The Australian Transport Research Cloud (ATRC) will provide transport researchers, planners, policy and decision makers from academia, government and industry with data and tools to accelerate transport research and impacts across Australia.
The ATRC seeks to enable world-leading transport research across Australia by providing high-value, integrated data and analytics, modelling, simulation and visualisation tools, which can also fuel planning, policy and decision making with data and information.
Currently, transport-oriented data in Australia is notoriously difficult to find, access and use. Further, use of these assets within tools may require significant wrangling and training to set up and obtain meaningful results. This can become particularly challenging when seeking to investigate problems at scale, such as large metropolitan cities or towns, that may require substantial cloud-based storage and/or compute resources.To address this, the ATRC will provide capabilities to support the needs of researchers focusing on passenger transport, specifically road and rail modes. It will also create opportunities for collaboration and the development of new tools, allowing resources to be brought together in a flexible and effective way that will ensure the project’s sustainability.
Informed and impactful research will allow policy and planning decisions to be made based on how Australians use public and private transport options – as well as how they are likely to do so over a period of economic, environmental, technological and social change.For example, by making more efficient and effective evidence available to decision makers, the ATRC has the potential to reduce the costs of problems like road congestion. At a conservative estimate, if the ATRC supports a 1 per cent reduction in the addressable costs of congestion (estimated at 10 per cent of the costs and avoidable social costs of congestion), this would equate to reductions of $61.4 million per year by 2030.Benefits such as this have the potential to be realised across issues such as commute times, emissions levels and more, with opportunities including:
- Network analysis to reduce congestion and pollution, assess speed limits and improve trip times and connectivity;
- Building a better understanding of public transport accessibility, supply and demand across Australia;
- Live modelling of urban mobility and traffic flows, allowing for simulations using open-source tools – including the impact of autonomous and electric vehicles.
MATSim visualisation of two scenarios in Melbourne, Australia based on traffic flows on Wednesday 8 September 2021. Created by ITLS using Via tool from Simunto for the ATRC ‘Development Case Study’.
The ATRC will provide access to high-value reference datasets to support informed, world-leading transport research, including transport network and household travel survey (HTS) data.
Researchers will be able to use tools available through the ATRC to conduct detailed network analyses, such as assessing accessibility, and mobility simulations to test current and future scenarios.
The ATRC will connect with data and code from various sources, facilitating the development of seamless workflows.
Collaboration will be a core part of the ATRC, with the ability to make research outputs available to other users to encourage community-building that builds on previous research.
The ATRC aims to support research that can positively impact Australian transport, through features including:
- High value transport oriented data;
- Cutting-edge analytics and modelling tools;
- Workflow creation capabilities.
This collaborative project (https://doi.org/10.47486/PL104) is led by the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN) and supported by the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC), which are enabled by the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).