The well-known fatal crash involving a self-driving Tesla car and a lorry suggests a completely driverless future is some time away, but nonetheless regulators and businesses need to start preparing for it. Hence it is great to see driverless cars are on the agenda for the upcoming Queensland Infrastructure Summit, which is being organised by the Infrastructure Association of Queensland (IAQ) and is being held on the 15th of September at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The Summit features an impressive list of speakers including leading demographer Bernard Salt from KPMG, the head of Queensland’s Infrastructure Department Frankie Carroll, two Deputy Under-Treasurers from Queensland Treasury, and Damian Gould of Advisian, among others.
Other topics for discussion at the Summit include one of my favourite urban policy measures: congestion charging. As the cost of building new roads, bridges and tunnels grows ever larger, it is imperative that we consider transport demand management options such as congestion charging, which I have previously posted on:
Based on the current Summit agenda, CEDA Chief Economist Nathan Taylor looks set to give an interesting presentation on congestion charging titled From Adam Smith to Now:
“Despite the importance of roads as a business input and as an amenity for urban centres, they are among the least reformed of all infrastructure sectors. The funding and delivery institutional arrangements have been unchanged for decades. A lack of road pricing results in inefficient investment, poor incentives for consumers and distorts usage choices. This presentation will discuss congestion pricing from Adam Smith’s time to the present, and explain why it has never been more likely nor more critical than now.”
Alas, the Summit registration fee is nearly $1,500 (excluding GST) for non-members. Local Government officials are being charged a much lower rate, so I expect a high proportion of attendees will be from Councils. I hope IAQ will eventually make the presentations publicly available, because I am sure they will be of interest to many and will be highly policy-relevant.
A good question for economists to ask themselves: What would Adam Smith recommend in this situation?