President’s Address – 2021

Anita Rai PresidentFor those who do not know me, my name is Anita Rai and I have been nominated as President of the Young Transport Professionals (YTP) for the financial year 2020/2021 (FY20/21).

I’ve been involved with YTP for almost 2 years now, first as a member in 2018 and then joining the Committee last year as Communications Coordinator.

My post-university career started when I moved to Melbourne and began a job in an industry, I had no prior experience in. As many young electrical engineers, I wanted to work in renewables and save the world! However, I soon came to learn about the vibrancy of the world of transport and saw how working in this industry could fulfil my desire for a positive social and environmental impact in my career. Attending industry events that introduced me to new topics and people was instrumental in this process, especially YTP’s. Being an entity that aims to include and illuminate all facets of transport and its people, YTP covers everything from rail to road to aviation and from engineering to law to communications.

Anyone working in transport (and especially rail, like me!) knows how small the industry can feel – everyone knows everyone! Being out on site or attending a customer meeting will often involve running into someone you’ve worked with before or met at some event, and you start to notice and appreciate this tightknit community. YTP has been an excellent facilitator in growing my network and solidifying connections made, no matter what the tone of the event.

I would be remiss if I continued much further without addressing the elephant in the room that has affected each and every one of us: COVID-19.

Focussing on the transport industry: while Australia (and many other parts of the world) was locked down, reduction in traffic allowed infrastructure projects to take place uninterrupted, with governments
acknowledging the importance of investing in this area to stimulate economic recovery and create jobs.

However, this new way of living has also shaken up the industry and heightened the conversation around decentralising our cities, raising the argument between the importance of increasing mobility and increasing accessibility. Many people have also taken to utilising forms of active transport over public transport for physical and mental health reasons.

These developments in transport and in life have of course been reflected in YTP. Members know us for our events: our quarterly forums, our site visits and, of course, our social events, such as the annual Barefoot Bowls and End of Year Celebrations. This year, we have had to fully transition to connecting our members virtually and I commend last year’s Committee for their efforts in laying the groundwork for us to continue upon. To date, YTP has successfully hosted virtual trivia, a panel discussion on the Evolution of the Level Crossing Removal Project in Victoria and virtual coffee catch-ups. We’re aiming to keep up the virtual social events and have some exciting technical forums in the pipeline. We are also working hard on revamping our website to increase our online presence and will be putting out a quarterly newsletter, of which this is the first!

While it has been a challenge adapting to an online presence, this has enabled YTP to extend our reach outside Narrm (Melbourne) and start connecting with professionals and organisations not only interstate but internationally. Our Communications Coordinator, Michael Greenwood, is based up in Meanjin (Brisbane), joining the most diverse Committee since YTP’s inception more than 6 years ago. We now boast Committee members from 6 different companies from varying professional backgrounds (not just engineering!), all committed to connecting the next generation of transport leaders.

None of this could have been achieved without the support of our industry partners: Metro Trains Melbourne, the Aurecon Jacobs Mott MacDonald Joint Venture and the Victorian Department of Transport. Their generosity has been integral this year, allowing us to access platforms that have enabled us to move to an online-only presence during lockdown. With the cooperation of these three great organisations, I am looking forward to growing YTP even further over the following year. I can’t wait to see what we come up with and hope to see you along the way!

Events Recap

from Events Coordinators Caroline Lieu and Edward Wright

The 2020-21 financial year started off with some great professional and networking events. We are both new to the role and have enjoyed organising a variety of new and different events for our members. Despite limitations brought on by social distancing and the lockdowns, we have endured, and it has been a pleasure organising these different events for our members and exploring new ways to engage with the industry.

LXRP Forum

The Level Crossing Removal Project (LXRP) forum on the evolution of the project was an interesting and informative session organised by the previous committee. The panel discussion was very engaging and covered a vast array of different fields. It was great to see that the panellists were willing to give their honest opinions of the project and what they thought contributed to the success of the project.

Virtual Coffee Catch-ups

The coffee catch-ups have been one of the new initiatives we have rolled out in light of social distancing and the lack of in-person events. It has been a great way for fellow members to catch-up with one another while also meeting new members and extending their network. We have enjoyed putting on these events with our members and facilitating discussion as it has allowed us, the Committee, to continue to connect with members and listen to their needs.

It has also been a great way for us to connect with our interstate members and allows us to branch out to other parts of Australia outside Metropolitan Melbourne. We will be looking to continue this program not only as part of our events during the Covid-19 pandemic but potentially afterwards as well. We believe this is a useful tool for us to connect with our peers as we transition to a new way of work across the industry and move away from more in-person events.

YTP-GYCRS Collaborative Event

This was one of YTP’s first collaborative event with another similar organisation – Global Youth Coalition for Road Safety. The evening focused on road safety and what young people and the community can do to ensure the roads remain safe. This was the first time YTP utilised Microsoft Teams to deliver a digital event. There was a lot of work behind the scenes to ensure the event ran smoothly but in the end the event was successful and there was plenty of discussion not only from our panellists but from the audience as well.

More events are still to come with GYCRS and we look forward to working with them in the future. This kind of event has allowed us to think of new and innovative ways to deliver events to our members despite the unusual circumstances.

Ask Me Anything (AMA) with Amy Lezala, Engineering Manager for Metro Trains Melbourne

The first guest to feature on the Young Transport Professional’s Ask Me Anything (AMA) segment is Amy Lezala, Engineers Australia’s 2020 Young Professional Engineer of the Year Victoria and Engineering Manager for Metro Trains Melbourne, a valued industry partner.

Amy is a highly established individual with a strong passion in promoting sustainability. This is not only reflected in her work at Metro Trains, but also in external activities like Y-LAB. This AMA will delve into the burning questions young aspiring engineers wish to ask, revolving around sustainability, career development, and more.

Amy was interviewed by Jun Tang, Membership Engagement Coordinator for YTP.

Industry News – The 2020-21 Federal Budget included a large focus on infrastructure

The Treasurer delivered the Federal Budget on 6 October 2020 and among some of the highlights found in the plan is a sizable portion earmarked for infrastructure and transportation across the country.
The 2020-21 budget delivered significant infrastructure spending across all states and territories in relation to major transport infrastructure (road and rail).

The Federal Government has made a commitment to invest an additional $14 billion in new and accelerated infrastructure projects over the next four years. These projects will support a further 40,000 jobs during their construction.
This investment is part of the Government’s record 10-year transport infrastructure investment pipeline, which has been expanded to $110 billion and is already supporting 100,000 jobs on worksites across the country.
A detailed breakdown can be found on the Federal Government website by clicking below.

Learn more about the 2020/21 Federal Budget

YTP Newsletter – Q1 2021

We are very pleased to bring you the inaugural newsletter from the Young Transport Professionals Committee! This will be a space for us to share news and updates with our wider membership, and provide valuable industry insights catered to young professionals.

Going forward, we are planning to send out a newsletter every quarter, and will include regular features such as the President’s Address, Events Recap, and articles written by the Committee.

We also want to continue our mission of “connecting the next generation of transport leaders”, so if you have any suggestions for articles or would like to submit a piece of your own please get in touch.

We hope you enjoy our first newsletter!

Continue reading “YTP Newsletter – Q1 2021”

Get to know the YTP Committee – James & Andrew

This quarter, get to know a little more about YTP Secretary, James Aloi (JA), and YTP Membership Coordinator, Andrew Chan (AC). James currently works as a Traffic Engineer at Cardno while Andrew is a Development Engineer at Siemens Mobility.

Left - James Aloi, Right - Andrew Chan
Left – James Aloi, Right – Andrew Chan

QHow many years have you been in the transport industry?
JA: Two and a half years.
AC: 4 years.

QWhat do are some of your responsibilities as part of the YTP Committee? 
JA: As Secretary, I organise and take notes during meetings, create agendas and circulate minutes. As well, I allocate tasks to the Committee, keep track of the group’s file system and organise the yearly calendar.
AC: As Membership Coordinator, I work with the team in managing our membership database and work on improving the retention and growth of our membership base.

QHow did you enter the transport industry? 
JA: I first started working in the transport industry as a voluntary intern for the City of Whittlesea in their Traffic & Transport team back in April of 2018. From there, I then took a 12-week internship in the Highways Team at Arup
AC: I started my journey in transport when I started my cadetship with Transport for NSW in my penultimate year of university. I dived even deeper into the industry when I made the decision to write my thesis on track circuit monitoring, which eventually led to my move to Melbourne to join the PLM team at Siemens Mobility.

QWhat is your favorite thing about working in transport?
JA: At Cardno, I work on a really wide range of projects, ranging from single dwelling developments, 400+ dwelling developments, retail, commercial, industrial, intersection modelling, transport planning and so on. In just over a year at Cardno, I have been involved with 70+ different projects, meaning that I’m kept on my toes quite a bit, and hardly ever get bored. Every single job is different!
AC: Technology! In particular, the rail industry is known for the criticality in ensuring that the systems behind its operation are secure and safe. There are many exciting technologies that have yet to be implemented to further drive value to transport operators and user alike.

QWhat innovations are you looking forward to in the transport industry?
JA: Personally, I’m looking forward to getting more involved in the analysis and planning of sustainable and active transport. Already there is a major shift towards reducing the amount of car parking provided within developments, but this needs to be completed in tandem with large scale, high quality and interconnected active and sustainable transport networks.
AC: We have seen the importance of data in understanding the world around us (particularly with COVID). As we learn to better capture and understand this data, I expect a shift in the way that we access and use transport. ‘Smart’ sensors on ‘smart’ infrastructure that is developed by ‘smart’ people to enable ‘smart’ cities. Watch this space.