Thinking outside the box

While academic publications and reports are a very important outlet for high quality research including debates on themes with a rich policy and strategic value beyond theory, methods and evidence, there is room for a series of short poignant commentaries on themes that are of broad community interest. These short pieces focus on topics of currency that are likely to be challenging and controversial – hence the titling of the series Thinking outside the box. It has all the elements of critical thinking and the challenge of change.

Professor David Hensher, Director, ITLS


  • Toll Roads – a view after 25 years 27 Apr 2017

    David Hensher

    Tolled roads in Australia have been around now for over 25 years (excluding bridge crossings) and have created camps of supporters and dissenters. Have they delivered value for money (to whom?) and have they reached their use by date as a preferred way to fund and deliver road infrastructure? In looking back over 25 years this think piece crystallises some of the key elements of the toll road journey, raising questions about whether it is time to transition away from road-specific pricing to network pricing reform. Read more

  • Visible hands or invisible hands – who should build the ports in developing countries? 03 Apr 2017

    Xaiowen Fu

    The general decline in shipping and trade has put huge pressure on ports, as they have significant sunk/fixed costs and rely on shipping carriers to bring in cargo. With huge investments and associated risks, it is often difficult for the private sector to undertake very large port investments independently, especially in developing countries with relatively less efficient capital markets. Read more

  • The benefits and beneficiaries of urban tollroad expansion 03 Mar 2017

    Christopher Standen

    After a nine-month investigation into the WestConnex tollroad, the Auditor-General has found the Commonwealth Government committed billions of taxpayers’ money to the scheme without appropriate advice. He also indicated that the funding did not provide value for money for taxpayers, and did not protect the government’s financial interests. These findings raise the question: if the scheme is a bad deal for taxpayers, then exactly whom does it benefit? Read more

  • I can't wait to get my Ls! A Perspective on High School Travel 09 Feb 2017

    Stephen Greaves

    Last week marked the end of the school holidays in Sydney and a resumption for many of frustrating levels of congestion as the 'school-run' resumed. Well over half of school children were driven, which is roughly double the levels when many of their parents would have been attending school, 25-30 years ago. How have we arrived at this situation and what can we do? Read more

  • Autonomous Vehicles and Implications for Future Transport Systems 02 Feb 2017

    David Hensher, Chinh Ho and Richard Ellison

    The rapid development of autonomous vehicles (AV) has prompted considerable speculation on how these vehicles will ‘revolutionise’ the future of cities’ transport systems. It has been suggested that a large-scale adoption of AV would lead to safer roads, congestion-free cities and more public spaces as vehicles can be shared, and hence fewer parking spaces are needed. However, it is far from clear if these visions are likely to be realised and what this might imply for the future transport networks and policy agendas. Read more

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