On 15 February the Australian Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) industry acknowledged outstanding achievements in advanced transport technology at the 15th annual ITS Australia Awards. 

The ITS Australia Awards recognise organisations that leverage new and emerging technologies to enhance the intelligence, safety and efficiency of Australia’s transport networks.

ITS Australia President, Silje Troseth, said that the ITS Australia Awards have once again showcased the great innovation happening across the industry, recognised amongst the world’s best.

“What stands out this year is the level of collaboration amongst finalists and winners alike,” Ms Troseth said. 

“It is inspiring to see the industry combining their great knowledge and capability to deliver incredible solutions to enhance Australia’s vehicles, roads, and infrastructure networks.”

2024’s Connected & Automated Vehicle Award was won by the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads for its presentation, Demonstrating Improved Safety in Australian Roadworks Using Portable C-ITS Roadside Stations.

In this project, the department completed a successful C-ITS roadworks demonstration, showcasing the integration of roadworks-specific equipment with a multi-vendor proof of concept. The event demonstrated how portable C-ITS roadside stations, not previously used in Australia, can improve safety and congestion in temporary traffic management situations.

Department of Transport and Main Roads Chief Engineer, Dennis Walsh, said that the department is honoured that its Cooperative Intelligent Transport System, or C-ITS, at Roadworks demonstration project, has been acknowledged for its contribution to the Connected and Automated Vehicle award.

“We were proud to be recognised and to have led a project that brought together so many local and international partners to showcase a tangible, interoperable, and impactful use of C-ITS portable Roadside Stations in realistic Australian roadworks situations,” Mr Walsh said.  

“TMR looks forward to continued cooperation with industry and other road authorities to deploy a suite of C-ITS services that will lead to safer roads for drivers.”

The Smart Transport Infrastructure Award was given to Transurban for its Pacemaker Lighting System for the Burnley Tunnel project in Melbourne. The system aims to improve the driver experience by increasing drivers’ line of sight and helping drivers maintain a consistent speed in the steep and deep Burnley Tunnel. It is part of a significant makeover of the Burnley Tunnel intended to reduce congestion and improve safety.

Transurban General Manager of Victorian Operations, Phillip Naulls, said that Transurban is honoured to be recognised.

“Since we installed this Australian-first system in the Burnley Tunnel in March last year, we’ve seen a substantial improvement in our Linkt customers’ experience in the tunnel, with a 38 per cent decrease in stop-start traffic and the average journey 50 seconds faster during the evening peak,” Mr Naulls said. 

The Intelligent Mobility Award went to Sprightly Transport Solutions for its demonstration, Seamlessly Integrating Real-Time Safety and Efficiency in Public Transport.

In this world-first solution, Sprightly has integrated real-time location, route and schedule monitoring, Driver App, CCTV+, Passenger Information Display (PID) and Automated Passenger Counting into a single system, replacing the multiple IT systems that are usually required, with efficiency and safety benefits for both drivers and passengers.

Sprightly Transport Solutions CEO and Founder, Brett Werner, said that as a startup in public transport Sprightly’s team is incredibly proud to win this award.

“We’ve worked tirelessly on our cutting-edge technology, and this award is a wonderful validation of hard work put in over an extended period of time,” Mr Werner said. 

“Thank you to ITS for encouraging and recognising our contribution.”

The Excellence in Research & Development Award sponsored by iMOVE Australia was won by Queensland University of Technology (QUT) for its presentation, Advancing and Commercialising Autonomous Vehicle Technology, in partnership with Ford Motor Corporation.

The project partners developed three new positioning technology solutions for autonomous vehicles, which have now been commercialised. The developments include more reliable positioning techniques that use the surrounding vehicles to stop getting lost, adapt their behaviour to different places, and understand how the environment can change.

QUT Centre for Robotics Director, Professor Michael Milford, said that he was honoured and excited by the recognition and acknowledged the importance of the collaboration with industry.

“This award is testament to the hard work of the QUT research team and our collaborating industry partner Ford Motor Corporation,” Professor Milford said.

“That this work could be done in Australia is also testament to the wonderful ecosystem for ITS research and development here, and we greatly appreciate all those who have worked with and supported us along this journey.”

The Excellence in Transport Data Award went to Yarra Trams – operated by Keolis Downer, for its Yarra Trams Patterns Platform – Using GPS data to improve tram services.

In partnership with HOVE, Keolis Downer has implemented a data visualisation platform, Patterns. Developed by creating a patronage model that employs a high quantity of anonymised GPS phone traces, the platform can visualise and analyse patronage for the Melbourne tram network, allowing Yarra Trams to better respond to demand and manage congestion.

Keolis Downer Director of Passenger Experience, Nicholas Daly, said that the guiding principle at Yarra Trams (Keolis Downer) is to think like a passenger. 

“The Patterns platform provides a richer understanding of tram patronage, trends and end-to-end passenger trip details, allowing significantly improved planning decisions and improved services,” Mr Daly said. 

“We’re honoured to receive the ITS Excellence in Transport Data award for this novel tool, which we developed for Melbourne in collaboration with our partner Hove (Keolis).”

The Young Professional Award sponsored by Transurban resulted in a tie between Shayna Elley from Via Mobility Australia and Jordan Hutchinson from SAGE Automation.

The Max Lay Lifetime Achievement Award winner Dr Paul Higgins received his award, which was announced in late 2023.

ITS Australia CEO, Susan Harris, commended the 2024 winners and said that they all demonstrate an impressive commitment to public good.

“A key theme that emerged from this year’s winning entries is a dedication to safety across all modes of transport,” Ms Harris said. 

“From in-vehicle technology enhancements, to building better roads, and initiatives that enhance public transport, our winners are representative of an industry committed to end-user safety. 

“This is a central pillar of ITS Australia’s mission to promote ideas and technology that will deliver safer, more efficient, and sustainable transport solutions.”

Featured image: Transurban representatives with the Smart Transport Infrastructure Award. Image credit: ITS Australia.

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