By: Fabian Cotter

VOLVO BUSES hosted it first ‘Smart and Sustainable’ transport forum in Sydney today, blending global experience with local insights to “…address Australian and New Zealand public transport challenges,” it states.

The inaugural 2019 Volvo Buses transport Forum, held in Sydney, " sure to add clarity to the coach and bus industry going forward,” said Volvo Buses Australia general manager, Lauren Downs.

Organised under the patronage of the Swedish Embassy, Business Sweden, Swedish Australian Chamber of Commerce (SACC) and Australia’s Bus Industry Confederation (BIC), the event - with the intent to help Australia and New Zealand evolve their public transport systems given population growth - aimed to address the following:

* What does it mean to have smart and sustainable public transport?

* Factoring in an accessible, reliable and responsive multi-modal PT system at the stage of urban planning itself;

* How can a bus network "scale up" and be managed sustainably?

* Evolving optimal strategies to address congestion and pollution;

* How will megatrends - like e-mobility, connected services, autonomous vehicles and shared mobility - play out in the Australasian context?

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"At Volvo Buses we are constantly looking for opportunities to better understand the growing public transport needs," said Volvo Buses president, Håkan Agnevall.

"At this event we aimed to bring together key stakeholders from across Australia and New Zealand to build a shared vision that will make sustainable mobility a reality," he added. 

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The agenda included keynotes addresses from:

- The Hon. Gareth James Ward, Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, New South Wales Government;

- Leon Daniels, former managing director Transport for London, UK;

- Niels de Boer, programme director, Centre of Excellence for Testing and Research of Autonomous vehicles, Nanyang Technological University Singapore.

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Moderated by Yale Wong, a doctoral candidate and research analyst from the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies, a panel discussion was conducted with the aim to share, discuss and debate views, experiences, ideas and possible solutions.

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Panellists included:

- Leon Daniels, former head of Buses and Surface Transport at Transport for London (TfL);

- Graham Currie, chair of Public Transport Director, Public Transport Research Group, Institute of Transport Studies, Monash University;

- Kate Mackay, technical director of Transport Planning, Mott MacDonald;

- Steffen Faurby, CEO, State Transit Authority of NSW;

- Stefan Widlund, director of City Mobility, Volvo Bus Corporation.

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"The opportunity to put so many of Australia’s and New Zealand’s public transport professionals together in one place to discuss the issues of today and the future is sure to add clarity to the coach and bus industry going forward," said Volvo Buses Australia general manager, Lauren Downs.

"We hope that the knowledge and experience shared by the guest speakers brought global perspectives and different viewpoints to local industry."

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The amount of information provided was thought provoking and challenged many of the long established paradigms, the organisation states.

The event was well appreciated by all attendees with a clear view that the journey to smart and sustainable cities is achievable, but requires stakeholders from across the transport industry to "join hands" to achieve long-term solutions, it explains.


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