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Opportunities and challenges

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Transport in Queensland will experience significant change over the next few decades.

In this period of unprecedented change, it is critical we scan and monitor both global and local trends so we can anticipate future changes ahead of us and respond appropriately.

The following opportunities and challenges are five of the key trends the department believes we will need to respond to in the medium to longer term. Our ability to manage our future opportunities and challenges will be the key to our success in providing a single integrated transport network accessible to everyone.

Meeting increasing customer expectations

Customer needs and expectations of the transport system are changing.

In our increasingly digital world, shaped by high smartphone penetration and online connectivity, technology has the potential to offer customers a better transport experience than ever before. As a result, our customers now have higher expectations of the transport system.

Customers today expect more personalised, seamless and agile services which are tailored to their needs, at the time and place they need them. They expect more options, and more choice. They expect the right information at the right time through their preferred channel, and for their feedback to be heard, acted on and responded to promptly.

Providing a good customer experience is one of TMR's most important strategic priorities. The department is endeavouring to ensure the customer is at the centre of all we do, delivering a good customer experience underpinned by world-class transport system performance.

Keeping pace with technological change

Technological change in transport is unprecedented and global. Technologies such as connected, electric and autonomous vehicles and drones, smart, digital and connected infrastructure, big data and innovative business models such as ride sharing and on-demand mobility provided as a service, will transform how people travel, how freight moves, customer choices and future land use patterns.

There will be challenges for government in keeping abreast of rapidly emerging technologies, determining which technologies provide the right outcomes for customers and ensuring new technologies are carefully planned and introduced.

We have the chance to make transport safer, more affordable and efficient and enhance the liveability of our communities by successfully embracing new technologies. With transport being a key facilitator of the Queensland economy, embracing technology will support the productivity and competitiveness of our industries and boost Queensland's knowledge economy. If not well planned for, new technologies could result in impacts such as increased congestion, increased freight and industry costs, urban sprawl and in turn poor customer outcomes.

Mitigating and adapting to climate change

Over the next 30 years, Queensland will experience significant challenges as a result of a changing climate. TMR needs to respond to this, by both lowering transport greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapting transport infrastructure and services to address the inevitable impacts of climate change.

The impact of climate change, including more frequent and severe weather such as cyclones and flooding, does have serious impacts on Queensland's economy and transport network. In 2017, Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie was estimated to have cost the Queensland economy approximately $2 billion due to disruptions of key industries such as agriculture, mining and tourism1.

The transport sector is a major contributor to GHG emissions, currently producing approximately 14 per cent of Queensland's total2. Without any intervention, by 2030 the transport sector is projected to experience one of the largest proportional growths in emissions in Queensland, as other sectors decarbonise.

The Queensland Climate Transition Strategy – Pathways to a clean growth economy has set a target for zero net GHG emissions by 2050 and an interim target of reducing Queensland's emissions by at least 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. TMR will need to work hard to lower its emissions profile and contribute to the overall task of decarbonising the economy.

Funding transport for the future

Like most other jurisdictions worldwide, Queensland faces significant challenges to sustainably fund the transport system into the future. Population growth, economic growth and urbanisation are resulting in increased demand for more infrastructure. As we build more transport infrastructure, we also need to increase spending to maintain our growing infrastructure asset.

These funding challenges are made worse by the decline in many existing transport revenue sources such as fuel excise and vehicle registration. Technological innovations offer the potential to deliver more cost-effective infrastructure. However, to sustainably fund the level of infrastructure needed will require innovations in how transport is funded so we can meet future demand.

Responding to increasing change and uncertainty

Unlike previous decades which were largely stable and predictable, the next few decades in the transport sector are likely to be more uncertain. While technological change and innovations offer great potential, the pace of change will continue to increase, making it more difficult to predict the consequences of technology, how consumers will react and what future demand will be. This makes planning for the next few decades challenging.

We will increasingly rely on strategic foresight tools such as scenario planning and environmental scanning, innovation, and adopt workforce planning and practices to ensure TMR continues to be well positioned for future change.

  1. Budget Strategy and Outlook 2017–18. Budget Paper No.2 Queensland government 2017
  2. National Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Note this only includes GHG emissions from fuel combustion.
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