Beyond the timetable – Demand Responsive Transport

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Queensland is set to lead Australia in demand responsive transport, leveraging new technologies and trialling new forms of passenger transport to deliver greater choice for Queenslanders.

Technology is continuing to change how we live, do business and move around. The smartphone has really created the opportunity for Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) to change the way people view passenger transport.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) is looking for service providers who are interested in being part of DRT trials in Queensland, starting next year.

Demand responsive services can be delivered in many forms and provide passengers with a way to request/book a service in their local areas between nominated locations. Services are able to join up customer bookings, picking up and dropping off additional customers along the way.

The DRT model offers a range of benefits with greater flexibility and convenience for customers, and improved efficiency in service delivery. Service providers use sophisticated route optimisation software to create genuine shared trips – not just vehicle sharing – grouping passengers into flexible service routes.

Like the GPS, smartphone technology is beginning to change customer behaviours. Customers are expecting greater choice and to have personalised service offerings available to them.

This common technology is changing passenger transport, making it more convenient for both planned and unplanned trips.

DRT enables passengers to book journeys to suit their unique needs and for transport suppliers to respond to these needs in a more flexible and dynamic way.

Earlier this year, TMR announced plans for a partnership with Bosch and Queensland University of Technology (QUT) to test cooperative and highly-automated vehicles.  Through efforts to understand technology directions better, Queensland is able to make planning and policy decisions with an eye to an autonomous vehicles future.

In the nearer future, DRT could be the next exciting option in Queensland’s mobility spectrum.

The initial stage of the Queensland DRT project includes early market sounding and competitive procurement to identify partners for DRT services.

The project has committed to engaging industry in new ways, recognises the importance of the community in service design (community co-design) and enables new, flexible and efficient service provision.

Community groups and identified stakeholders will provide valuable input as the project progresses to design and implementation of DRT trials in selected locations in 2017.

In addition to designing DRT solutions, the project will provide valuable insights into the supply market, help shape TMR’s micro-transit policy and will critically inform the government’s investment in future public transport services, contracts and ticketing systems.

*To download the Demand Responsive Transport Expression of Interest document, go to the QTenders website.

Matt Johnson, 
Demand Responsive Transport Project Director