Professor Travis Waller
Prof. S. Travis Waller, Executive Director of the Research Centre for Integrated Transport Innovation
What types of industry projects do you typically work on?
We have formed partnerships with companies in industry, government agencies and non-profits. Our largest sponsor has been Transport for NSW and we have developed a series of analytical tools to help them predict travel time in real-time. Our plan is for our tools to help them anticipate and deal with disruptions and make realtime decisions, like when to change the lanes on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. We’re also developing tools so they can better manage special events or unexpected disruptions.
At the beginning, we spent a lot of time going out into industry to build our profile and form new relationships, but more recently people have been coming in to chat with us. That’s part of the importance of having a Centre. As you begin doing things out in the real world then people start to realise you have the capability and then…success begets success.
That’s part of the importance of having a Centre. As you begin doing things out in the real world then people start to realise you have the capability and then…success begets success
What are the benefits of connecting academia with industry?
The chief benefit for industry partners is that they get the best, most cutting-edge solution to their problem that will enable them to conduct their business and operations in a more efficient, or potentially, in a greatly transformed way.
What would you say to a potential industry partner who is considering connecting with the School?
What I would say is…We have a passion for solving your problems. We’re not great at marketing, that’s not what we do. We’re not extroverts by our nature and we like to spend a lot of time thinking and building practical solutions. However, although we can be a bit introverted, we’ve chosen our profession because of our sincere drive to make a difference in the world and if you engage with us we’ll apply that passion to solving your problems. I’m of the opinion that engineering research is only engineering research if it makes an impact out in the world. If it doesn’t, then it’s not engineering research. We need to be solving a problem, we need to be tackling some issue. Otherwise what are we really doing it for?