Brisbane is poised to become a much more environmentally sustainable and technologically enabled city in the ramp up to hosting the 2032 Olympic Games. The changes are broadly categorised across civic infrastructure and transportation, and each is summarised below.
The planned improvements include sensor-triggered street lights, automated air conditioning and watering of parks and green facades.
Maroochydore in the Sunshine Coast will be home to a mid-rise precinct powered via a solar farm at nearby Valdora. It’s expected to feature a new garbage system using vacuum pipes to sluice garbage from chutes, instead of current wheelie bins and skips.
Robots for cleaning and construction, satmaps, swipe cards and QR codes. Data technology (presumably IoT sensors) will be embedded in existing and planned Olympic venues including the future athletes’ village at Northshore Hamilton and the international media centres. We expect these centres to avail themselves of the latest iteration of cellular mobile data technology as the world looks beyond 5G.
This is still speculative, but it’s anticipated that we’ll see remotely supervised pilot-less aerial taxis that fly passengers between future “vertiports”. Relatedly, a prototype eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft is in Brisbane and has 12 lift fans on two 15-metre wings and is powered by a battery in the tail. It’s manufactured by Wisk Aero who’s currently seeking approval from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to operate commercially before the 2032 Games.
Smart tunnel boring machines are being used to carve through the tuff (pronounced toof) to create a twin tunnel under Brisbane River and four new underground stations as part of the extension to the Cross River Rail project in Brisbane.
The G:Link (also known as the Brisbane-to-Gold Coast light railway is currently being extended with eight new stations along a 6.7km track from Broadbeach to Burleigh Heads. The service uses theGerman Bombardier Flexity carriages that are bi-directional and have a range of accessibility provisions. They are electric-powered via 750V overhead cables.
Talking about electric public transport, we can’t forget the Brisbane Metro project, which is being tested to potentially supply 60 electric buses (or “trackless trams”) to supplement Brisbane’s existing fleet. These buses would be battery-powered by a combination of 600kW, six-minute, superfast “flash chargers” at end-of-line stations and 50kW, overnight, slow chargers at depots. Flash charging charges quicker but degrades batteries faster, and it remains to be seen how much flash charging will be used to ensure economic usage of batteries.