Can advances in intelligent vehicles help?

Developments in intelligent transport systems, particularly transmission of real-time information between vehicles (vehicle-to-vehicle), and with road network operators (vehicle-to-infrastructure), have led to consideration of further applications to deliver critical road safety and mobility outcomes.

Despite the advances made since the 1970’s, communities are demanding further improvements in road safety, reductions in the growing impact of congestion on mobility and reliability of travel, and reductions in energy use and emissions due to road transport.

Cooperative vehicle-infrastructure systems, being developed internationally, join intelligent vehicles and infrastructure together to deliver safety and transport efficiency outcomes. Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) equipment is placed on the roadway at regular intervals and within vehicles.

Australia’s relatively small motor vehicle market means that the international standards are of prime importance for rapid and efficient implementation. Achieving this will require Australia to adopt the same radio spectrum arrangements that are currently in the process of being applied in Europe and America.

Applications aiming to achieve a significant reduction in vehicle crashes and reduce vehicle delay include warning drivers of unsafe conditions or imminent collisions or if they are about to run off the road, informing road system operators of real-time congestion, weather conditions or incidents for real-time traffic management, provision of information to drivers, providing variable speed control and re-routing traffic to smooth out congestion.

The road transport sector will need to administer technical standards, detailed deployment plans, which entities can use the spectrum and where, commercial service provider access, and how data traffic volumes and priorities will be managed.

Experience in Europe, the USA and Japan suggests widespread industry acceptance and collaboration between the automotive industry and government in taking this initiative forward. It is therefore reasonable to expect that such support will become evident in Australia as the initiative gains further momentum.

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