benefits of car sharing include:
For car sharing to really take off, the driving and sharing culture in Australia does need to change. When it comes to our cars, we seem to prefer the privacy and intimacy of our own vehicle, and sharing, whether it be hiring out your own car or making use of a car driven by others, challenges these norms. As a nation we are becoming less attached to the places and items that we depend on, and over time this will include our privately owned vehicles.
What would convince you to try out car sharing?
For some time, our advice at Level 5 Design has been that parking lots specifically designed for self-parking cars have the potential to take up 60% less space than traditional lots. Savings can be made on parking footprint, aisle widths, ramps, ceiling heights, finishes, stairs, elevators, lighting, security, boomgates, etc.
Now, research from the University of Toronto in Canada has backed this up, with their new study finding that parking lots for autonomous vehicles could hold up to 62% more vehicles than current parking lots! Not only is this good for developers, but it also means a better outcome for the driving public.
The study was done by a group of researchers who used a computer simulation to figure out the perfect size of a parking lot that had been designed specifically for autonomous vehicles. Not having to provide space for pedestrian access or for people to open their doors was taken into consideration when determining this perfect sized parking lot. The fact that connected autonomous vehicles have the ability to communicate with each other and to rearrange themselves also contributes to this outcome.
With large areas of our cities being allocated to parking, it only seems logical that the next step should be to research and identify new and innovative approaches to improve parking and to make better use of the space currently taken up by it. Autonomous vehicles will have the ability to park themselves, which means that they could effectively park outside urban areas, thereby allowing more room for commercial development, community and recreation areas, etc. It also means that where many of our city spaces are currently dominated by the car and the car parks that serve them, we can start giving more attention to the pedestrian environment and creating more active spaces for people to live, work and play.
An indicative illustration depicting the additional capacity that a car park designed for autonomous vehicles could provide versus a conventional car park.
Self-parking technology presents the opportunity for millions of people to be dropped off right outside the front door of their buildings without ever having to go near a car park. Self-parking vehicles will be equipped with all of the technology needed to safely navigate between the drop off point at your building and a car park without human supervision. The car park may be hundreds of metres away and might be above or below ground. Providing that the car park and access roadways from the building are adequately mapped within well-defined geofenced precincts and your vehicle is properly connected to the self-parking app, then self-parking vehicles will automatically manoeuvre to the car park, find a parking space, and then autonomously park until they are summoned again later for their next journey. Self-parking vehicles will return automatically on request, and the fact that they will self-park, eliminates the hassle of having to personally drive into the car park, find a suitable parking spot, park your vehicle, and then thread your way back to your destination on foot.
While autonomous vehicles with automated valet parking (AVP) capabilities will allow us to both decrease the size of car parks and free up valuable space in otherwise built up cities, a lot does need to be done to prepare for the transition to this future and how we manage the period in-between while we have a mixture of self-parking and conventionally parked vehicles. The evolution of the technology and the requirement to provide large parking lots is going to change dramatically over the next decade.
Bosch has publicly announced a predicted launch date of its self-parking AVP technology within 3 years. Other large vehicle technology suppliers such Valeo and Continental have also announced similar product launch dates, and one significant supplier has advised us that they have proven self-parking technology available for deployment within private developments right now.
There is definitely more work to be done to get this right and it will take many years for the technology to be rolled out as standard across the entire vehicle fleet. Nonetheless, some people will have access to the technology very soon, and having paid for a car enabled with it, they will want to use it. My view is that a dramatic change in thinking is needed right now, and those companies that start planning and designing for the introduction of self-parking technology now will reap the rewards.
Does your company fit that description? What are your thoughts?
What is innovation and how does it apply to transport? Is Australia a nation of innovation in the transport sector or is it a follower? Are we succeeding in our endeavours and what positive insights can be revealed?
Australia has for a long time been a leading global innovator in the design and regulation of large articulated trucks as the backbone of its freight and logistics industry. This is important as Australia spends approximately twice as much of its GDP per capita on transport as the average OECD country. By being innovative in road transport it has led the nation to be much more internationally competitive with its exports on a global stage.
So are driverless vehicles the nation’s greatest opportunity for success in transport innovation? ADVI, the Australia and New Zealand Driverless Vehicles Initiative, seems to think so. They believe that Australia’s early adoption, investment and leadership in this space will dictate our international competitiveness for many decades to come.
ADVI says these technologies will make driving easier, allow people to be more productive and offer greater mobility to a wider range of people than ever before. As a result, driverless vehicles will provide significant economic, environmental and social benefits including improving social inclusion.
Australia was the first nation in the southern hemisphere to demonstrate autonomous vehicles on its public road system in November 2015 when Volvo demonstrated its autonomous drive technology on the Southern Expressway in Adelaide.
Australia has the foundation for a growing industry to support the growth of automated vehicles. We already have some excellent success stories with locally grown companies like Cohda Wireless and Seeing Machines showing that we can be very effective innovators.
Unfortunately right now there are few automated vehicle technology companies headquartered in Australia and Australian companies also hold very few patents. A recent report by KPMG also highlights other barriers to the industry in Australia including a lack of electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging stations, limited availability of 4G communications throughout Australia, and the relatively poor quality of our regional road infrastructure. Often innovation is thwarted due to these types of external barriers. An example is the electric vehicle mobility space. Electric vehicles have been slow to be embraced in Australia for a number of reasons. Purchase cost and the distance able to be travelled on a charge remain key concerns.
According to the Electric Vehicle Council, Australia is falling behind on electric vehicle uptake. While there are two million electric vehicles on the road globally, they represent less than one tenth of one per cent of the market in Australia. And yet, a July 2018 survey by ACA Research revealed that 26% of all Australian’s would be interested in buying an electric vehicle as their next vehicle. And 80% believed electric vehicles will be mainstream within 5 to 10 years.
Will innovations in the hydrogen electric vehicle space go the same way? If we act now we can surely do better and establish a strong innovation ecosystem in hydrogen in Australia that achieves a better outcome.
Technology growth in transport is considered by many as ‘exponential’ right now. But what creates successful technology? Steve Wozniak, one of the co-founders of Apple, says it is “experience”. If consumers use it and have a positive experience then they’ll keep using it. If they don’t then it’s time to move to something different.
So in 2018 where does Australia stand with innovation in transport? Well we have many of the right ingredients including the talent and creativity to succeed. We also have many companies in the transport space like the RAC and Transurban that are embracing innovation and mainstreaming it into their core operations. So the future is bright but we do need to continue to implement new ideas and to build the supporting innovation ecosystem.
Peter Damen is the Principal and Chief Executive Officer of Level 5 Design, a specialist advisory and design consultancy dedicated to achieving valuable innovative outcomes for its customers in the rapidly evolving transport technology and infrastructure planning and design spaces.