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Cisco and Transport for NSW: Transforming the future of transportation

From congestion to road safety, to connected cars, to mobility-as-a-service (MaaS), and even post-pandemic changes in travel patterns, there are many challenges and changes happening in the world of transport. With these considerations and more, how does an agency take their existing infrastructure, assets, and services, and create a customer-driven platform that will enable them to evolve and support future services and capabilities?

Cisco has partnered with Transport for New South Wales (NSW) to test how technology can be used to tackle the most pressing and challenging problems facing the transport market. This is more important than ever as the world starts opening up, moving again, and becoming more active across the transport system including cars, buses, ferries, trains, and light rail.

Through the Digital Accelerator Program at Transport for NSW and Innovation Central — a joint venture between Cisco and UNSW — the team is trialling several new applications to envision what the future of transport could look like. The Digital Accelerator Program enables a real-time view of supply and demand to guide future timetabling decisions, creating a foundation for new services and emerging travel options.

What happens when you bring the transport network to the Edge?
Cisco and Transport for NSW are giving the transport network a “voice” through a series of live trials exploring ways in which technology can drive innovation towards an intelligent digital transport system. These trials include using Cisco’s Internet of Things (IoT) and Edge Computing solutions for Public Transport. The goal is to provide real-time asset visibility to enable data-driven decision making and leverage artificial intelligence (AI) at intersections to identify rising congestion and potentially dangerous events to trigger priority intervention.

One way to tackle this is by taking an “outside-in” approach. To begin the digitisation process, everything needs to be connected — from assets to customers. Once connected, these data points can provide an understanding of asset performance and customer behaviour. This can be as simple as providing insights into the real-time location of a bus and the number of customers waiting at the bus stop queue, which in turn enables a better understanding of occupancy levels. This concept can be extended further to more elaborate data sets such as vehicle telemetry and details on road surface conditions. The ability to react to and adjust changing situations and support a dynamic integrated transport system creates a connected, safer, and more reliable journey for the community.

Where to next?
These trials represent the strength of the partnership between Cisco and Transport for NSW to co-innovate and use technology to solve some of the most pressing and challenging transport problems now, and in the future. The trials have proven the technology and benefits are feasible. The next step is to broaden the scope so that the community can reap the benefits across both metro and regional NSW.

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