Home' Future Building: The Australian Infrastructure Review : Volume 8 Number 1 Contents futurebuilding
Technology, transport and reform
with analytics, algorithms and artificial intelligence. It’s really
about how we make sure we have the best of the emerging
technology. How do we make the right bets? How do we learn
how to fail fast? How do we experiment within our company and
with our partners? How do we take good care of the assets that
we are custodians of on behalf of the travelling public?
JL: This is not my first rodeo, I’ve been sitting around
the transport sector for a while, and there’s a shift in terms
of culture that I’m seeing within some of the bureaucracies,
which is really quite fascinating. New South Wales is leading
the charge in this space.
For Uber as an organisation, we like to think of ourselves
as very consumer-obsessed – we call it a customer obsession.
When we talk about disruption, or if we talk about internally
disrupting ourselves, it’s funny because the way the Uber
culture works is we don’t do anything that the customer doesn’t
want. We’ve got what consumers crave, and we’re willing and
able to push that bandwidth a fair bit. We wouldn’t have been
as successful as we have been over the last five years if no-one
had pushed the button to get a ride.
LT: I think that you helped us to make sure that we weren’t
resting on our laurels, because we had less momentum when
we started in this space a few years ago. Once you look out
there and see what’s possible with start-up companies – what
they can do and what they can generate – I think the game’s on.
Governments, and more traditional-looking companies like us,
are out there to compete as well.
JL: That’s what’s really refreshing in dealing with some of
Tim’s team on a day-to-day basis. The mentality has shifted from
‘This is where we always stand, so let’s continue doing it this
way’, to ‘What do consumers want?’ That’s a real paradigm shift
and it’s super important, because if that doesn’t happen well
across the nation in the context of dealing with governments
and offices, it will hold us back.
A couple of years ago, everyone was running around,
saying, ‘Big data! Big data! We need big data! We need to put
it in there somewhere, and then someone will figure out what to
do with it’. Early on, Uber realised that you need to have a user
case. If you don’t have a user case that helps you to achieve
an outcome with big data, then you’re not going to get there.
A good example of that is the IPA Transport Metric, which we
launched with Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) last
year – it’s a measurement tool that lets us look at travel-time
data across our different cities.
The feedback we got back from Mike Mrdak, which created
a lot of insight, was how powerful it would be to have one tool
that measures travel time in the same way across all major
metropolitan cities, because we have VicRoads doing it one
way and we’ve got Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) doing it
another way, for example. Through Uber, we’ve got live sensors
on the network on a day-to-day basis, and that creates the
consistency to compare measurement. Having that user case,
and really understanding what that helps you do, makes a lot
TR: Both Jessika and Lisa have made comments about
their interactions with government, and how they go about
things. Both Uber and Transurban do it differently, and neither
is right or wrong. There have been really good lessons in
Artist’s impression of NorthConnex. Source: Transurban
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