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.
The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has extended GTR’s Emergency Recovery Measures Agreement (ERMA) until 31 March 2022.
The ORR has launched the 2023 Periodic Review – the process for determining the funding needed for Britain’s rail network from 2024-2029.
Deutsche Bahn has brought forward its deadline for achieving climate-neutrality by ten years, with 2040 as the new target date.
Scotland's Levenmouth rail link to be double tracked and electrified says Scottish Government Transport Minister Graeme Dey.
Webuild and US subsidiary Lane Construction have signed the final agreement to build the US’ first true high-speed railway.
Canadian National Railway & Kansas City Southern Railway have filed documents requested by the STB in relation to their merger.
The RDG has warned that a cut in domestic air passenger duty would see thousands of passengers shift from rail to air.
Network Rail has awarded Siemens Mobility the contract to deliver GRIP stages 4-8 of the Devon and Cornwall re-signalling programme.
Webuild Group identified as best bidder for a design and build contract for the Orsara-Bovino section of the Naples-Bari high-speed railway.
Alstom’s Chinese joint venture PBTS has been awarded a new contract by Chengdu Tianfu International Airport to operate and maintain its APM.
Network Rail says that more freight is now being transported across one of its busiest business regions than before the pandemic.
ScotRail has agreed a five-year maintenance contract extension for its fleet of Siemens Mobility Class 380 trains.
A consortium led by Alstom will supply Mexico’s large scale intercity railway project Tren Maya, a comprehensive 1,525 km mobility project.
Shchekinoazot has signed a contract for 132 new generation tank cars for methanol from United Wagon Company (UWC).
Electronic interlocking has now been fully commissioned in Duisburg after the second expansion stage was completed at the end of May.
Siemens Mobility has completed the delivery of high-speed Velaro trains ordered by the Turkish State Railways (TCDD) between 2013 and 2019.
Deutsche Bahn (DB) has celebrated 30 years of ICE traffic in Germany with the christening of the first XXL ICE.
An in-depth look at the Williams-Shapps plan to transform Britain's railways following the launch of the Williams Review in 2019.
Alstom has begun operations at METRONET’s brand new train manufacturing facility in Perth, Western Australia.
HS2 begins search for a construction partner to build Interchange Station. This will be at the centre of the new high speed rail network.
Germany launches its first digital marshalling yard in Munich. DB Cargo is testing numerous technologies to automate marshalling activities.
The ORR has launched a 'lessons learned' review to examine how the cracking issue in the Hitachi Class 800 trains occurred.
TfW has said goodbye to its last Pacer trains after more than 30 years of service, marking the end of an era for Britain’s railways.
No trains ran to or from London King’s Cross this past weekend as work continued on Network Rail’s East Coast Upgrade.
Alstom’s Chinese joint venture PBTS has been awarded a 27-year contract to maintain the Innovia Monorail 300 platform for Wuhu City in China.
Arriva Group is filing an application to operate regional rail open access night services in the Netherlands.
Euston has become the first station in the UK to offer updates on disruptions in British Sign Language, making the station more accessible.
Alstom has signed a contract with the Toronto Transit Commission for the supply of 60 five-car Flexity trams (streetcars).
A Talgo Avril unit has reached a key milestone in the very high-speed train's homologation process by exceeding 363 kilometres per hour.
United Wagon Company has obtained vehicle type approval from the European Union Agency for Railways for two of its flat cars.
The Railway-News Magazine Issue 2 2021 Is Here! The second issue of the Railway-News e-magazine of 2021 celebrates the return of real world events by taking ...
Alstom and SWEG have signed a framework agreement that will see Alstom provide and maintain locomotives from its rental pool for eight years.
Siemens Mobility and HI ERN have signed an MoU to research use of Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier (LOHC) technology in rail transport.
Alstom has received an order from Hessische Landesbahn GmbH (HLB) to supply 32 Coradia Continental electric multiple units.
A year on from its investigation into poor train performance in the NW&C region, the ORR has announced that progress has been made.
Alstom and SNCF Voyageurs have unveiled the first TGV M power car. Its carbon footprint is the lowest on the market.
Talgo has secured a contract from Renfe to manufacture 26 new variable gauge and 330 km/h commercial speed powerheads (locomotives).
Track laying in Jiangxi Province for the Ganzhou-Shenzhen High-Speed Railway in China is complete. This section measures 134.5km.
HS2 Ltd has revealed a new vacuum excavation technique for piling which could have massive benefits for the wider construction industry.
The UK government has announced a significant railway funding boost for the north and Midlands valued at 401m GBP.
East Midlands Railway EMR and AV IT Media have produced a commemorative documentary on the High Speed Train (HST).
The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has found Network Rail’s progress in delivering against its Control Period 6 (CP6) plans broadly on track.
Transformation of the Wales and Borders network has moved another step closer with the first Class 197 trains coming off the production line.
Four tunnel boring machines have finished 20 months of digging under Melbourne to create two 9km rail tunnels for the Metro Tunnel Project.
Deutsche Bahn (DB) and Stadler have signed an agreement to develop the first virtual image, or digital twin, of a complete train.
Brightline has passed the halfway mark on construction of its 170-mile track extension from Miami to Orlando.
FirstGroup has signed two National Rail Contracts for TransPennine Express and South Western Railway, which will commence in May 2021.
The IRICAV Due Consortium is set to start work on a section of Italy’s Verona-Padua high-speed, high-capacity railway.
SNCF and partners have begun to test their prototype autonomous regional train on commercial tracks in northern France.
CAF Signalling has received certification in accordance to the latest TSIs for its ETCS Baseline 3 Release 2 solution – AURIGA.
The UK government has announced a set of reforms for the railways in Britain, including scrapping the franchise system and simplifying fares.
Alstom’s first pre-production Coradia Polyvalent France-Germany cross-border train starts certification and approval tests.
Eurostar has reached a refinancing agreement with its shareholders and banks worth £250m (289.9m euros | 353.9m USD).
The Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) Rail Cargo Group (RCG) is continuing to expand its activities on the New Silk Road.
The University of Birmingham has relaunched the National College for Advanced Transport and Infrastructure (NCATI).
Work is underway on the final stage of a major project to transform London King’s Cross’ track layout, which will reduce congestion.
An ex-military site in Latvia is being scanned for unexploded ordnance as part of a Rail Baltica greenfield railway infrastructure project.
Kansas City Southern has called Canadian National's acquisition bid superior to that made by Canadian Pacific, but the US DOJ has concerns.
The Sydney Metro West project has announced two new stations – Pyrmont, and Hunter Street in the city's central business district.
UK rail companies have added more than 2,500 daily services to their timetables, which come into play today.
HS2 has deployed the first of 10 tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will be used during phase one of the UK’s new high speed railway.
Alstom has published its 2020-21 results and provided an update on its continuing integration of Bombardier Transportation.
In its update paper into the state of the British railway signalling market, the ORR has expressed concern about Siemens / Alstom dominance.
Hitachi Rail has issued a service recovery plan for reintroducing the Class 800 trains back into service, following the detection of cracks.
Greater Manchester’s fleet of 123 Metrolink trams has clocked up over one hundred million kilometres of service since its 2009 introduction.
Four Avelia Euroduplex trains have come into service on Spain’s high-speed rail network after conversion by Alstom and SNCF.
FirstGroup, the company that owns the train operating company TransPennine Express, has agreed a termination fee with the DfT.
RB Rail AS has appointed reviewers to assess the detailed technical design of the Rail Baltica high-speed railway line in Latvia.
Edinburgh-based 7N Architects has won a Network Rail and RIBA competition to shape Britain’s future railways.
HS2 has confirmed that a team made up of Mace and Dragados will build Birmingham’s new city centre high speed railway station.
The UK's Class 800 high-speed trains have been withdrawn from service after cracks were found in their lifting blocks on the bogies.
The European Commission has announced the route of the Connected Europe Express as part of the European Year of Rail.
A Stadler and Siemens Mobility consortium has won a contract to provide the Lisbon Metro with a signalling system and fleet of new trains.
Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn has told a Congressional Committee that America needs high-speed rail links as part of its railway infrastructure.
Alstom has been selected to provide its interchangeable communications-based train control system (I-CBTC) for the Paris Metro.
DB Engineering & Consulting has won the tender for constructing part of the line upgrade between Lübeck and Schwerin in Northern Germany.
Avanti West Coast has introduced a new service known as At-Seat Order that enables customers to have food and drink delivered to their seat.
World Passenger Festival will be live this October. Global public transport operators will discuss the transformative era of mobility.
Melbourne Metro Tunnel's 9km tunnels have moved closer to completion, switching the project’s focus on to its five new underground stations.
The first open public procurement contract, for the supply of the cableway components, has been announced for Rail Baltica.
Canadian Pacific Railway has filed a formal objection with the Surface Transportation Board to the Canadian National Merger Waiver.
Network Rail completed extensive upgrades to the line between Euston and Scotland over the early May bank holiday weekend.
BLS will put its first MIKA - a Stadler FLIRT - into service with all 58 trains ordered entering into passenger service by the end of 2024.
Alstom has delivered its 100th electric locomotive to Indian Railways under a 2015 contract for a total of 800 12,000 HP units.
The private rail freight operator Lineas has acquired Dutch operator Independent Rail Partner to strengthen its position in the country.
Network Rail has been listed as a Times Top 50 Employer for Women for the year 2021 following steps by the organisation to be more inclusive.
Deutsche Bahn says that by 2030 half of all residents living close to railway tracks will benefit from efforts to reduce noise pollution.
Two companies have been shortlisted to construct more than 10km of viaducts, bridges and embankments for the Sydney Airport Metro.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has announced 1.69 billion USD in relief funding for Amtrak in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Hitachi Rail has joined the US High Speed Rail Association as a VIP Member in light of the Biden Administration's pro-rail stance.
Alstom will work with Long Island Rail Road for an eight-month period to test the feasibility of battery-electric traction on its network.
The Stadler-manufactured Capricorn trains for Rhaetian Railway (Switzerland) have won the Red Dot Award 2021 in two categories.
RB Rail AS has chosen its energy engineer for the electrification of the 870km international high-speed Rail Baltica line.
Network Rail has invited private sector companies to invest £1 billion in telecoms infrastructure to upgrade the country's railway network.
Canadian National has made a rival bid for Kansas City Southern and has filed a letter with the Surface Transportation Board.
Alstom has won a contract to operate and maintain the Skyway automated people mover system at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston.
A consortium comprising Alstom, Thales and Nokia has delivered an ERTMS/ETCS Level 2 signalling upgrade on the E65 railway in Poland.
Why Rail Electrification: the UK rail industry has written an open letter to government to urge for a rolling programme of electrification.
Danish State Railways has chosen to exercise an option from its contract with Talgo to add additional carriages to its train order.
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