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AITPM Email Newsletter Volume 0905, May 2009: Presidents Message

By Jonathan M. Bunker


President’s Message\ud \ud Hello fellow AITPM members,\ud \ud We’ve been offered a lot of press lately about the Federal Government’s plan for the multibillion dollar rollout of its high speed broadband network, which at the moment is being rated to a speed of 100Mb/s. This seems fantastic in\ud comparison to the not atypical 250 to 500kb/s that I receive on my metropolitan cable broadband, which incidentally my service provider rates at theoretical speeds of up to 8 Mb/s. I have no doubt that such a scheme will generate significant advantages to business and consumers. However, I also have some reservations. \ud \ud Only a few of years ago I marvelled at my first 256Mb USB stick, which cost my employer about $90. Last month I\ud purchased a 16Gb stick with a free computer carry bag for $80, which on the back of my envelope has given me about 72 times the value of my first USB stick not including the\ud carry bag! I am pretty sure the technology industry will find a way to eventually push a lot more than 100Mb/s down the optic fibre network just as they have done with pushing\ud several Mb/s ADSL2 down antique copper wire.\ud \ud This makes me wonder about the general problem of inbuilt obsolescence of all things high-tech due to rapid advances in the tech industry.\ud \ud As a transport professional I then think to myself that our industry has been moving forward at somewhat of a slower pace. We certainly have had major milestones having\ud significant impacts, such as the move from horse and cart to the self propelled motor vehicle, sealing and formal geometric design of roads, development of motorways, signalisation of intersections, coordination of networks, to\ud simulation modelling for real time adaptive control (perhaps major change has been at a frequency of 30 years or so?). But now with ITS truly penetrating the transport market, largely thanks to the in-car GPS navigator,\ud smart phone, e-toll and e-ticket, I believe that to avoid our own obsolescence we’re going to need to “plan for ITS” rather than just what we seem to have been doing up until now, that is, to get it out there. And we’ll likely need to do it at a faster pace. It will involve understanding\ud how to data mine enormous data sets, better understanding the human/machine interface, keeping pace with automotive technology more closely, resolving the ethical and privacy\ud chestnuts, and in the main actually planning for ITS to make peoples’ lives easier rather than harder. And in amongst this we’ll need to keep pace with the types of technology advances similar to my USB stick example above. \ud \ud All the while we’ll be making a brand new set of friends in the disciplines that will morph into ITS along with us. Hopefully these will all be “good” problems for our profession to have.\ud \ud I should close in reminding everyone again that AITPM’s flagship event, the 2009 AITPM National Conference, Traffic Beyond Tomorrow, is being held in Adelaide from 5 to 7 August.\ud \ud has all of the details about how to register, sponsor a booth, session, etc.\ud \ud Best regards all,\ud \ud Jon Bunke

Topics: 090507 Transport Engineering, Traffic Engineering, Transport Planning, Transport Management, Traffic Management, Traffic Planning
Publisher: Australian Institute of Traffic Planning and Management Incorporated
Year: 2009
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