Researchers from the Planning and Transport Research Centre (PATREC) located at UWA, have been awarded a one million dollar grant from the Federal Government through its inaugural Smart Cities and Suburbs Program.
The technology grant, one of six awarded in WA and announced by Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann in November, sees PATREC partner with the City of Wanneroo to investigate how to use smart data to plan the Metronet 13.6k extension to Yanchep.
PATREC Director Sharon Biermann who is leading the project says the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program focuses on how to use data and technology to increase sustainability, productivity, liveability and service delivery in local communities.
“The three new stations being developed as part of the Metronet extension provide a great opportunity to use smart technology solutions to maximise the value of this infrastructure investment.
“The challenge is to avoid the ‘Mandurah Syndrome’. The construction of the heavy rail line extension to Mandurah made employment opportunities in the Perth CBD far more accessible. This meant more people were leaving the area and Mandurah hasn’t really experienced any economic benefits from the investment.
“So our objective is to increase patronage on the rail line but have more people coming into Wanneroo, creating greater economic development opportunities for the area,” she says.
The project, due to start this month and run through to June 2019, will be one of the first PATREC has undertaken with a local government partner, Sharon says.
“A lot of the work we do is with State Government so it’s an exciting opportunity to work with the City of Wanneroo and investigate how we can help them achieve their sustainability and economic goals.
“The key objective through this work is to help solve practical transport problems in Perth. The learnings we take from this project we can roll out through the State Government and hopefully make a positive difference in future transport planning and policymaking in WA.
“It’s great to be leading this project and another way UWA is driving positive social change in our community,” she says.