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CIO50 2021 #5: Roger Jones, Auckland Transport

  • Name Roger Jones
  • Title Executive General Manager Business Technology
  • Company Auckland Transport
  • Commenced role November 2010
  • Reporting Line CEO
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Technology Function 220 staff, six direct reports
  • Auckland Transport executive general manager business technology Roger Jones says technology is now “embedded in the organisation”. He ensures that all physical infrastructure projects allow 10% of their budget for the IT component, and all projects across the company are encouraged to engage with the technology team early.

    In the past year, the technology team delivered four major programmes of note – the introduction of the ServiceNow platform, CCTV analytics, capacity of passenger transport vehicles during COVID-19 and artificial intelligence to assist bus drivers.

    Automating workflows using ServiceNow

    ServiceNow was introduced to provide an automated workflow forms system that, at a high level, provides the following functionality. 

    ·      Requests for service from all staff for IT-related matters, including new software, fixing problems, reporting faults.

    ·      Replacing all the paper-based forms for management of our facilities, including faults, problems, move requests, and building access requests.

    ·      The platform for Pa Mai, the HR portal for all our staff wanting any staffing issues resolved, the place to go for all staffing information.

    This platform has replaced hundreds of paper-based forms and associated manual workflows with a fully online electronic experience with automated workflows and approval processes.  This has contributed to the cultural journey the company is undertaking which focusses on enabling its people and making their workplace an exciting and efficient place to work.

    CCTV analytics

    Jones says the development and introduction of this world-first technology enables the ability to identify multiple people in a vehicle, with 99% accuracy. Using CCTV and some other technology AT is now able to see inside all glass types of vehicles and thus can determine how many people are in a vehicle; this is used for T2 and T3 lane enforcement. 

    This technology impacts all citizens of Auckland as it promotes better utilisation of the transport network which leads to reduction of greenhouse gasses. It also improves the safety of our staff who used to stand on the street to observe this and were often abused and had objects thrown at them. They can now do this work from an office, observing the cameras.

    Determining vehicle capacity

    The development and implementation of a system to assess capacity of passenger transport vehicles during COVID-19. Jones says this initiative enables customers on their mobile, and all Passenger Information Displays to see how much room is on a bus or train, in real-time.  This catered for the various COVID-19 levels and automatically adjusted capacity available to each level the government set.

    AI to assist bus drivers

    Development has begun on using artificial intelligence to assist bus drivers on deciding whether to depart or hold the start of the journey (depending on when the connecting bus is due).  This enables in real time a decision to be made that is conveyed to the connecting bus driver to wait or go in the event the connecting service is running late. A number of factors including time, number of connecting passengers (determined by historical data) and estimated downstream patronage numbers and demographics (child or adults) is used to determine this feature. The bus driver is alerted via a screen at the bus stop. This is in use at several bus interchanges and a ferry-to-bus interchange and will be implemented more widely.

    Working with other agencies

    AT works cross-organisationally with NZTA (Waka Kotahi), meeting regularly with both the CIO and executives on ways of working, and which projects we can work on together, as AT delivers some of the functionality for them.

    Another emerging example of leadership outside the organisation is the increasing interaction and lobbying with central government agencies, MPs, and State Owned Enterprises around how the impact of 5G on transportation and how specific 5G spectrum allocation for transport will have a profound effect on not only the future of transportation in Auckland, but across New Zealand.

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