Past Seminars

2009

Peter Abelson

Date: 5th May 2009

Speaker: Peter Abelson, Managing Director, Applied Economics P/L

Topic: The economics of the taxi industry and taxi reform in NSW


Abstract: This paper reviews the performance and regulation of the taxi industry in Sydney. The taxi industry is a complex set of arrangements between taxi plate holders, taxi radio networks, taxi operators and taxi drivers. However, the paper shows that the industry is a heavily regulated, poorly performing, virtual monopoly. A review of the economics literature finds that there are few efficiency or equity reasons for the kinds of regulation in place in Sydney. Rather, the regulations contribute to the monopoly control and the inefficient performance of the industry. The paper then provides estimates of the benefits and costs of abolishing entry restrictions (subject to safety standards) along with other reforms that would allow increased competition.

Bio: Peter Abelson is Managing Director of the consultancy Applied Economics P/L, a Visiting Scholar at the University of Sydney, and Adjunct Professor of the Australian and New Zealand School of Government. He is also a part-time principal economic advisor to the NSW Treasury. Peter obtained a PhD in Economics from London University. He taught economics for many years at Macquarie University where he held a Personal Chair in Economics from 2001 to 2005. His consulting work focuses on public policy and includes public finance, transport, urban and environmental economics, health and education economics, and social welfare programs. He is the author of Public Economics: Principles and Practice (2008), McGraw-Hill, which is a leading text in this field in Australia. He has also published many articles on transport economics.

John Stanley

Date: 19th May 2009

Speaker: Professor John Stanley, Adjunct Professor, ITLS-Sydney and Bus Industry Confederation Senior Fellow in Sustainable Land Transport

Topic: Climate change and land transport


Abstract: Transport is Australia's third largest and second fastest growing source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The road transport sector makes up 88 percent of total transport emissions and the projected emissions increase from 1990 to 2020 is 64 percent. Achieving prospective emission reduction targets will pose major challenges for the road transport sector. This paper investigates two targets for reducing Australian road transport greenhouse gas emissions, and what they might mean for the sector: emissions in 2020 being 20 percent below 2000 levels; and emissions in 2050 being 80 percent below 2000 levels. Six ways in which emissions might be reduced to achieve these targets are considered. The analysis suggests that major behavioural and technological changes will be required to deliver significant emission reductions, with very substantial reductions in vehicle emission intensity being absolutely vital to making major inroads in road transport GHG emissions.

Bio: John joins ITLS in July 2008 as Adjunct Professor and Bus Industry Confederation Senior Research Fellow in Sustainable Land Transport. Prior to recently taking on this role, he had nine years as Executive Director of Bus Association Victoria, after eight years as Deputy Chairman of the National Road Transport Commission. He is a member of the Committee for Melbourne's Transport and Climate Change Task Forces, and is a board member of the Victorian Alpine Resorts Co-ordination Council. John is also Chair of the Advisory Committee for the Monash University Institute of Transport Studies. He was awarded a Centenary Medal for services to public transport and conservation.

Hensher, Groom, Smart

Date: 9th Jun 2009

Speaker: Eric Groom, Principal Advisor, Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal; Mike Smart, LECG,

Topic: Externalities of rail travel and how these can be reflected in fare setting


Abstract: Public transport generates two types of external benefit that should influence fare setting.The first is a reduction in the disbenefit suffered by motorists due to traffic congestion. The second is a reduction in the disbenefits suffered by the wider community as a result of automobile usage.These include costs of emissions of greenhouse gases and conventional air pollution, accidental death and injury to pedestrians. The authors discuss IPART's fare-setting process for CityRail and how externalities were factored in. A mathematical fare optimisation process is set out and applied to estimate optimal fares and external benefits for Sydney bus services.

Bios: Mike Smart, a consulting director based in LECG's Sydney office, works primarily in the fields of competition, pricing and business strategy, focusing on infrastructure and other networked businesses. He applies empirical economics to valuation, costing, corporate strategy, regulatory and competition policy issues. Mike has advised the Australian industry leaders in rail, telecommunications, logistics, gas, mining, electricity and aviation, among other private and public sector organisations. His advice includes the preparation of reports, submissions, board papers, financial models, and testimony. Mike has given expert evidence in the Federal Court of Australia and the Australian Competition Tribunal. Prior to joining LECG in March 2008, Mike was a vice president of CRA International and an executive director of the Network Economics Consulting Group (NECG). Before joining NECG, Mike was the manager of corporate strategy for the Rail Access Corporation of NSW during its corporatisation and first three years of operation. That role encompassed commercial and regulatory challenges including development of an access pricing strategy and negotiating access contracts, as well as a significant contribution to the development of the NSW Rail Access Regime. Prior to that role, Mike advised the Public Accounts Committee of the NSW Parliament, worked as engineering manager in a data acquisition and machine vision firm, and consulted, in California, to the airline and electric power industries. Mike is a member of the Trade Practices Committee of the Business Law Section of the Law Council of Australia.

Eric Groom is Principal Advisor with the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) of NSW, which is responsible for the regulation of transport fares, water prices and retail energy prices in NSW.IPART also supervises energy and water licencing and undertakes a range of special reviews for government. Eric first joined IPART when it was established in 1992.As Principal Advisor he provides input across a broad range of reviews and is responsible for IPART's cross-sector research program. From 2004 - 2007 he worked with the World Bank as a principal regulatory advisor. Prior to joining IPART Eric worked with NSW and NZ Treasuries, the Department of Energy and Minerals and the State rail Authority of NSW.He has a BEc (hons) from the University of Sydney and a MEc from Macquarie University.

Richard Allsop Seminar

Date: 22nd Jul 2009

Speaker: Professor Richard Allsop, Professor of Transport Studies, University College London

Topic: How road safety varies across Europe - experience with available data


Abstract: The content will be based on the outcomes of the ETSC PIN programme chaired by Professor Allsop.

Bio: Professor Richard Allsop has extensive international experience of research, training and advisory work on road safety, traffic management and other aspects of transport policy. He is Emeritus Professor of Transport Studies at UCL (University College London), having been Professor since 1976 and Director between then and 1997 of what is now the Centre for Transport Studies, and a Visiting Professor in the Transport Operations Research Group at Newcastle University. His principal personal research contributions have been in traffic signal control and road safety. He continues to contribute extensively to the work of the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) and PACTS, the UK Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety.

Corinne Mully

Date: 4th Aug 2009

Speaker: Professor Corinne Mulley, Chair in Public Transport, ITLS-Sydney

Topic: Promoting social inclusion in a deregulated environment: extending accessibility in areas of low demand


Abstract: Against a background of a deregulated market, bus-based public transport has enjoyed revitalisation in many urban areas but outside large towns and cities its provision and quality remains erratic. Many rural settlements have infrequent services and services that start late, finish early and do not run at weekends. Rural communities account for about 20% of the English population and can lead to economic and social exclusion. Car ownership and car use is higher in rural areas, across all socio-economic categories, suggesting environmental consequences and greater per capita carbon emissions from rural dwellers.

The UK Government highlighted a need in Towards a Sustainable Transport System (2007) for radical new thinking on rural accessibility to help meet goals of quality of life and accessibility for all and to help meet the challenge of finding carbon friendly ways of meeting rural transport needs. This seminar reports work undertaken for the Commission for Integrated Transport, an advisory body to UK Government, on how shared taxi-schemes could be developed on a large scale to meet rural accessibility needs. This is based on a comparison between successful mainland European schemes and UK schemes which demonstrate that there is a potential for making current expenditure on rural transport in the UK 'work harder' so as to deliver a more effective service.

Bio: Professor Corinne Mulley is the founding Chair in Public Transport at the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies. This position is funded by the NSW government. Corinne graduated from Nottingham University and holds a PhD from the London School of Economics. Since her appointment to Newcastle University as a transport economist she has been active in transport research at the interface of transport policy and economics. More recently Corinne has concentrated on specific issues relating to public transport. She led a high profile European and UK consortia undertaking benchmarking in urban public transport and has provided both practical and strategic advice to local and national governments on benchmarking, rural transport issues, and public transport management.

Phil Potterton

Date: 1st Sep 2009

Speaker: Phil Potterton, Executive Director, Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics; Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government

Topic: Transport and the carbon pollution reduction scheme


Abstract: The Australian Government is implementing a comprehensive strategy for tackling climate change in Australia. The strategy is built on three pillars: reducing Australia's carbon pollution; adapting to unavoidable climate change; and helping to shape a global solution. Transport emissions in Australia's make up approximately 14 percent of national greenhouse gas emissions. Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) modelling suggests that without intervention the business as usual scenario would see emissions from the sector grow by about 30 percent between 2005 and 2020. The importance of transport emissions is recognised through the inclusion of transport in the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), the government's primary mechanism for achieving Australia's emission reduction objectives. This presentation outlines the major elements of the CPRS, its current status and highlights some of the transport data behind the Treasury modelling of the CPRS, which was supported by BITRE.

Bio: Phil has been Executive Director of the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, the research and analysis unit in the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, since July 2004. Phil joined the Bureau in 2001 as Deputy Executive Director, Transport Research following two years with the Northern Territory Treasury, where he was involved in government business reform issues. From 1993 to 2000, Phil held senior management positions in program evaluation and policy in Canberra in the Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs and its forerunners. Phils previous career was with the Department of Finance, AusAid and predecessor agencies of the Department of Transport and Regional Services. Phil holds an Honours degree in history and masters degrees in international relations and public policy.

Richard Lowson

Date: 17th Nov 2009

Speaker: Richard Lowson, Australian Representative of Advanced Transport Systems

Topic: Personal Rapid Transit systems: A sustainable approach to transport


Abstract: Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) consist of small vehicles running on their own guide way with off line stations providing point to point, non-stop travel. The transport is available on demand and will go anywhere within a network. There is no waiting or queuing prior to, during or at the end of transit. The systems have a capacity equal to or better than Light Rail or Guided Bus while having significant cost savings and environmental benefits. PRT was selected for the land-side operations at London Heathrow Airport and is presently undergoing commissioning trials at Heathrow. PRT is not a universal panacea for the 21st century's transport needs. It is not a replacement for large mass transit systems such as heavy rail or large city Metro, rather it compliments and integrates with these existing forms and is a solution for 'last mile' problems associated with existing mass transit systems. The presentation will focus on design parameters underpinning PRT, policy issues surrounding the introduction of PRT, and PRT as an environmentally sustainable transport option.

Bio: Richard is an Australian representative of Advanced Transport Systems and brother of Professor Martin Lowson, the developer of the Urban Light Transport system, ULTra. Richard arrived in Australia in 1969 to take up a research position with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Association. During his 35 years as an ANSTO employee he developed a strong environmental science profile of research and consulting, both within Australia and overseas, and held senior research positions within ANSTO. His retirement in 2004 allowed him to develop and promote Personal Rapid Transit systems in Australia while at the same time finalising his research interests through a visiting fellowship with ANSTO. Richard holds an Honours degree in applied chemistry, a Diploma of Imperial College and PhD in physical chemistry.