What are the options for more transport funding?

Transport professionals need to find innovative ways to deliver transport projects in the face of demands for do more for less.

These challenges have resulted from:

  • strong passenger and freight transport demand
  • governments at all levels tighten budgets, to get their finances in order
  • costs to provide and maintain services and infrastructure have been rising
  • revenue from traditional tax sources is being used to meet other government priorities
  • users are seeking improved service levels for transport by cars, trucks and public transport
  • user pays is not on the political agenda.

How can we think differently about how to resource transport programs?

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How to use lean project management for transport projects and programs

Smart transport professionals deliver the greatest impact for the resources that they have available, by using a systematic approach to planning and delivering lean transport projects.

Lean project management is about delivering more value for less. The key is stripping away everything that does not add value in terms of providing outcomes for the end user.

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Do more for less – introduce disruptive innovation in transport

The biggest issue facing transport professionals is how to improve productivity – deliver more in a constrained resource environment.

As consumers, we are accustomed to the constant productivity improvements in technology and related services that lead to dramatic price reductions and performance improvements – known as disruptive innovation.

Past examples of disruptive innovations include the car compared to a horse and carriage, email compared to postal mail, or the personal computer compared to mainframe computers.

Can disruptive innovation be part of the solution to transport budget constraints?

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How to ‘sweat’ your transport project

High performing transport professionals need to adopt a mindset of squeezing more out of their projects, doing more for less.

Using this approach means your project is more likely to be supported (funded), at a time when transport agencies are facing significantly reduced budgets.

In 2010 the UK Highways Agency funding levels were reduced from £2.6B down to a projected £2B in 2014-15, a reduction of 23% over five years, in the face of increased demand and cost increases. Budget cuts are being experienced in other areas in Europe, in North America and Australia.

Efficiency savings are not enough to meet these budget cuts and uniform cuts across all programs result in reduced outcomes – achieving less with less!

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Doing more for transport with less money – the new way

As Australia moves through the first quarter of the 21st century, the need to find new ways to fund essential transport infrastructure and services is becoming increasingly urgent.

This is attributable to the collision of several important elements:

  • expectations of a good level of service on both roads and public transport continue to increase, as does demand for new capacity
  • rapidly increasing costs to provide and maintain services and infrastructure in Australia, far exceeding the rate of increase in CPI and in taxation revenues
  • the call on government funds for law and order, welfare, health and educational services continues to increase, reducing the proportion of funds available for transport infrastructure and services
  • user pays pricing reforms have proved difficult to introduce in the transport sector. This means roads remain free to use, revenue from traditional tax payer sources has been increasingly stretched, and traffic demand growth continues unabated.

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Can technology make trips more reliable?

Traffic information services have evolved from delivering basic guidance to users (such as the location of specific incidents or major congestion) to offering real-time traffic flow data and now to helping drivers make better decisions by providing real time and predictive information.

As car drivers we don’t like everyday traffic congestion, but we become used to it and plan for it. We leave early enough to get to where we are going on time. But unexpected congestion is another thing. We hate it. As you approach a traffic jam that you were not aware of (and its too late to do anything about it!) – this is the first level of traffic information.

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Smart motorway management: what is happening with traffic in Australia?

Is management of Australian motorway traffic getting smarter?

Over the past five years references to traffic congestion by political and non-transport commentators in Australia has been increasing. The recently released Henry Review of Taxation included the need to ‘increase the efficiency of use and investment in roads by a program of road reforms that includes greater use of road user charges, including congestion charges’. The national government has deferred consideration of this recommendation.

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