Globalisation and technological advances have brought rapid change to New Zealand’s transportation industry in recent years, and 2018 has proved no different.
Ken Shirley, chief executive of the Road Transport Forum NZ, gave us some insight into the future of transport in New Zealand, the regional fuel tax (RFT) and the Road Transport Forum’s (RTF) upcoming annual conference. Here’s what we found out:
Transport technology of the future
Projecting the future of transport technology rarely went beyond jetpacks, hoverboards and time travelling DeLoerans 30 years ago. While some of these exist today, we’re now seeing technology integrated with transport in new, exciting and innovative ways – ways we couldn’t imagine previously.
Ken Shirley says, “intelligent transport systems are the future of transport tech in New Zealand.” We’re already seeing this in motion through the recent announcement of the 10-year Regional Land Transport Plan , which recognises technology as a key part in developing Auckland’s transport systems.
Intelligent transport enables smart and connected cities and Ken says infrastructure to infrastructure, infrastructure to vehicle, and vehicle to vehicle connectivity in New Zealand will only become greater over the coming years.
Digital transport solutions include things like GPS tracking , autonomous vehicles and electric vehicles (EVs), especially heavy EVs, which Ken explains play an increasingly integral role in the country’s intelligent transport systems and will continue to do so.
Maximising the benefits from transport technology solutions such as these can help address congestion as well as improve accessibility, road safety and any negative environmental impacts. “The question is whether New Zealand has the infrastructure to handle these intelligent transport systems”, says Ken.
Regional Fuel Tax adoption
While the Regional Fuel Tax (RFT) has already come into effect in the Auckland region, from 2021 every regional and unitary council in New Zealand can apply to the Government for the right to impose a 10 cents per litre (plus GST) RFT.
Ken says the adoption of the tax across more regions is inevitable. “Naturally, of course, every council around New Zealand could justify their own regional fuel tax fund”, says Ken. Hamilton City Council has already submitted an application requesting its own RTF, while a number of councils have shown interest too.
Road Transport Forum annual conference 2018
The RTF’s annual conference, showcasing all things road transport, takes place on 26 and 27 September this year, at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin. It’s the first time since 2005 the conference will be hosted in the South Island, so this year RTF are driving the theme ‘Southern Ways’.
Labour shortages, driver training and qualifications as well as driver fatigue and impairment will be key subjects throughout the conference. Ken also explains safety will be an essential topic. “There’s a greater emphasis on safety in the industry and we support that”, says Ken.
There will be a variety of industry speakers including Rex Williams, chairman of HW Richardson Group, covering these topics as well as an overview of governmental initiatives from Transport Minister Phil Twyford.
We will also be attending to showcase iFace, a recent addition to our GPS vehicle tracking suite. iFace is a rugged, detachable in-cab touchscreen device for drivers. It offers messaging and navigation, document management, pro-trip inspection checklists, and both standard and customised forms.
Like Ken, we’re looking forward to learn about the changes taking place in the road transport industry and share ideas with those on the frontlines of freight.
Find out more about the RTF annual conference 2018 here: https://www.rtfconference.co.nz/