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.
Passenger services in Switzerland can resume fully in June following an easing of restrictions put in place because of coronavirus.
EUROFIMA, a rolling stock financing company with a non-profit mission, has agreed a 200m euro loan with FS Italiane for TRAXX locomotives.
Private railway undertakings in Germany want to seek assistance from the European Commission following a DB-only bailout package approval.
HS2 has received delivery of the first steel girders for the first bridges to be built on the project at the Birmingham Interchange site.
Alstom has won an innovation prize from the German government for its project to test Automatic Train Operation on regional passenger trains.
Siemens Mobility has won a contract with Stockholm Extended Metro Administration to provide electrification services for the expansion works.
There is anger at the coronavirus agreement signed by Deutsche Bahn and the federal government that excludes non-state railways.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has chosen Alstom Signalling LLC to upgrade its SCADA system, which was installed in 1996.
Bombardier has signed two contracts for the delivery of 28 BiLevel rail cars in a procurement overseen by Sound Transit, Seattle.
The ETCS system fitted on a Class 387 EMU has undergone another successful suite of testing by Porterbrook, Bombardier, GWR, DB Cargo & PCMS.
Deutsche Bahn has reached a coronavirus agreement with the German government, union, works council and employers' association.
Private transport operator Transdev has won a number of contracts for bus and rail services in Sweden amounting to 1.2 billion euros.
Network Rail has unveiled plans for the remaining section of new sea wall at Dawlish, with works on the first section ongoing.
Skoda Transtech has delivered the first of 19 trams to the Finnish city of Tampere under a contract it won in 2017.
From June Deutsche Bahn will run train services into all neighbouring countries again, following a gradual resumption in May.
Metronet of Western Australia has awarded 2 works contracts. The first is for Bayswater Station, the second a level crossing removal.
HS2 has adopted the CESAR ECV, an emissions identification scheme, to help keep emissions across its sites as low as possible.
2020 has its challenges to the rail sector with the coronavirus pandemic but there has been good news too: HS2 has its notice to proceed.
Stadler Group CEO Dr Thomas Ahlburg parts ways with the company with immediate effect. Peter Spuhler takes over as interim Group CEO.
The DfT has extended the independent construction commissioner's brief to include HS2 Phase 2a. The role is held by Sir Mark Worthington.
The Ceneri Base Tunnel opening ceremony is to go ahead as planned in September though on a smaller scale due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Rail freight operator Lineas has turned one of its locomotives white to say thank you to all the key workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Indian Railways has put its first Alstom Prima T8 electric locomotive into commercial service, after a contract for 800 units signed in 2015.
Old Oak Common, one of the new stations being built for HS2, has received planning approval. The JV building it will begin in June 2020.
Bombardier has delivered its 200th Flexity tram to Berlin and will delivery another 31. Berlin has the world's third-largest tram network.
UNIFE takes a look at the impact of the coronavirus on the rail industry in Europe, both passenger and freight.
The Occitanie region in France has received Alstom's 300th Coradia Polyvalent type Régiolis under a 2009 contract with SNCF.
Anna Höjer will take over as CEO of Transdev Sweden in September 2020. She is currently working for Bombardier Transportation.
An interview with Dirk Flege from rail advocacy group Allianz pro Schiene about Germany's coronavirus measures for the rail sector and more.
Kilsby Tunnel on the West Coast Main Line has undergone major repair works during the coronavirus slowdown to fix track flooding issues.
HS2 has formally launched search for signalling contractors. It will shortlist candidates in 2021 and issue contracts in 2022.
Transport for London (TfL) has received coronavirus bailout – a mixture of grants and loans from the government worth 1.6 billion GBP.
RB Estonia has launched its call for tenders for the design of the Muuga multimodal freight terminal and associated infrastructure.
Schleswig-Holstein transport manager NAH.SH has started looking for operators to run services with the new Stadler Akku trains from 2022.
Bombardier Transportation's Flexity trams for Dusseldorf have received authorisation. In total Bombardier is delivering 59 high-floor units.
HS2 says it will pay its suppliers as soon as possible rather than within the contract terms and has asked Tier 1 contractors to do the same.
The Network of European Railways (NEE) expressed alarm over a potential pause to the HGV toll in Germany until 2023.
The Izmir metro westward expansion has received 25m euros in additional funding from Société Générale, adding to the 80m from EBRD from 2018.
Alstom has given an update on its plans to acquire Bombardier Transportation in its 2019/20 full year results.
Talgo publishes its financial outlook and results for the first quarter of 2020 with a solid order book despite delays due to coronavirus.
Three joint ventures are on the short list to design and build phase 2 of the light rail Valley Line in Edmondon, Canada – Valley Line West.
After a 6-week stop to passenger rail services between Germany and France, the first ICE train travelled from Frankfurt to Paris on 11 May.
The tender process for the Rail Baltica Riga International Airport station has entered its second phase with 11 companies in the running.
Monica Barbosa, Xrail Group, writes about the importance of SMEs in delivering large-scale rail infrastructure projects such as HS2.
Croatian Railways and Končar signed a contract for the delivery of 12 electric multiple units for regional and urban-suburban routes.
Siemens Mobility, which first unveiled its Vectron locomotive at InnoTrans 2010, has sold its 1000th unit, to Danish State Railways.
Stadler Rail says it has been the victim of a cyber-attack when it found its IT networks had become infected with malware.
Siemens Mobility has chosen Selby College as its partner to train the new apprentices who will work at the Goole site from 2023.
Bombardier Transportation will supply 210 commuter and intracity train cars (40 trains) for the Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System.
Newag S.A. has delivered the first of four Dragon 2 electric locomotives ordered in May 2019 to Laude Smart Intermodal.
UWC has delivered tank cars for transporting technical-grade sulphuric acid to Siberian rail operator Transport Logistics Systems.
Alstom has signed a services partnership for the CBTC signalling and train control solution Urbalis on Singapore's Circle Line.
Deutsche Bahn reduced its timetable significantly during the coronavirus pandemic. DB Regio services are now back up to 90 percent.
Curzon Street is the first of the HS2 stations to receive planning permission. It will form the Birmingham terminus of the high-speed line.
VR subsidiary VR FleetCare has won a 10-year contract to service and maintain Helsinki's 81 Sm5 FLIRT EMUs as part of a competitive tender.
CAF has won a maintenance contract extension for the Translink NIR Class 3000 fleet of DMUs in service in Northern Ireland.
HS2 has officially launched its search for track systems suppliers for Phase 1 and 2a. There are 4 lots. Contracts will be awarded in 2022.
The first test at 275km/h has taken place in the Ceneri Base Tunnel with the ICE-S from Germany. The tunnel will go to SBB on 1 September.
The 27km Semmering Base Tunnel in Austria, which will connect Gloggnitz and Mürzzuschlag for freight and passenger rail has been dug halfway.
HS2 Interchange station near Solihull in the West Midlands is the first in the world to achieve the 'outstanding' classification by BREEAM.
Bombardier has signed a six-year integrated logistics services contract with Trenitalia for its ETR500 Frecciarossa fleet.
The Blue Line extension of the Bangkok Metro has started full revenue services. It is now 48km long with 38 stations out to Lok Song.
Knorr-Bremse has won a contract with Siemens Mobility to supply brake, entrance and HVAC systems for 13 Sapsan high-speed trains for Russia.
Stadler has won a contract to deliver further TANGO trams to Krakow. The delivery will take place in mid-2023.
The RSG is launching a survey to inform its decision-making on how the UK rail supply chain can make a full, fast recovery from coronavirus.
TMH's Ivolga EMUs, which operate in Russia, feature an HVAC system that has air-sanitising equipment to kill microorganisms.
Coronavirus: After suspending non-essential works at its manufacturing sites across Canada on 24 March, Bombardier is resuming operations.
Rail services are to return to normal timetables in Western Australia sooner than planned following the coronavirus pandemic.
DB Cargo creates new department of Marketing and Transport Policy and appoints former marketing chief of BVG, Martell Beck as its new head.
After it was announced that InnoTrans 2020 had to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, the organisers have published new dates.
Good progress is being made on Melbourne's Metro Tunnel project with all tunnel boring machines now in the ground.
Financing agreement for Transmashholding to supply 1300 passenger coaches to Egyptian National Railways is finalised.
Rail Baltica Online Forum took place with 1000 viewers and the transport ministers of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania as well as Adina Valean.
Alstom's Hesop system has become operational in Hamburg, making Hamburger Hochbahn AG the first adopter of Hesop in Germany.
ROSCO Akiem Group finalised its acquisition of Macquarie European Rail on 23 April, now leasing rolling stock to 65 operators.
UWC will supply leasing company Dessa with specialist 60-foot flat cars for transporting timber that will be used by Sodex.
TBM Sandy broke through at Bayswater so that both of the twin-bored tunnels on the Forrestfield-Airport Link are now complete.
InnoTrans 2020 has been postponed due to a decision by the Berlin Senate to ban all gatherings of more than 5000 people until 24 October.
The Lötschberg Base Tunnel suffered water and sand ingress in March. BLS has cleaned up the damage and the tunnel will reopen on 24 April.
With coronavirus restrictions on public life and businesses in Switzerland being relaxed, rail services will increase again as well.
The advent of split ticketing on online ticket apps reduces prices for passengers but is problematic for train operating companies.
With a loosening of restrictions placed on public life in Germany because of the coronavirus pandemic, more rail services resume operations.
Network Rail's call for more signalling staff to weather the coronavirus pandemic has moved forward with the opening of a training centre.
UWC and EuroChem has signed a contract for tank cars for the transportation of concentrated nitric acid, a hazardous material.
TX Logistik AG, which is wholly owned by Mercitalia Logistics, has doubled the number of freight trains for Coop in Sweden from 10 to 20.
SWM has submitted the planning application for the new Westtangente tram line in Munich that will link five of the city's northern suburbs.
DB has extended its policy to forego track cancellation charges by four weeks with train operators scaling back services during coronavirus.
The MTR East Rail Line extension, which is due to open in 2022, will see the new signalling system and rolling stock phased in this year.
InnoTrans 2020 and coronavirus: options about delaying the event or alternative scenarios will be presented in early May.
An easing of restrictions imposed by the Spanish government in response to coronavirus has allowed manufacturing to resume in the country.
Bombardier Transportation has resumed activities at its UK sites in Derby, Ilford and Crewe as well as at its Beglian site in Bruges.
Bombardier has signed a 10-year operations and maintenance contract with Fraport AG for Frankfurt Airport's INNOVIA APM 100.
Transfesa Logistics has launched a refrigerated train to transport food, medical and hygiene supplies from Spain to the UK.
The rail industry, associations, and unions have responded to the UK government's approval for HS2 Ltd to issue Notice to Proceed.
The first contruction phase on the Naples-Bari high-speed line, between Naples and Cancello, is continuing with safety measures in place.
The UK government has given HS2 Ltd the approval to issue Notice to Proceed to the four main works civils contractors working on the project.
OEBB has seen an increase in demand for its international rail freight services during coronavirus due to border restrictions for lorries.
RDZ International has finished excavating the right arm of the Cortanovci tunnel and says it will finish excavation of the left arm by June.
RZD Logistics has launched a new freight service between Shenyang in China and Enns in Austria in close collaboration with Sinotrans.
The Rhine Valley line between Freiburg im Breisgau and Basel has reopened following a collision between a train and debris on 2 April.
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