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Strategic opportunities and challenges

New emerging technologies and commercial models that respond to customer demands, such as shared transport services, have the potential to profoundly benefit Queensland’s transport system and its customers. However, these developments present challenges that will test the department’s ability to satisfy customer needs and expectations, now and into the future. In order to meet customers’ needs it is essential that the department plans for these challenges and opportunities and is strategically positioned to overcome them.

Responding to COVID-19

In April 2020, the department activated its Business Continuity Plans which saw 44 per cent of its workforce transition to remote working. Significant technology uplift occurred across the department to increase our remote working capacity and keeping our people, customers and industry partners connected. Keeping employees and industry up-to-date on the latest developments and health advice was a key priority.

The department adopted a range of internal and external process enhancements to support continued delivery of services across the network and remained committed to serving its customers, both face-to-face and remotely. All 90 Customer Service Centres were kept open with social distancing and hygiene measures implemented across frontline areas. The department actively partnered with industry and local, state and federal government agencies to keep Queenslanders moving and ensured continuity of critical services.

We operated a full public transport service to ensure existing workers had adequate means to keep working and all of our infrastructure works continued with COVID-safe plans in place.

Maritime Safety Queensland provided valuable service to mariners and we ramped up our communications internally and to external stakeholders.

Addressing and adapting to climate change

The department is meeting the Australian and Queensland governments’ climate change considerations, reflected in Building Queensland and Infrastructure Australia business cases and funding expectations. As a major contributor of emissions, the transport sector can play a vital role in mitigating these effects. There are several projects underway, including using the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia’s rating system on all projects over $100 million and investing in new and upgraded active and shared transport modes. As an action under the Queensland Climate Transition Strategy, the department is also developing a Zero Net Transport Emissions Roadmap which will guide the transport system to a low emission future in line with the Queensland Government’s climate change targets.

Responding to technological change

The increasing pace of technological change affects the delivery of transport services. The issue of digital technology enabled by cloud technology, big data and its analysis, presents significant opportunities for customer centric transport services. In 2019–20 the department has strengthened its focus on customer-centric, digitally-enabled transport solutions. Some of these include, real-time information that will provide accurate predictions of passenger services and traffic conditions; Smart Ticketing that will deliver a new seamless and integrated ticketing experience; and reliable smart phone apps that will offer information accessibility to everyone.

Planning for population growth

Queensland’s population is growing faster than most other states and territories. Designing a transport network for the future requires the development and implementation of long-and medium-term strategies and integrated plans, which prioritise investments that ensure that Queensland’s long-term transport needs can be met. Responsible transport system planning ensures Queensland’s long-term transport needs are met in the most cost effective way and other development impacts are managed effectively. The Queensland Transport Strategy was released in early 2020 and provides a 30 year vision for the transformation of the state’s transport system to provide flexibility in responding to customer preferences, global trends and emerging technologies.

Transport for the future

The department has partnered with CSIRO’s Data61 to develop sophisticated, quantitative, evidence-based scenarios of what transport could look like out to 2048. The scenarios build on several years of work done to grapple with the uncertainties posed by the changes on our transport horizon. Changes like the potential for many more people to use digital platforms to work from home or for autonomous vehicles to replace conventional vehicles. The project will be finalised in mid-2020 and the report will be available by the end of 2020.