Transport for NSW backs tunnel GPS solution

Thursday, 20 August, 2020

Transport for NSW backs tunnel GPS solution

Transport for NSW has made a submission to the ACMA to install and trial retransmission points inside tunnels to simulate GPS satellite signals.

Citing GPS signal problems within tunnels, Transport for NSW Deputy Secretary for Greater Sydney Elizabeth Mildwater said that repeaters are banned in tunnels but the ACMA is considering changing the law to let the technology be used.

“With the delivery of major tunnel projects across Sydney like WestConnex, NorthConnex, M6 Stage 1, Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link, it’s important we act as soon as possible,” she said.

“Standard modern vehicles are equipped with more than 50 sensors, generating data referenced in time and space to a specific location.

“Our innovative trial will investigate the effect of in-tunnel devices on receivers aboard emergency services vehicles, and other devices such as smartphones and GPS units.

“This is an opportunity to further modernise our infrastructure with potential benefits for IT, traffic management and control systems. A collaborative, nationwide approach will transform the future mobility of people and goods and deliver vital safety outcomes.”

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Deputy Commissioner Jeremy Fewtrell said the boost in GPS signals could mean quicker response times should an emergency occur.

“With multiple entry and exit points to our tunnels it can be difficult to find the exact location of an incident. GPS data would mean our crews could instantly pinpoint these locations and reduce our response times,” Fewtrell said.

“Anything that delays our response capability is likely to increase the risk to life and property so this is a huge step in the right direction for us to better protect the NSW community.”

Transport for NSW, the NSW Telco Authority, Fire & Rescue NSW, NSW Ambulance and NSW Police all support the initiative.

Image credit: © beauregard

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