By Stephanie Salter, Director, Transport Digital Accelerator
Establishing the Accelerator was a recommendation from industry during the 2016 Future Transport Summit. Transport for NSW invited industry to co-design the Future Transport Technology roadmap, outlining what technology and customer outcomes are the priority in the next 5 to 10 years. Its purpose was to enable Transport to innovate in the digital and technology space and better engage with Industry & start-ups.
Transport for NSW are the architects of the first Government Transport accelerator model and our Accelerator is widely recognised as a model that delivers results. We facilitate direct collaboration between the public and private sectors, connecting teams from the NSW Transport cluster with industry, researchers, entrepreneurs and start-ups in the digital space.
In the past when Transport for NSW procured products and services, there was a tendency to publish Requests for Proposals (RFP) or Requests for Quotes (RFQ) with a specific list of requirements. This restricted the ability for industry to come up with innovative solutions.
For this reason, we now use the Accelerator to help better define customer problems & collaborate with start-ups and industry to find the right solution. This allows us to collaborate to come up with ideas we hadn’t thought of and find new ways of solving complex problems.
We learned very early on that having senior leadership was critical for the success of the Accelerator. We are governed by the Innovation Leaders Panel, chaired by the Secretary of Transport, Rodd Staples & attended by Deputy Secretaries and senior executives across the Transport Cluster. It is this leadership that gives us permission to prototype, test and learn in a supportive environment. Their quick feedback is invaluable and ensures our work is aligned to our overall vision, customer needs, and priorities. Without this type of support, innovation is virtually impossible.
At the Accelerator, we use human-centred design to first understand the problem we are trying to solve before coming up with concepts and prototypes that solve these problems. We are always negotiating the balance between customer needs, technology viability and business objectives. Each project we deliver proves that spending time to research these three things results in products launched into market with higher long-term success. By embedding the understanding of customer problems into our solutions, we are building products that meet a real need, rather than building products with technology…. for technology’s sake.
We have also published our human-centred design toolkit as a way to share our learning and encourage innovation across the sector.
We have had great success at the Transport Digital Accelerator due to a carefully crafted formula of People, Place, Process and Partners.
There are nine staff at the Accelerator. We have a mix of Service Designers, Innovation Program Managers & Partner Program staff. Our aim is to keep the team small and agile to allow for flexible and fast decision-making. We are empowered to run in an agile fashion, fail fast and learn, without negative implications. Our mission is to attract the best talent in industry. The opportunities are endless when you have a high-performing team motivated to deliver real change. Each staff member has a personal passion to make products and services better for customers of NSW public transport. This drive for change enables us to deliver quite a lot… with very little!
It was an intentional move to build the Accelerator space inside the Sydney Startup Hub. The building was established by NSW State government to encourage start-up jobs and growth. Physically working alongside diverse thinkers and emerging technology has greatly impacted our knowledge of the market & opened our thinking to new ways of working. It has also created new opportunities for smaller businesses to engage with a large government organisation as they have direct access to our team to discuss their business objectives and share innovative solutions.
We have also established a strong partnership programme which is delivering great outcomes for both Transport for NSW and our partners.
One of our most successful outputs from the Accelerator was the Mobility as a Service challenge. Following a three-month Accelerator programme to first understand the problem and frame an opportunity to market, we released the following Innovation Challenge: “How would you give customers optimal door-to-door mobility service options and seamless combinations for their situation, including the first and last mile?”
In 2019 we hope to further grow our concierge service, creating a better front door for industry to engage with Transport & encourage innovation and growth within the sector.
Our partnership programme is also set to grow and deliver more innovative solutions out to market.
In addition, we are focusing our efforts in Regional NSW to help deliver better transport journeys aligned to customer needs.
Siemens Mobility has completed the first test runs of its Mireo Plus H hydrogen-powered train in Bavaria, Germany.
Caltrain has successfully completed three major milestones to advance its rail electrification project in California.
A consortium comprised of Stadler and Siemens Mobility has completed the delivery of 106 new trains manufactured for the Berlin S-Bahn.
The Department for Transport has awarded a new National Rail Contract to Avanti West Coast and the West Coast Partnership Development.
Hitachi Rail has refiled its merger notification with the European Commission to seek final clearance for the acquisition of Thales' GTS.
The first of 29 new Siemens Mobility trains for Copenhagen's light rail project has been delivered to Glostrup, Denmark.
Germany's federal government and Deutsche Bahn (DB) have presented a comprehensive modernisation programme for the nation's rail network.
Network Rail is investing 3.8 million GBP in carrying out repairs on the world's oldest viaduct in Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside.
Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) has partnered with DIGAS to trial Europe’s first retrofitted hydrogen freight locomotive.
HS2 has begun work on assembling the project's longest ‘green tunnel’ in Greatworth, West Northamptonshire.
TfWM has announced that passenger tram services on the West Midlands Metro extension in Wolverhampton will start on 17 September.
Brightline has announced that its service to Orlando International Airport (MCO) will officially launch on 22 September 2023.
Derby City Council has announced that it is seeking talks with Alstom in response to expected job losses at its Derby factory.
Network Rail has announced that it is investing more than 1 million GBP in improving rail infrastructure around Glasgow, Scotland.
Amtrak has awarded a contract to the Clark Construction/Stacy and Witbeck JV for the delivery of the Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program.
CRRC ZELC Europe has produced the first new articulated light rail train for the Tren Ligero tram line in Mexico City.
The European Commission has published its 2023 Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSI) package for cross-border rail services.
HS2 has completed its first above-ground structure at Euston, establishing a new Traction Substation for the London Underground.
Australia’s first autonomous tunnel boring machine (TBM) has been launched as part of the Sydney Metro West project.
Throughout September and October, the Transpennine Route Upgrade programme will replace tracks in Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York.
Network Rail and Govia Thameslink Railway have demonstrated that digital signalling on the Northern City Line is ready for passenger service.
Hitachi Rail has announced that 30 new trams will start service in Turin on 11 September under a contract with Gruppo Torinese Trasporti.
There were two main topics of conversation at Rolling Stock Networking (RSN): Passenger Experience and Decarbonisation.
HS2's high-speed electric trains have become the first in the world to achieve BSI's PAS 2080 carbon reduction standard.
Tunnel boring machine (TBM) Peggy has broken through at the site of Western Sydney International Airport's metro station.
Knorr-Bremse will equip Alstom's high-speed trains for Sweden with a range of technologies, including the latest CubeControl braking system.
A look at Railway Interchange, how improving passenger experience decarbonises transport, financing high-speed rail in Türkiye and more.
Alstom has delivered the first trainset to Madhya Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation Limited for the Bhopal-Indore metro rail project in India.
Caltrain's Traction Power Substation built by Balfour Beatty in South San Francisco has now been energised with power from PG&E.
Thales and River Engineering have implemented the European Train Control System (ETCS) Level 1 across 48 train stations in Thailand.
ÖBB has awarded a framework agreement to Siemens Mobility to supply up to 540 single-deck electric multiple-unit trains.
Alstom has inaugurated its first bogie centre in Astana, Kazakhstan following a 15 million EUR investment.
CRRC has been awarded a contract to supply new EMU railcars to Chile National Railroad (EFE) for use in Melipilla and Batuko.
Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) has announced that it will commence renovation work on the Hauenstein Base Tunnel on 3 September.
Fideicomiso para el Desarrollo del Sistema de Transporte Masivo (FITRAM) has selected a consortium comprised of Alstom and Sofratesa to deliver the Dominican Re...
Siemens Mobility and ÖBB have commissioned ETCS Level 2 on a 57-kilometre route between Linz and Vöcklabruck in Austria.
Northern has revealed before and after images of its 350,000 GBP transformation project at the Neville Hill depot in Leeds.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority has approved the release of a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to procure its first trainsets.
Škoda Group has signed a MoU with TATA AutoComp Systems to focus on supplying manufacturing components for India's railway market.
Siemens Mobility has broken ground on its new 220 million USD manufacturing and rail services facility in Lexington, North Carolina.
TransLink has released initial images of its new Mark V cars, which have been manufactured by Alstom to operate on the Vancouver SkyTrain.
Alstom will provide its Smartlock computer-based interlocking system and ETCS for Irish Rail's Cork Area Commuter Rail (CACR) network.
Network Rail will commence a major upgrade project on the River Devon Viaduct, which carries the railway over the River Trent in Newark.
Amtrak has exercised a contract option to order an additional 10 Airo trainsets to help meet increased demand for passenger rail travel.
Alstom and Verkehrsverbund Mittelsachsen (VMS) have presented a battery-powered train for the Chemnitz-Leipzig line in Saxony, Germany.
Caltrain has announced plans to pilot a bi-level dual electric and battery-powered train to help further reduce emissions from its services.
HS2 has completed construction of Streethay Overbridge to enable high-speed trains to travel underneath the South Staffordshire railway.
SBB states that the repair of the Gotthard Base Tunnel will take several months following the derailment of a freight train on 10 August.
China Railway has announced that track laying has commenced on the Fangchenggang-Dongxing Railway, which will offer a direct high-speed railway service to the V...
Rail+Metro Asia confirms a few of the speakers due to take part in the ASEAN rail industry summit from 19–21 October 2023.
Work on the first phase of Chicago Transit Authority's (CTA) Forest Park Branch Rebuild project is set to conclude this weekend.
Network Rail is set to switch on 116 newly installed digital signals in south west London and Berkshire from 19 August.
NWL has signed an agreement with the federal government, North Rhine-Westphalia and Deutsche Bahn to upgrade the Münster – Lünen rail line.
Hitachi Rail and Eversholt Rail have completed refurbishment work on the first of 29 Southeastern high-speed Javelin trains.
Cando Rail & Terminals has announced that it is developing a lithium-ion battery-powered switching locomotive for in-yard operations.
The Government of Victoria has confirmed that testing is now underway within Melbourne's new Metro Tunnel.
Alstom has been contracted to supply a charging facility for Irish Rail’s new Battery Electric Multiple Unit (BEMU) trains.
Siemens Mobility has been selected to deliver 28 electric Mireo regional trains to Baden-Württemberg for the Digital Node Stuttgart project.
Texas Central and Amtrak are exploring opportunities to advance planning and analysis for the Dallas-Houston high-speed rail project.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) has ordered 60 single-level rail coach cars from Alstom.
Trenitalia has contracted Škoda and Titagarh Firema to supply new railway sleeper coaches for use between Milan, Palermo and Syracuse.
Brightline has announced delys to its timeline, meaning it will not commence passenger services to Orlando from 1 September as planned.
HS2's tunnel boring machines (TBMs), Florence and Cecilia have reached the Little Missenden shaft as they dig HS2’s longest tunnels.
CRRC has contracted Knorr-Bremse to supply the complete braking systems for 36 new metro trains that will operate in Chengdu, China.
The Governor of Illinois has presented the Chicago Hub Improvement Program, proposing a 1.1 bn USD investment in regional rail infrastructure.
Northern has released new dashcam footage to provide a first look at the upcoming Northumberland line connecting Newcastle to Ashington.
Rail & HS2 Minister, Huw Merriman MP, will address the RIA Annual Conference & Dinner, taking place on 1-2 November 2023 in London.
SBB has awarded a contract for the construction of the Ligerz Tunnel to ARGE IBD, a joint venture led by Implenia.
Siemens Mobility has won an EU-wide tender valued at 2 billion EUR to supply 90 new S-Bahn trains in Munich, Germany.
Transport for London (TfL) has announced that the first of its new Piccadilly Line trains have arrived in Germany for testing.
IRICAV DUE has won a contract to deliver the track and digital signalling for a section of high-speed rail between Verona and Padua.
Network Rail and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) have signed a collaboration agreement to deliver upgrades and regeneration opportunities across Manches...
Chiltern Railways has become the first passenger rail operator to launch vegetable oil powered trains on its network.
Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) has ordered 18 fuel cell engines from Ballard Power Systems to expand its Hydrogen Locomotive Program.
CDPQ Infra has inaugurated the first segment of the REM automated urban rail system, connecting Montreal’s South Shore with Central Station
Canadian National Railway (CN) has contracted Wabtec Corporation to modernise an additional 60 locomotives in its fleet.
CRRC has announced that its CR200J EMU has commenced official operation on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway in China.
Transport for London (TfL) and Tram Operations Limited (TOL) have been fined following the Sandilands Tram derailment in November 2016.
CAF MiiRA has entered into a collaboration with Euskotren to trial wheel soundproofing solutions for trains in Basque Country, Spain.
Tunnel boring machine (TBM) Eileen has arrived at the Airport Terminal metro station for the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport project.
MSC subsidiary, MEDWAY Belgium NV has ordered 15 Vectron MS locomotives from Siemens Mobility for cross-border freight transport in Europe.
Network Rail has signed a MoU with SBB to collaborate on deploying technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) on the railway.
Alstom will supply 40 Coradia Stream high-capacity EMUs to Nahverkehrsverbund Schleswig-Holstein (NAH.SH) in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.
Kasseler Verkehrs-Gesellschaft (KVG) has ordered 22 30-metre two-way trams from Škoda for operation in Kassel, Germany.
Alstom has been contracted to supply 50 Traxx Universal multi-purpose locomotives for European rail vehicle leasing company, RAILPOOL.
The Government of Canada has invited three candidates to move to the RFP stage of the nation's High Frequency Rail project.
The Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) has awarded a contract to Stadler to supply up to 120 FLIRT Akku battery trains.
Metro Sofia has ordered an additional eight Inspiro trains from a consortium comprised of Siemens Mobility and NEWAG SA.
Rail operators, ARST and FdC have contracted Stadler to deliver the first narrow-gauge hydrogen trains to Italy.
Île-de-France Mobilités has awarded a contract to the ORA Consortium to operate and maintain Line 15 South of the Grand Paris Express.
Eurostar Group has rolled out a contactless, biometric check-in system to improve efficiency at London St Pancras Station.
Deutsche Bahn, Hamburg and Siemens Mobility will introduce an upgraded intelligent operations control system for the Digital S-Bahn.
Tobu Railway has commenced operations of Hitachi Rail’s new Series N100 SPACIA X trains from Tokyo to Nikko and Kinugawa Onsen in Japan.
Amtrak has announced plans to complete track infrastructure improvements on the Northeast Corridor to increase the reliability of its trains.
Škoda Group has announced that it will supply up to 1,120 traction motors for a new fleet of trams being produced for Melbourne, Australia.
Alstom has signed a contract with Akiem, a European rolling stock leasing company, for 100 Traxx Universal multi-system (MS3) locomotives.
Top industry players from the railway and urban rail transit sectors will come together in Jakarta on 19–21 October 2023 for Rail+Metro Asia.
Škoda has won a contract to deliver 8 4-car metro trains to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, where they will be operated by Metropoliten EAD.
After six years at the head of HS2 Ltd, CEO Mark Thurston has announced that he will leave the organisation this autumn.
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