You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Peak hour disruptions could be predicted

AAP logoAAP 9/10/2016 Angus Livingston

Every Australian commuter knows the pain of a storm hitting at peak hour but transport agencies could soon have the technology to predict when major disruptions will strike.

They're also counting on driverless cars and other new technology to make a dent in the $27 billion a year cost of road trauma.

Cubic has a prediction model that learns over time when disruptions will hit cities and what steps should be taken to ease congestion on roads and rail networks.

"When certain circumstances are starting to develop you can start predicting in the future that perhaps there's going to be a disruptive incident," Cubic Asia Pacific managing director Tom Walker told AAP on Monday.

"That allows you to take steps proactively, through changing the speed limit on a road, to use the shoulder of a road, to do ramp metering on a major motorway."

Mr Walker said Australia was one of the most urbanised countries in the world, so infrastructure had to be used in smarter ways to make the most of it.

The 23rd World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems has seen the latest driverless vehicles demonstrated in Melbourne to 7000 delegates.

"We believe that road trauma is costing the government across Australia in the order of $27 billion per year," Transport Minister Darren Chester told AAP.

"If we can get a reduction in road deaths and serious injuries through investment in new technology, it's going to save money for governments.

"But perhaps more importantly it's going to save communities from enormous trauma and emotional harm."

Driverless cars are some years away, but Mr Chester said technology already available can help save lives and determine why crashes happen.

VicRoads is keen for the state to embrace self-driving cars to improve safety.

"We feel as though there are potentially big upsides, upsides in safety, upsides in productivity, that we should be hungry for this, we should be pushing for this into our jurisdiction," VicRoads chief executive John Merritt told 3AW on Monday.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon