BRT research grant extended

University research into bus rapid transit systems is set to gain pace, with the confirmation of renewed financial backing from the Volvo Research and Education Foundation (VREF)

BRT research grant extended
The Volvo Research and Education Foundation will fund another five years of research into bus rapid transit


The VREF award builds on a 2010 to 2016 grant of more than $ 5.2 million and will allow the University of Sydney Business School’s Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS) to continue its efforts to improve bus rapid transit systems.

The Foundation will fund another five years of research, worth $4.3 million dollars by a consortium of research organisations, including the ITLS, which operates the Bus Rapid Transit Centre of Excellence.

The consortium is developing a new framework for the planning, design, financing, implementation and operation of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in different urban areas.

The ultimate aim is to provide clear guidelines to decision makers on when and how BRT projects can effectively enhance mobility and meet accessibility needs.

VREF is seeking to contribute to new ideas and solutions to the design of sustainable transportation systems in big cities.

The challenge is to find urban transport systems that will provide accessibility for the masses while at the same time radically reducing transportation’s negative local and global environmental impacts.

ITLS director Professor David Hensher welcomes the additional VREF funding.

"This is recognition of the impact of the ITLS’ ongoing research activity (within the wider consortium) on sustainable public transport systems with a specific focus on integrated multi-modal public transport systems throughout the world," he says.

"This is the first time that VREF have given a grant for another period of five years," Hensher says.

University of Sydney Business School Dean Professor Greg Whitwell says that the work undertaken by the ITLS reinforces the school’s practical research focus.

"The Business School is aiming to provide the business community and public with a deeper understanding of the nature and complexities of the major issues and trends affecting our world including rapid urbanisation and increasingly complex transport needs," he says.

In related news, the Federal Government has granted a group of nearly fifty leading industry and research organisations known as the iMOVE Co-operative Research Centre (CRC), a total of $55 million over ten years to explore intelligent transport systems including self-drive vehicles.

Key members of the iMOVE CRC include ITLS and the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Engineering and IT.

The large grant to iMOVE CRC was announced by Federal Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Arthur Sinodino this month.

When added to contributions already made by industry and university members, the Federal funds bring the iMOVE CRC’s total research budget to more than $100 million.

"These funds will now be used by iMOVE CRC to explore digital and evolving vehicle technologies to increase the efficiency of passenger and freight flows, reduce congestion, fuel use, and emissions, and to improve productivity and competitiveness," Hensher says.

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