Page 1186 - Week 04 - Thursday, 26 March 2015

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The transport reform agenda will look at initiatives to lessen the reliance on building new and expanded roads, an approach which is costly to the territory’s capital budget and ultimately the city’s environmental footprint. Smart traffic technologies include improvements such as CCTV and real-time electronic signage that allow commuters and authorities to respond to traffic incidents quickly and effectively. We are already moving ahead in this area, ensuring that smart traffic cameras are in use to manage traffic for the construction of the Majura parkway and Constitution Avenue.

In addition, this year I hope to start the first of several corridor efficiency studies which will focus on a particular busy transport corridor, assess its travel patterns in detail and work with all the available factors to ensure travel is as efficient as can be. An example might be the programming of traffic lights to a high level of detail so that they respond to specific traffic patterns at peak, off-peak and night times in that corridor. Smart traffic projects like these can help us use our existing road network to its maximum potential.

This year the ACT government is undertaking a review of taxi and hire car industry innovation to look at the emergence of new digital technologies, their potential impact on the territory marketplace and related regulatory settings. We will explore how new technologies can drive innovation and synergies with other modes of public transport. Among a range of matters, the review will consider the potential entry of digital alternative booking and payment regimes and the associated issue of level of surcharges on electronic taxi fare payments; community safety, including passengers, drivers and vehicles; and efficient and sustainable supply to the marketplace. The taxi review is underway, starting with industry and community consultation.

As the transport reform minister I will look to engage Uber, the innovative new car booking service that is popular with consumers but challenging to the taxi industry. As I have said before, the reality is that Canberrans will access these new services if they are available, and governments need to consider how to appropriately facilitate and regulate entrepreneurial operators entering the market so that they can operate safely and equitably.

On a similar note, I am pleased to announce that the ACT government is actively pursuing the introduction of a car sharing scheme for Canberra. Car sharing—which, it should be noted, is different from car pooling—facilitates the short-term hire of vehicles for residents or businesses for a variety of uses. Importantly, it can alleviate the need for people to own a car themselves. Arrangements for car sharing spaces in the ACT are underway, and I hope to be able to confirm further details of the scheme, including a start date, shortly. This is in fulfilment of one of the initiatives in the Labor-Greens parliamentary agreement.

Our growing city is at a crossroads. I see there are two futures on offer. One future fails to address the transport challenges that face us or to embrace the transport opportunities before us. That is a future characterised by short-term thinking as well as by sprawl, congestion, pollution and all the related economic and social pressures. The second future prioritises clean, efficient, modern and flexible transport. It focuses

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