This research explores how Australian urban transport programs and policies are responding to changes in transport technology, travel patterns, environmental imperatives and spatial development dynamics in order to offer guidance about future directions and options, and seeks to identify potential policy directions for Australia’s cities and policy arrangements.
A multiplicity of drivers of innovation were identified, including technology; social and environmental imperatives; demand behaviour—of markets or individuals; resource constraints—land, public and private capital; regulatory gaps; and political imperatives. In addition, what is seen as innovative in one place may not be seen the same way in another place. Critically, the value of innovation is not only about newness and novelty as such, but the creation of new value propositions for regulators, providers and travellers.
A key conclusion is that the Australian urban transport sector lacks a coherent overarching framework for an innovation system, despite regular references to innovation in policies. The principal approach is of market-initiated innovation with regulatory anticipation and oversight at adoption. Establishing an innovation framing of Australian urban transport policy that uses contemporary theories of innovation—including innovation systems, cross-sectoral collaboration, sustainability transitions and public sector innovation—would be an advance on the current limited policy approach.