Transport – Capability Statement

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Develop low cost, reliable, resilient and efficient transport systems that respond to Australia’s changing urban, regional and remote communities and meet the needs of business.


Key facts for the Transport Priority

  • It is estimated that approximately $110 million of the $2.65 billion supporting national priorities is allocated directly to the Transport Priority area.*
  • In terms of citation impact, an indicator of research quality, Australian research on this Priority ranks:
    • 2nd out of 11 when compared against selected Asia Pacific countries **
    • 3rd out of 15 when compared to selected European countries, Canada, New Zealand and USA.***
  • 54 per cent of Australian publications are produced with an international co-author.

*  Data on two key initiatives – university research block grants and the R&D taxincentive – are not collected in a way that supports analysis against priorities.
** Selected Asia Pacific countries: China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.
*** Selected European countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

Current research strengths

Australia’s transport research quality is recognised worldwide across a range of disciplines, with good visibility of research outputs internationally. Australia’s existing research strengths include:

  • solar and battery research
  • optimisation  modelling
  • commercial autonomous freight transport.


Practical challenges

  • Low emission fuels and technologies for domestic and global markets.
  • Improved logistics, modelling and regulation: urban design, autonomous vehicles, electrifi   transport, sensor technologies, real time data and spatial analysis.
  • Effective pricing, operation, and resource allocation.


Action within this Priority will lead to opportunities to improve Australia’s fuel security and make transport more efficient, cleaner and safer. Weaknesses in the current research capacity could be overcome by better coordinating all existing transport research organisations through a prioritisation process that incorporates interdisciplinary research and a long term view of research needs. These actions have the following ends:

  • critically examining the scale and sustainability of Australia’s transport research
  • encouraging collaborative industry-research projects and stabilising multi-year funding profiles
  • responding to Australia’s unique transport infrastructure challenges
  • transparency and demonstrating value of transport resource allocations.

International Citation Comparison, 2010 to 2014


For this Priority, each circle represents one of the comparator countries, grouped into region by colour: circle size represents number of publications, while circle placement indicates the country’s weighted citations relative to Australia. Data are from Thomson Reuters InCites, with the Priority identified by a keyword search.

Australian Government Expenditure on Science and Research Priorities


The Australian Government invests $9.7 billion in science, research and innovation. Approximately $2.65 billion of this investment can be attributed to research aligned to the nine Science and Research priorities. Data on university block grants and the R&D tax incentive – two key initiatives that have critical roles in supporting strategic, mission-directed research - are not collected in a way that supports analysis against the priorities.

Sources: 2015-16 Science, Research and Innovation Budget Tables; Research Strategies Australia, Science and Research Priorities and Practical Challenges, May 2015.

Australia’s Science and Research Priorities

Australia’s Science and Research Priorities identify areas that are of immediate and critical importance to the nation and its place in the world. They help align our research to industry and will make sure that we capitalise on our comparative advantages and address challenges.

The Australian Government will use the Priorities to guide a proportion of its research investment to areas of critical need and national importance. This capability snapshot is a vital step to make sure that we get this strategic investment right – it is about understanding what we spend now, what we are good at and where we need to improve.

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