Dealing with ecosystems I

Graham Harris v3By Graham Harris

This and the next few blogs on the topic of our dealings with ecosystems are longer than usual and are probably only for ecologists and environmental managers. They get complicated in places so to quote my favourite blogger (Roger Cicala) “Warning; these are Geek Level 3 blogs”. To many ecologists these will be controversial.  Continue reading

Robust distributed infrastructure

Graham Harris v3By Graham Harris

I first came across the idea of distributed infrastructure systems when we began planning the CSIRO Australia Energy Flagship in 2001-2. The full flowering of these innovations has taken more than a decade to come to fruition and, even now, for reasons I shall discuss, not all aspects of the concept have been implemented in energy networks around the world. Nevertheless, despite impediments, the basic concept is emerging rapidly. Continue reading

Public Infrastructure Investment in the 2000s: Lessons from the ‘Perfect Storm’

Joe Branigan for blogBy Joe Branigan

Australia’s ongoing productivity performance and standards of living depend fundamentally on efficient and high quality infrastructure. Perhaps no other area more directly showcases the quality of current and past government administrations than decisions on public infrastructure — including how it is planned, prioritised, funded and delivered. Continue reading

Synchronisation of Key Travel Modes within a Transportation Hub

MichelleBy Dr Michelle Dunbar

In many modern cities, transport infrastructure has typically developed according to a radial pattern, in response to urban-sprawl. However, as the population continues to grow and spread outwards from the CBD, existing transport infrastructure may be insufficient to cope with the increased travel demand. This may in turn lead to inaccessibility to public transport for commuters in these areas, resulting in increased car usage; exacerbating traffic congestion. Continue reading

Thinking Systems #1

Graham Harris v3By Graham Harris

Welcome to a new SMART blog topic – all about systems: about what they are, and the ways we think about them, value them, construct them in our minds and in real life, and (try to) manage them. Continue reading

Beggar bowl politics blocks Federation’s potential

This article was originally published in The Conversation by Garry Bowditch.

Calls to lift the GST rate to placate the states financial challenges will serve to only exacerbate an already severe vertical fiscal imbalance and prolong a deeply unsatisfactory chapter in Australia’s Federation.

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Prime Minister pushes for more Canadian investment

Garry Bowditch was recently featured in this radio story from the ABC’s The World Today program:

While he is in Canada, Tony Abbott will meet the heads of some of the country’s wealthiest investment funds. Some have already bought into Australian ports and property developments, but infrastructure analysts here say there is an appetite for more.

Listen to the whole episode here. [podcast][/podcast]

The budget will be big on infrastructure, but we need more than just roads

By Garry Bowditch.

The Abbott government is preparing to give Sydney’s WestConnex road project a A$2 billion boost in this week’s federal budget, part of a broader $10 billion infrastructure package aimed at boosting productivity and private sector investment.

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Agent-based modelling on the cloud for infrastructure planning

Rails Converging

A Sydney with smarter transport systems is becoming more possible through the work of our Research Director Pascal Perez and IT Architect Matthew Berryman. They have built a decision support tool to help transport and land planners better understand the feedback between changes in land use and changes to Sydney’s transportation networks.

A key component of the model is a synthetic population. “We have their age, income, any preferred travel modes because we’re interested in transport, where they live where they work, We can put in where they like to shop”, says Matthew.

But there’s no need to get nervous about individual privacy: “We do work with the individual records from transport, actual people’s information, but we then turn into what is called ‘synthetic population’. We’re not actually dealing with real people, it’s dealing with a representation of people that, in a way, matches the properties of the population. We don’t actually have Joe Bloggs in there, age 31, but we have a certain number of people in the 30-35 age bracket with a certain amount of income, living in certain areas.”

The tool is not about providing a predictive model, but a model to explore the tipping points of the system, and to gain insights into human behaviour under different scenarios. These scenarios may range from different forecast populations to different transportation options, like a metro rail system, more frequent buses or more light rail.

To explore the different scenarios, and provide an understanding of the variability of these tipping points, the simulation must be run multiple times. Because of this, and the integration of different software components (including the model software, database, statistical processing software), the model is packaged up and deployed to a private cloud that SMART, in conjunction with UOW Information Technology Services, funded and built to provide IT infrastructure to this and other projects (for example, Map Jakarta).