The SMART Infrastructure Facility contributes to infrastructure planning in Australia through truly independent research coupled with deep academic rigour to ensure policy-makers and industry receives high quality and timely advice on major projects. These projects address key social, economic health, safety and environmental issues.


A new report recommends calls for urgent action to address the doubling of commuter traffic and a massive increase of freight movements between the Illawarra and Sydney by 2041.

The report, undertaken by SMART Infrastructure Facility, and commissioned by the Illawarra Business Chamber and consortium partners Wollongong City Council and Wollondilly Shire Council, calls for a new rail link between the Illawarra and St Marys in Western Sydney.

It is the most ambitious of three options canvassed as the South West Illawarra Rail Link (SWIRL) linking the Illawarra, Wollondilly and Western Sydney.

The $3.2billion dual freight and passenger line would be a 48-kilometre extension of the partially built Maldon-Dombarton line, and would connect the region with Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek, and a planned Western Sydney Freight Terminal at St Marys.

UOW’s Vice- Chancellor Paul Wellings CBE said he was “proud that the University’s SMART Infrastructure Facility has built a clear case for the development of this much-needed rail link to connect our region’s population to jobs, and importantly, bring those from all over Greater Sydney here for education, recreation and employment as well”.

Project leader Senior Professor Pascal Perez said work on the first stage of the line was urgently needed before the existing rail link between Illawarra and Sydney, the South Coast Line, reaches capacity in 2036.

He said the benefits of building a second dual-purpose, electrified rail link linking the Illawarra, Wollondilly and Sydney were too significant to be ignored.

“There is an urgent need for work to start now on this link in order to increase local employment in the region, reduce commuting times and increase regional freight capacity to unlock the potential of Port Kembla,” he said.

“We calculate that these improved rail and road connections would contribute to the creation of 17,500 extra jobs in our regions by 2041.”

The report notes that the planned container terminal at Port Kembla would generate an extra 1.6 million road trip per year, and 9300 train paths by 2041.

This would be in addition to a near doubling of daily commuter trip from 26,000 to 46,000.

“The report strongly supports the immediate start of planning for the first stage, from Maldon near Dapto to Dombarton near Picton, including a train station at Wilton and connection to the main rail line,” Professor Perez said.

“Considering the population growth and increasing freight demand, we recommend that planning and design work start immediately so the line is operational by 2036, when the South Coast Line is predicted to reach capacity.”

The report, published today, builds on a study completed in 2017, which estimated that SWIRL would cost $1.6 billion compared to the $2 billion for an intense upgrade to the South Coast line.

It was the first report to recommend a dual freight and passenger line along the corridor.

Read the full report here.

Our Digital Living Lab is working with TUDI in applying AI (ARIMA and LSTM) to develop insights on the property market and further progress the predictive capability of the technology. By understanding the dynamics of suburbs that outperform the market, including socio-economic analysis, the technology will determine which factors can be associated with a boom in the market. 

How do we do it? Using five unique factors that when used together show which suburbs have the greatest potential for rapid price rises. These factors are:

  1. supply & demand
  2. rental occupancy rates
  3. seller confidence
  4. potential for positive gearing
  5. and the stage in the potential upswing

This allows the investor to customise which of the five factors are more important based on their risk profile and what is most critical to their property investment strategy. The tool also allows for comparison across suburbs the investor has selected.

Visit the TUDI website

Responding to stormwater management challenges. 

The Illawarra-Shoalhaven Smart Water Management project uses smart technology solutions and develop data analytics to respond to stormwater management challenges affecting our communities; solutions to help improve stormwater management, water quality, flood mitigation and information accessibility to ensure community safety in flash flood events.

This lighthouse project under the Illawarra Shoalhaven Smart Region Strategy is a regional collaboration between local government, tertiary and secondary education institutes, the water industry and the development sector.

Outcomes from the project will be scalable and immediately transferable to communities and industries across Australia.

The project will be delivered through five components:

  1. Stop Block: Improved stormwater culvert blockage management and analytics including new rugged sensors;
  2. Flood Aware: A new information platform for the public to provide warnings and other information to reduce risk to life and property;
  3. Go Flow: New estuary management solutions including sensors and cameras to reduce flooding;
  4. Quality Watch: New water quality monitoring stations including custom technology, sensors and a regional Internet of Things; and 
  5. Pollution Stop: Improved water quality with new sensing devices and analytics in monitoring stations including changes to management of gross pollution traps.

The project will also:

  1. Extend and augment the coverage offered by UOW-hosted Digital Living Lab Internet of Things (IoT) radio communication network. Currently servicing the Wollongong and Shoalhaven local government areas, this open-source platform provides a ‘hacking space’ for citizens, entrepreneurs, researchers and students to apply smart technologies in novel applications to resolve real-world challenges.
  2. Through the UOW Smarter Schools for a Smarter Planet program, provide ten regional high schools with the opportunity to gain skills in the construction and uses of smart technologies by building and providing the sensors used in this project and educating student about Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and the water management issues being analysed by these technologies.

Smarter Schools for a Smarter Planet

The Smarter Schools project aims to improve regional high school students' understanding of Internet of Things technologies, and their use in real-word applications, along with improved understanding of STEM-related issues (e.g. flood/storm behaviour, water quality) through analysis of data sourced from the Smart Water Management project. High schools within the Illawarra-Shoalhaven region will assist in the construction of sensors that will be used in individual project components or installed to supplement available data streams for individual project components. For example, the engaged high schools will construct additional water level sensors to provide additional data for the flash flood warning system.

Improving Emergency Communications for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities in the Illawarra.

Emergency communication in a predominant language (English in Australia) can be problematic in highly multicultural societies where cultural and linguistic differences often pose significant distortions to the way messages are interpreted. Working in collaboration and partnership with the NSW State Emergency Services (SES) and the Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra (MCCI), this project aims to facilitate tailored messaging and emergency warnings in languages that are best understood by culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities in the Illawarra region. The project will use the functional language theory to explore the diversity of ways in which translated messages can be organised, including the literal and contextualised forms of translations as well as the implications they have for soliciting appropriate actions from community members. The project team will identify several multilingual representatives from the top 7 CALD groups in the Illawarra (i.e., Macedonian, Italian, Mandarin, Arabic, Spanish, Serbian, and Greek) who can be empowered to act as intermediaries or gatekeepers to facilitate message translation and engender culturally appropriate communication between their communities and emergency agencies. These gatekeepers will help activate their community networks, enlisting members that should receive CALD-specific messages during emergencies.

Importantly, CALD communities will identify through surveys and interviews, the most suitable communication channel(s) (e.g., social media, dedicated mobile App, bulk SMS, local radio, etc.) for receiving these translated emergency messages. The project scope is such that the message translation will initially focus on the static messages, which do not change from one event to another (e.g., “Never drive on flooded roads”). In preparation for impending emergency events, these translated messages can be used by SES to drive behavioural change and risk awareness amongst CALD groups, thereby helping to deliver safer and more resilient communities. UOW is proud to have initiated this community engagement project, which will deliver tangible benefits to vulnerable groups in the Illawarra region, further establishing the University as a leading institution in enabling disaster resilience within communities.



  • Dr Robert Ogie
  • Professor Rodney Clarke

Investigating how digital platforms and technologies are enabling Chinese culture and ideas to reach the world 

While China claims to have the world’s oldest continuous civilisation, its economic influence on the global stage far exceeds its cultural cachet (aka soft power), much to the consternation of government officials and millions of patriotic citizens on the mainland. 

Millions of people living outside the mainland of Chinese heritage are equally patriotic, identifying with the much-heralded national ‘rejuvenation’, known as the Chinese Dream.

Over the past decade, the government has assisted Chinese culture to go global. Despite this assistance, global consumption of culture remains dominated by powerful Western transnational companies, by western stories and by Hollywood studios.

The Digital China project investigates how digital platforms and technologies are enabling Chinese culture and ideas to reach the world. It argues that while China's global cultural presence has increased it is yet to be seen as an innovative nation. The project examines how the Chinese government’s internet+ strategy is changing power dynamics among political institutions, commercially motivated digital companies, and online communities. Through investigating internationalisation strategies and consumption of Chinese culture on digital platforms in China, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea, the project contributes to understanding the implications of China's digital ascendency and the lessons for Australia in the post-resources boom era.

This project investigates the emergence of China's digital media companies and examines their influence in China and in the Asia Pacific. It explores how cultures of innovation are evolving in and around the Chinese market and how these are linked to government cultural trade initiatives. The findings will be presented in conferences, publications and policy briefings and these will provide information for digital companies wanting to operate in China. 

Visit the digital China website


Virtual reality as a learning and teaching tool

Virtual reality (VR) as a teaching and learning tool has gained significant interest in the last few years. A range of new technologies have emerged in the market making VR more accessible to the average person and, potentially, schools.

The perceived benefits of VR are learning possibilities afforded by an immersive environment. This has given rise to the question of how to best use these new immersive and rich environments to support learning.

SMART is investigating the students’ learning experience in a headset VR-based learning environment by measuring various dimensions of a technology-mediated approach. SMART has developed a framework which provides a standardised and structured definition of the users’ experience in a virtual reality learning domain and therefore provides a common understanding of the domain to the involved subject matter experts.

SMART in collaboration with Devika conducted a study on 128 students (grade 5-11) in NSW, Australia. For this purpose, the impact of students’ state of mind and virtual reality features on their learning experience and perceived learning was investigated. Additionally, the impact of these constructs on each other was examined to provide insight to design learning environments involving immersive technologies.

The results of this study will better inform science educators, instructional designers, and multimedia developers to optimize 3D virtual reality features for delivering successful content to educate students.

Delivering remote rehabilitation through immersive technology

Psychological problems can be costly to society due to reduced quality of life of the sufferer and absence from work in addition to high healthcare costs. Industries are looking for an effective solution and one technological innovation that is likely to take off is the use of VR in psychotherapy and rehabilitation. This is largely due to the increasing commercial availability and affordability of this technology.

SMART is investigating the capabilities of VR and its effectiveness, to elevate the quality of mental health support delivered to injured workers in remote locations. Identifying a cost-effective VR/AR solution for use in remote situations will be a significant change in many areas of the health industry. People who are suffering from any sort of mental illness or trauma would benefit from having access to on-demand psychological support. This could extend to sufferers of social isolation, depression and many other areas in mental health.

SMART, in collaboration with Coal Services Pty Ltd. and Advantage SME, is investigating the effectiveness of VR as a therapeutic solution for mineworkers. The remoteness of mineworkers can often be an impediment to receiving necessary treatment and rehabilitation after suffering an injury. Barriers to treatment may include cost, the availability of therapists, logistics, stigma etc. Through the use of VR technologies, there may be an opportunity to elevate the quality of support delivered to injured workers. 


UOW is leading the digital revolution in the Illawarra with the creation of the Digital Living Lab.

Together with the SMART Infrastructure Facility, UOW has deployed a radio communication network across the region using LoRaWAN technology with other technologies joining the digital revolution. The sharing of data is a smart city solution, working to improve the quality of life for people in the community, with the network enabling a diverse range of applications from the university, government, commercial and community sectors.

Examples of applications include collecting data on stormwater and landslides, the creation of a digital map of fire hydrants for emergency services, a sensor to record when beer kegs need re-placing and an interactive map for wheelchair users.

In addition, the SMART Infrastructure facility operates the SMART IoT Hub where research and expertise is shared to enable pilot ideas to realise their full potential.

The Digital Living Lab provides the framework for a partnership with the wider region, as well as important opportunities for research.

Through the ideas of Share, Enable and Create, the Digital Living Lab is facilitating a Smart City solution, improving the quality of life for people in our community.

Visit the Digital Living Lab Website



Informing transport and urban planning decisions for Liverpool under the Digital Living Lab.

The Liverpool Smart Pedestrian project is a research collaboration between SMART, Liverpool City Council and Industry partners. The project is part of the SMART Infrastructure Facility’s Digital Living Lab and will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of, and access to a range of state and local government services & facilities by significantly adding value to the new Liverpool Civic Place project at the southern end of Liverpool’s CBD.

Previously, Liverpool City Council did not have data on existing pedestrian movements or behaviour as the baseline to design the future management of movement. This project seeks to take the smart city initiative to a new level of technology by monitoring pedestrian and vehicle movement without any compromise to the privacy of the people of Liverpool.

SMART researchers have developed a solution using machine learning to count people and cars at key locations using IoT technologies with this ground-breaking initiative revolutionising urban design and traffic management for the city. This first of its kind, innovative, smart technology and open data for real time measurement of pedestrian behaviour movements, which will guide smart planning for the pedestrian movements, the active and public transport options and the safety of students, workers and other pedestrians.

Patterns of movements and points of congestion will be identified before they occur and solutions, such as through the design of improved street and footpath layout connectivity, traffic management and guided pathways.

Visit the Digital Living Lab website


In the media


A dynamic regional planning tool

Recognising the need for more integrated approaches to local and regional planning, SMART has developed Vision Illawarra, a web-based regional dashboard created to enable evidence-based planning and integrated development across the Illawarra.

The first of its kind in Australia, Vision Illawarra combines a public dashboard as well as a private subscription modelling platform. The online dashboard is a next-generation model providing a more transparent and dynamic vision of how the social and economic fabric of the Illawarra could look in the future with the modelling platform allowing subscribers to explore scenario based models.

Vision Illawarra stems from a regional initiative which partners data providers (Sydney Water, Endeavour Energy, Remondis), tool developers (SMART, RIKS) and information users (NSW Planning, Local Councils) within a Steering Committee that examines data privacy or security issues, and proposes new regional scenarios to be modelled.

Vision Illawarra is not only an innovative planning tool but also a vehicle to bring together regional resources through mutualisation of relevant expertise, existing data and available funding. 

Vision Illawarra Dashboard

Vision Illawarra’s comprehensive dashboard comprises publicly available data including recent economic, demographic, transport and land use figures, as well as the evolution of utility usage over the last ten years (water, electricity, wastewater and solid waste). This data is regularly updated, allowing for robust benchmarking and spatial analyses.

All Vision Illawarra data is curated using big data techniques by the SMART data scientists. Selected datasets are further visualised on the Vision Illawarra platform through charts, graphs and maps with the aim to give users a platform to provide easy access to regional datasets.

Vision Illawarra Modelling Platform

Through a subscription-only modelling platform, Vision Illawarra provides a state-of-the-art regional growth model developed with the Geonamica Platform (RIKS, Netherlands). Stepping away from traditional trend analysis, this model integrates demographic, economic, land use and transport dynamics as endogenous processes, allowing for more realistic projections. Modelling outputs from various regional scenarios are available in this section.

The Vision Illawarra modelling platform allows planners and policy makers to utilise Vision Illawarra to understand the holistic change that a planning or policy decision will bring to the regional setting. This enables smarter and strategic decisions for the benefit of the region. This information is gathered through five interlinked modules looking at how demographic and economic factors impact and inform land use, regions and transport.






A framework to link transport stakeholders with the delivery process.

SMART Infrastructure Facility is assisting in the development of a framework capable of describing and linking all key transport enterprise stakeholder concerns and involvements in the transportation project delivery process. The initial model is for the Heavy Rail sector, with the ultimate goal being to generalise the model to cover all modes of public transport.

The need for such a model-based systems engineering approach and toolset is becoming increasingly urgent across multiple sectors in order to understand and work with all the interdependencies that exist between the components comprising modern transport systems. Experience has also shown that access to such a model, rather than a document-based system, leads to deeper understanding of the systems and a greater ability to discover errors.

The use of an architecture framework-type model provides a powerful structure for managing the engineering and behavioural aspects of large complex transport systems. At the top level, many stakeholders and their expectations are modelled and presented to them in views specific to each user’s needs so that the interdependencies can be managed in a timely manner.

Importantly, the architecture framework is designed to be readily adaptable to a range of applications within the transport sector, for example in addressing the impact of introducing new technologies in rail operations to human behaviours.

At the lowest level, the hundreds of thousands of standards, design documents and requirements specifications which are required can all be placed in a common database and linked to all the applicable nodes and viewpoints in the model. This provides users with a common underlying information base, and an easy-to-use graphical interface to navigate to the views of the information they need.

Project case study

ACRI Track Worker Safety & Organisational Capability Maturity Model

The SMART Infrastructure Facility is an industry partner with The Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation (ACRI) in two research projects – the Track Worker Safety (TWS) project and the Organisational Capability Maturity Model (OCMM) project.
These initiatives are developing models to ensure the effective and safe introduction of new technologies into the rail industry – at trackside level and throughout the organisations.

They are split into three phases.

  • Phase I: Knowledge gathering and development of framework models
  • Phase II: Detailed modelling, framework population, developing a generic model
  • Phase III: Integration of specific organisational tools and processes into the generic model

Track Worker Safety

The Track Worker Safety model involves building a structured and evidence-based tool to enable rail organisations to effectively identify and respond to the effects of changes to trackside worker competence needs arising from the integration of new technology into existing systems. The tool is being built through the development of a modelling framework.

Organisational Capability Maturity Model 

The Organisational Capability Maturity Model addresses the complex issues which arise when installing new technologies into existing rail operation systems over extended periods of time. Specific issues include competency and training needs, safety assurance and risk mitigation, and cybersecurity.

The model will support understanding and analysis of the effects of the introduction of new technology across all levels of a rail organisation’s operations, in particular, the impacts that these technologies have on human behaviour.

The model can be tailored to specific organisations and will provide insight into the human factor inter-relationships as well as system and operational performance.



Boosting innovation and customer service through social listening

Together with the Faculty of Business and Law, University of Wollongong (UOW), SMART Infrastructure Facility (SMART) is investigating how social listening and engagement can be captured and used to boost innovation and customer service delivery by Hong Kong’s MTR Corporation (MTR).

Utilising SMART’s geosocial intelligence (GSI) capabilities, this project intends to develop a knowledge-sharing platform that captures, organises and offers opportunities to act on information harvested from MTR’s internal community, and public social networks. This knowledge-sharing platform will be delivered in the form of a custom-built suite of applications to suit the corporation’s needs.

A key challenge of this project is to overcome problems associated with employee-led innovation, such as outlier opinions, bias, and bottlenecks. Through developing a crowdsourcing system that uses meta-moderation for quality control, these problems will be resolved, as staff will be given the ability to submit ideas and evaluate those of their peers. This will result in all submissions being assessed by more than one staff member.

In order to garner the reactions and mood of MTR’s customers, the suite of applications will use GSI practices to harness this information and deliver it to MTR staff in real-time. This process will enable staff to better prioritise actions and workload, and review and respond to issues in a more efficient manner.



  • Associate Professor Rodney Clarke
  • Senior Professor Pascal Perez
  • Dr Jun Ma

Related documents

Enhancing Corporate Capability and Service Delivery Through Advanced Geosocial Intelligence flyer

An integrated approach to radiotherapy service planning

Tyranny of distance leads to close to one in six cancer patients in New South Wales not receiving vital radiotherapy treatment. This project aims to develop an integrated approach for radiotherapy service planning that combines future geographical projections of cancer incidence with the placement of new radiotherapy (RT) services designed to maximise patient uptake rates (due to travel distances).

Researchers have developed a predictive software tool that will help health planners decide the best locations to build future radiotherapy treatment units to more effectively deal with the current and growing need for cancer care.

Rather than focus on raw population numbers and historic cancer rates, the data modelling used three criteria to aid general efficiency, service availability and equality. Efficiency requires a base population of about 250,000 people to justify spending on a radiotherapy unit; availability is the number of people living within 50 kilometres or less from an existing treatment centre, and equity/equality ensures people with fewer financial resources still get treatment.

The economic, social and health benefits of this project include ensuring that critical therapies are available to patients for whom it is clinically appropriate regardless of their location. It will increase future uptake of beneficial and cost-effective treatments by patients who are otherwise disadvantaged by their accessibility. The methods, models and tools developed are also applicable to other areas such as transport, logistics and manufacturing.

It is hoped the project will lead to better patient access to RT treatment services and survival and informed decisions about the government investment concerning the placement of new RT treatment services.


  • Dr Rohan Wickramasuriya

Related documents

RailNet: Unlocking freight capacity for rail logistics.

Produced within SMART Infrastructure Facility’s Rail Logistics Laboratory, the Constraint modelling of railway system project involves the development of a simulation freight model, RailNet. This model intends to provide the Port Kembla Port Corporation and collaborating partner organisations with a tool to simulate the NSW rail network serving the port of Port Kembla.

The model identifies new freight paths available in the rail network leading to the port following the inclusion of all passenger trains. Using the tool, opportunities to maximise freight throughput have been discovered, allowing for predetermined and ad-hoc network availability. This process has involved freight paths scheduled to run with minimal dwelling/staging, and synchronised with the operations of Port Kembla Coal Terminal.

As part of the development, it was identified that the model must be able to accommodate dynamic system changes resulting from freight operating parameters, other operators, and RailCorp. Thus it provides the Port Kembla Port Corporation, as well as users of the rail network, the ability to quantify the capacity of the rail network to provide sufficient access to the port, imperative before any commitment of capital expenditures for infrastructure upgrades at the port.

This project typifies the research portfolios of the Rail Logistics Laboratory, including:

  • Society and human dynamics for railway systems (RS)
  • Commercial sustainability and resilience for RS
  • Business life cycle for principle asset
  • Technology and knowledge transfer
  • Policy and evaluation

Funding for this project, Constraint modelling of railway system, has been provided by Port Kembla Port Corporation, Port Kembla Coal Terminal, Pacific National and BlueScope. was in collaboration with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and RailCorp.


Related documents

Understanding the causes of rising transport infrastructure costs in Australia.

SMART Infrastructure Facility (SMART) has conducted a major study to understand the causes of rising transport infrastructure costs in Australia over the past 15 years. Researchers have undertaken a detailed comparison of public road and rail transport infrastructure costs over time, across three jurisdictions (New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria), and by project scale (from small projects of less than $10 million to multi-billion dollar mega-projects).

Researchers identified a range of challenges faced by the three participating jurisdictions in delivering public infrastructure cost-effectively, highlighting unique complexities in road and rail projects and their cost implications.

This project included collecting cost data from transport departments by individual project and cost driver (such as design, planning, construction (materials, labour, etc.), undertaking econometric analysis of trends, and cross-checking that analysis with publicly available data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, and other public data sources.

Over the study period (2000 to 2014), researchers found the main driver of rising costs has been the mining boom. During this time public infrastructure investment competed with private infrastructure for a limited supply of design, engineering and construction services, as well as capital and construction-site labour.

Other significant cost drivers include jurisdictions specifying their own design and technical standards, environmental requirements, and limited competition for ‘Tier 1’ type projects.

This study provides several recommendations designed to address these issues. For instance, large projects should be broken up into smaller projects to generate more competition for the work. Also, jurisdictions should establish review mechanisms for large projects so that projects can be reconsidered and re-prioritised as needed.


  • Project lead: Mr Joe Branigan
  • Dr Fariba Ramezani


An online tool for civic engagement during emergency events. is a research project led by the SMART Infrastructure Facility, in collaboration with the Jakarta Emergency Management Agency (BPBD DKI Jakarta) and Twitter Inc.

The Joint Pilot Study for the project was operationally active from December 2014 to March 2015, and PetaJakarta 2.0 launched in December 2015. During this time, the project enabled Jakarta’s citizens to report the locations of flood events using social media network Twitter, thereby contributing to a publicly-accessible real-time map of flood conditions at This data was used by BPBD DKI Jakarta to cross-validate formal reports of flooding from traditional data sources, supporting the creation of information for flood assessment response, and management in real-time.

Through its integration with BPBD DKI Jakarta’s existing disaster risk management (DRM) information ecosystem, the project has proven the value and utility of social media as a mega-city methodology for crowd-sourcing relevant situational information to aid in decision-making and response coordination during extreme weather events.

For residents of Jakarta, has enabled autonomous users to make independent decisions regarding safety and navigation response to the flood in real-time. This social strategy is underpinned by the open source software CogniCity, a framework for urban data that anyone is free to inspect, download and redesign. This open-source ethos and the transparency it facilitates were critical to the success of the joint Pilot Study.

The project was acknowledged by the US Government when their Federal Register cited SMART’s project as an example of best practice for using crowdsourced information in an emergency situation.

This research project and the partnership with Twitter, has had real impact on the ground in Jakarta, making over 2.2 million Twitter impressions during its Pilot Study alone.



  • Develop an understanding of urban resilience in the context of rapid urbanisation and changing infrastructure demands.
  • Capture the interactions between society and urban infrastructure as a function of resilience to change.
  • Quantify probabilistic risks to urban systems as a result of environmental changes.
  • Understand the response of communities to a range of pressures on civic infrastructure.
  • Employ new data sources (such as crowd-sourced, social media information) to analyse resilience patterns.


TransMob: A micro-simulation model for integrated transport and urban planning

SMART Infrastructure Facility and Transport for NSW have collaborated on developing an interactive, visually intuitive and highly flexible simulation platform to support transport and urban planning in Sydney. In the resulting agent-based model, TransMob, simulation agents represent individuals and households living in an urban area.

The heterogeneity of this synthetic population is represented in terms of demographic characteristics, environmental perceptions (for example, traffic congestion, number of available facilities of various types available per person, availability and affordability of housing stocks) and decision-making behaviours.

Inherently, the simulated population will evolve over time facilitating the interactions between dynamics of residential relocation of households, transportation behaviours, and population growth. The ‘agents’ age, start work, marry, have children, etc., and their changing needs can be identified.

Thanks to this feature, the model can be used for exploring long-term (for example 20 year time horizon) consequences of various transport and land use planning scenarios. Therefore, it can assist in informing key decisions about investment and policy.

The simulation workflow includes an agent-based model (RePAST) and a micro-simulation traffic model (TRANSIMS). In order to view the outputs, a YellowFin based platform is included for the visual interface.

The project was funded by Transport for NSW for three years.



  • Professor Peter Campbell
  • Dr Jun Ma
  • Senior Professor Pascal Perez
  • Dr Jie (Jack) Yang
  • Dr Rohan Wickramasuriya

Related documents

Discovering travel mode decisions of students and staff

SMART Infrastructure Facility (SMART) researchers have developed a hybrid agent-based and micro-simulation model. The model simulates the travel mode choices of commuters (students and staff) to and from the University of Wollongong (UOW) main campus for study and work.

Outputs from the model will provide key insights into the current modal splits and factors affecting the travel mode choice decisions.

In addition, the model also enables investigations of future travel scenarios for the commuters coming to and from UOW.

The project largely utilises information available from the UOW Transport Questionnaire Survey conducted in 2009 and 2011 by the Facilities Management Division (UOW); NSW Road and Maritime Services; and UOW students and staff data.

The UOW transport surveys capture the travel movements undertaken by commuters (staff and students) of the University of Wollongong for their daily activities. Questions in these surveys are designed to (1) measure the transport modal splits, (2) provide insights into attitudes of commuters for changing transport options and (3) report issues with the current transport options.

This model will assist the university in manageing the current and future transport needs at the main campus in Wollongong and can also be applied to satellite campuses as UOW continues to grow nationally and globally.


Shukla, N., Munoz, A., Ma, J. & Huynh, N. Hybrid agent based simulation with adaptive learning of travel mode choices for University commuters (WIP). In Proceedings of the Symposium on Theory of Modeling & Simulation - DEVS Integrative M&S Symposium; Society for Computer Simulation International: United States, 2013; pp 1-6.



An effective tool for economic evaluation and policymaking

Illicit drug use has created an enormous burden at societal, familial and personal levels. Every year, a significant amount of resources are allocated for the treatment and consequences of illicit drug use in Australia and around the world. This project aims to assess the net social benefit of the current treatment strategy for drug uses and to evaluate, through modelled scenarios, different combinations of treatment. This will lead to decisions and policy that are better informed about the mix and type of treatments in which governments invest. Heroin is one of the major forms of illicit drugs and several independent heroin treatment strategies or interventions currently exist. State-of-the-art research demonstrates their efficacy and relative cost-effectiveness. However, assessing total potential gains and burden from providing all treatment interventions or varying the mix of heroin treatments has never been attempted. Furthermore, the need to include multiple treatments, multiple important outcomes and the chaotic nature of drug dependence means cost-effectiveness studies are not able to provide evidence on the net benefit of providing heroin treatments over a lifetime. Evaluations of the current mix of treatment provisions remain very limited. This project develops an individual-level model which addresses net social benefit that can accommodate the complexity of individuals going in and out of multiple treatments and their corresponding costs and benefits arising from different treatments during the life-course of heroin users. This model is intended to serve as an effective tool for economic evaluation and policymaking in illicit drug areas in Australia. This project is funded by NHMRC in collaboration with NDARC, University of New South Wales.


  • Senior Professor Pascal Perez
  • Professor Michael Farnell (University of NSW)
  • Dr Phuong Hoang (University of NSW)
  • Professor Alison Ritter (University of NSW)
  • Dr Jennifer Seddon (University of NSW)
  • Dr Marian Shanahan (University of NSW)

Related documents