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for governments. Governments are already aware of this problem. If we see a decline in vehicle use and private ownership, the current registration and licensing systems will probably not be fit-for-purpose either. In this future, would governments

need to mandate a new operator licens- ing model where some form of user-pays charges regime is coupled with agreed data-sharing requirements and informa- tion security protocols?

BE PREPARED Looking more broadly, governments need to agree on policy settings and associated decisions to support new and innovative technologies as part of a safe, productive and sustainable future trans- port system. Otherwise they risk: • always playing catch up as new com- panies disrupt traditional business and regulatory models

• making short-term isolated decisions, particularly in a federated nation

• investing in systems that won’t be needed in future, and

• losing revenue to maintain vital infra- structure, like roads.

At NTC we are leading a research project that will help gov- ernments be bet- ter prepared for the sorts of challenges and opportunities they are likely to face in the future, from a regulatory sense. The project looks out to 2040, and asks the fundamental ques- tion: How could or should we regulate land transport in the future? We are in the early stages of this work,

• Governments also need to remove regulatory barriers to technology where necessary and replace them with fit-for-purpose tools.

• They should only intervene where necessary.

• They should adopt more performance- based outcomes-focused regulations, rather than prescriptive ones.

different from today. It is in the pub- lic interest that this be done soon to avoid another ‘Uber moment’ where governments had to play catch up to modernise their regulations.

“We are leading a research project that will help governments be better prepared for the sorts of challenges and opportunities they are likely to face in the future, from a regulatory sense”

• They should regularly review regula- tions affected by new technologies.

but so far we believe there are a set of principles that governments could be guided by. • The first is national consistency. This is essential because Australia needs to be seen as one market nationally and internationally in order to attract investment and new technology based solutions to our transport needs.


• Crucially, governments also need to consider how future regulations can be flexible enough to allow for new and innovative products and services. To answer this, they need to engage OEMs, IT companies and other inter- ested parties to help explore the ques- tion and understand the options and implications. We can then develop regulations that are more agile and better placed to respond to a future far


• Finally, governments need to be guided by the view that in future, ‘mobility’ will be seen very differently. It will probably be seen as a market, a service and a util- ity. Technology will drive new and more responsive business models, and gov- ernments need to encourage this inno- vation while ensur- ing our transport

systems and associated infrastructure are safe and sustainable.

NTC is in the early stages of this work. It is new and exciting territory and our role is to explore a range of plausible futures, shine the light on what we believe needs to be done and when as a result. ●

 Matt Nurse is Director, Public Affairs and Communication at National Transport Commission, Melbourne, Victoria

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