Former head of Infrastructure Australia the new chair of the SMART Infrastructure Facility Advisory Council

Infrastructure leader: Former head of Infrastructure Australia Philip Davies is the new chair of the SMART Infrastructure Facility Advisory Council. Picture: Anna Kucera.
Infrastructure leader: Former head of Infrastructure Australia Philip Davies is the new chair of the SMART Infrastructure Facility Advisory Council. Picture: Anna Kucera.

The former head of Infrastructure Australia is the new chairman of the SMART Infrastructure Facility Advisory Council at the University of Wollongong.

Philip Davies has just accepted the role and takes over from Dr Ian Watt who held it for three years.

Mr Davies said the use of big data to measure where existing infrastructure could be more effective is a vital next step for the Australian economy.

“I am most passionate about making sure that we are making best use of the infrastructure that we already have,” he said.

“Over the past 20 years, we have been very good at building new infrastructure, but not so good at making the best use of what we already have.

“I see the role of the SMART Infrastructure Facility as providing and analysing the data to maximise the potential of our infrastructure systems.”

Mr Davies said infrastructure should be seen as much more than simply roads and rail.

“Infrastructure is roads, rail, ports, water, energy, telecommunications, hospitals, schools, universities, prisons, stadia, art galleries and much more,” he said.

“The data systems that SMART is developing can therefore transform the way we live.”

Mr Davies is a Chartered Professional Engineer and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, with over 25 years of global infrastructure experience.

His roles have involved shaping policy, delivering nationally significant infrastructure projects and leading reform.

Before arriving in Australia, he was a Director of Transport for London, where he transformed the effectiveness of that city’s traffic control systems, including reducing the frequency of signal timing reviews from 27 years to three years.

And using real time data to take a proactive and real time approach to transport system management.

Outgoing chair Dr Ian Watt said that SMART was poised to make a greater national and international contribution with its team of researchers.

Dr Watt acknowledged the work of SMART director and senior professor Pascal Perez who since it was founded in 2011 has seen the facility work on a wide range of projects.

They have ranged from mass transits systems in Hong Kong, flood mitigation in Jakarta and a Digital Living Lab that has transformed Wollongong into a smart city.

University of Wollongong vice-chancellor Paul Wellings said the appointment of Mr Davies marked an exciting new chapter for SMART.

“The work being done by the SMART Infrastructure Facility is needed now like it’s never been needed before,” Prof Wellings said.

“We are very fortunate to have someone of the calibre and expertise that Philip Davies offers to steer SMART to the next chapter, and to the next level.”

Some facts about the new SMART Advisory Council chair:

  • Recently retired as chief executive of Infrastructure Australia.
  • A Chartered Professional Engineer and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, with over 25 years of global infrastructure experience.
  • Previous roles have involved shaping policy, delivering nationally significant infrastructure projects and leading reform.
  • Also held board positions in commercial and public life over more than three decades including as deputy chair of the Committee for Sydney and as a board member of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia.
  • During his time leading Infrastructure Australia, Mr Davies provided independent expert advice to all levels of government on infrastructure.
  • Mr Davies has advocated for reforms on key issues including the means of funding, financing, delivering and operating infrastructure and how to better plan and utilise infrastructure networks.
  • As a Director of Transport for London, he heveloped a long term vision for real time traffic management in London, including establishing London’s transport control centres.
  • He was a leader in the development of intelligent transport systems solutions and the use of real time data to inform proactive operational decisions as well as long term investment choices.
  • The developments positioned London for a successful bid for and delivery of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

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