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By Helen Beringen 9 November 2018 2 min read

Image: Shutterstock

MOVING goods and people across our vast nation takes time and money. The more we know, the more we can improve supply chains and the underpinning infrastructure, ultimately helping Australia’s bottom line.

A Transport Network Strategic Investment Tool (TraNSIT) model developed by Australia’s lead science agency, CSIRO, has been used by governments and industry to support decisions on road and rail investments over the past six years.

Now, the modelling tool, first used for the transport of beef cattle in northern Australia, is to be used to track tourist movements across our vast road network.

The Australian Government announced today (November 8, 2018) that TraNSIT will be expanded to include tourism, to provide a greater understanding of the roads travelled by tourists, from grey nomads and other domestic tourists, to overseas visitors.

CSIRO Project leader Dr Andrew Higgins says applying TraNSIT to tourism data will provide a holistic estimate of the benefits of road upgrades to the tourism sector.

“Overall, outputs from the tool will provide the ability to assess the value of different investment options to tourism,” he says.

“This new project will allow us to expand the tool to capture how investment in infrastructure benefits the tourism industry.”

The six-month $150,000 project is co-funded by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science through the Office of Northern Australia and the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, in partnership with AUSTRADE. The project will involve analysing data from the tourism sector and building technical capability around understanding the routes tourists will take.

The project will apply TraNSIT to case studies in northern Australia, where a case study could be: a region, a road corridor connecting multiple tourist destinations, or Roads of Strategic Importance, which are due to receive an additional investment of over $3.5 billion over the next 10 years.

TraNSIT was first developed in 2012-13, when federal and state governments commissioned CSIRO to model northern Australia’s livestock supply chain to identify bottlenecks. Since then, TraNSIT has been applied to supply chains across the country. These include agriculture and forestry supply chains, and more recently to fuels and mining. It is also supporting infrastructure planning around inland rail.

Dr Higgins says TraNSIT now covers 98 per cent of all agricultural supply chains nationally plus forestry and fuels, involving around 250,000 enterprises and almost 500,000 supply chain paths – not just for delivering product from farm to market, but to and from storage and processing facilities.

Shire councils in northern NSW and southern Queensland use it to estimate transport cost savings from improving or constructing new rail-enabled storage and handling facilities.

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