Population growth key challenge for infrastructure

Population growth and increased congestion are the challenges facing infrastructure and transport, South Australian Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, the Hon. Stephen Mullighan has told a CEDA audience in Adelaide.

Moving people and goods as efficiently and safely as possible should be the aim of transport policy, he said.

“When you look at transport through that lens you’re able to think far more broadly and innovatively about how you might meet some of those challenges,” he said. 

On directions for the future, Mr Mullighan said government departments will focus on using Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) to better manage transport networks. 

Mr Mullighan said while road infrastructure is important, as the population grows investments must be made in other types of transport.

“If we think about how we can move goods a lot more efficiently to benefit communities, roads are not necessarily the answer,” he said.

“We need to condition ourselves as governments as well as communities and industries that we need to make investments beyond roads to ensure better transport outcomes,” he said.

“We have to get more people onto public transport.”

RAA Mobility and Automotive Policy Senior Manager, Mark Borlace said consumers are increasingly moving away from car ownership to ride sharing and alternative options.

“There’s going to be massive disruption to what we normally know,” he said.

Mr Borlance said public transport and private transport systems will need to be able to talk to each other in order for new mobility options to operate effectively.

On autonomous vehicles, Mr Borlace said while they won’t be built in South Australia, the state can stay at the forefront of the industry when it comes to integration.

“Autonomous vehicles are one of the tools that will start to acclimatise people to getting used to having their mobility provided by something that doesn’t have a driver,” he said.

“It’s the cooperation between vehicles that will make these systems work.”

Also speaking at the event, Flinders University Australian Industrial Transformation Institute Director, Professor John Spoehr said modern sophisticated infrastructure is the foundation of a successful economy.

“While there is an urgent need to accelerate the growth of knowledge intensive industries in South Australia we need sufficient short term investment measures to boost economic and employment growth,” he said.

Professor Spoehr said South Australia is at the end of a recent boom in engineering and construction projects.

“We need to look to an alternative pipeline of projects that can help us work through this difficult period over the next few years as we make the transition through the auto-industry shock,” he said.

“Next year will be a difficult year made worse if we don’t have sufficient transport and infrastructure projects coming on stream.”

Flinders Ports Chief Executive Officer, Vincent Tremaine said a major issue for port infrastructure in Adelaide is ship size which is increasing at an unprecedented rate.

“Adelaide harbour needs to be widened by about 40 metres, costs may reach $60 million,” he said.

One major issue in Adelaide is the increase in cruise ships.

“From 2012 we had 24 cruise ships, we’re now out to 59…it’s gone from 42,000 passengers to 150,000 passengers,” he said.

Mr Tremaine said tourism adds to the South Australian economy and it is important the Harbour can handle cruise ships efficiently.

Also speaking at the event, Adelaide City Council Chief Executive Officer, Mark Goldstone said the four pillars of future cities will be smart, green, liveable and creative.

Mr Goldstone said using technology for example, generating data on people movement will assist urban planners.

“The combination of our smart technology with our green agenda will enable the city of Adelaide I think to go through a game changing experience and will set us apart from other Australian cities and other world cities,” he said.

“We definitely have a global vision, not to be seen to compete with Sydney or Melbourne but to be seen as a world city in our own right due to our uniqueness.”