Author: Tim Tompson
Public transport provision is a wicked problem (Rittel & Webber 1973), in which many stakeholders have a vested interest in the way the services are delivered such as councils, transport service providers, local retail destinations, advertising companies, and citizens. Many of whom have quite different views of what a good design outcome is. Transport provision is one of the most complex, politically charged issues for most cities, and increasingly so in many locations, due to physical capacity constraints in developed areas, with already at capacity infrastructure to service the cities growing needs. Digital customer information systems, have been seen as a low cost means to improve customer experience on the transport network, but also as a means to improve the efficiency of the use of the physical infrastructure for example, stations and train carriages, through assisting to manage crowds at peak periods or at times of disrupted service. But how can these digital information systems exist within the highly constrained transport environments, where physical space and citizen attention are a highly sought after resource from all stakeholders involved?
An academic research team along with four partner organisations have been tasked with designing ‘digital customer information technologies’ in transport interchanges in Sydney’s inner city that will both improve efficiency of the physical infrastructure and customer experience. This research project is funded by an Australian government funded grant operating between three Sydney universities and four major stakeholders; the local council – The City of Sydney, consultancies ARUP and Grimshaw Architects, as well as the state public transport planning organisation – Transport for New South Wales. The academic and industry platform has regular workshops and a consistent level of participation and support from all stakeholders. The major challenge of the project must be delivered in a way that ensures the decisions and effort be applied to those ideas that are valuable to all those stakeholders in the project. As such the emphasis on this paper is on the social, stakeholder interaction of the innovation platform, exploring the evolution from a system-oriented perspective, demonstrating the complexities, and competing goals of stakeholders in the creation of digital customer information systems.