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First AV trial in Victoria

Key industry partners launch the first use case trial for autonomous vehicles in Australia

A consortium including leading commercial partners and technical experts such as HMI Technologies, La Trobe University, RACV (Royal Automobile Club of Victoria), ARRB (Australian Road Research Group) and Keolis Downer will conduct a trial of autonomous vehicles in Victoria to explore the use of driverless shuttles in the context of a university’s student mobility requirements.

This is the first time such a project has been launched as a proof of concept to address first and last mile connectivity requirements.

The project, which has been partly funded through a $375,000 Victorian Government Smarter Journeys Programme grant, will start in August 2017 and last for one year.

The project aims to explore, through a model deployment in real operating conditions, the use of autonomous vehicles to create a re-usable commercial framework to support development of the requisite regulation and/or legislation.

HMI Technologies is supplying a French built Navya 15-person shuttle for the duration of this trial. This vehicle is fully autonomous (level 4), has no steering wheel and is electrically powered.

CEO of HMI Technologies Pty Ltd Australia, Dean Zabrieszach, comments: “autonomous vehicles are coming, whether we are ready or not, so we are taking this initiative to ensure we understand the implications for the community and Governments. Many people believe we are years away from seeing these vehicles on our roads, but we disagree. Increasing levels of automated technology are being delivered, now so it’s important we understand what is required for autonomous vehicles to operate safely here.”

RACV General Manager Public Policy, Brian Negus said that: “it is important that we assess the benefits and risks of this new technology and that we share this knowledge with transport authorities and the community, so that regulations can be considered for the State from first-hand experience. Having the vehicle available to us, will allow partners to evaluate the community’s reaction to this technology and to assess the ways in which autonomous vehicles broaden our transport options”.
La Trobe University’s Melbourne Campus will be used to test the vehicle, first with a limited proof of concept test (away from other traffic) and then in a real operating environment on the campus. The vehicle will be using GPS coordinates and state of the art sensor technology for detecting people or obstacles on its path.
“The University is already on its way towards creating smart campuses that make it easier for students to use technology and enhance their education experience,” said La Trobe University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Keith Nugent. “Our Centre for Technology Infusion will be coordinating the shuttle trials and have long been involved in developing technology that links businesses, enhances mobility and shapes smart cities of the future.”
Keolis Downer Head of Growth, Innovation and Partnerships, Jonathan Myers said: “As Australia’s largest private multimodal transport operator we are excited to contribute to developing smarter mobility solutions that will benefit communities. Autonomous vehicles are becoming an important part of the multimodal journey, and can help improve the passenger experience by providing an efficient solution for door to door journeys.”

Media contacts:

HMI – Dean Zabrieszach – 0409 144 647, 03 9077 9005 dean.zabrieszach@hmitechnologies.com.au

RACV – Bridget Moylan – 0468 325 420, 03 9790 2717    bridget_moylan@racv.com.au

La Trobe University – Dylan May – 0407 125 909, 03 9479 5353 d.may@latrobe.edu.au

Keolis Downer – Segolene Deeley 0421 929 334 / Media line: 0410 473 719 Segolene.deeley@keolisdowner.com.au

About HMI:
HMI Technologies Pty Ltd is an Australian, headquartered in Melbourne, and New Zealand based company providing end to end Intelligent Transport Technologies and Systems solutions. HMI is pursuing the development of Autonomous Vehicles as a key initiative across Australasia. With its core business in the development and manufacturing of electronic road signage expanding across Australia, HMI is now looking to position itself “at the forefront of the transport technology revolution”, a revolution which will feature fully autonomous vehicles as part of our everyday life.

About RACV:
RACV is the prime Victorian provider of a wide range of member services relating to motoring, including emergency roadside assistance and insurance, and also home services, travel and accommodation, resorts and lifestyle, loyalty programs, and is the prime transport advocate in Victoria for improvements in road safety, road and public transport projects and services, and road user behaviour, vehicle safety and technology initiatives, transport mobility options, and sustainable transport.

About La Trobe University:
La Trobe University is an Australian, multi-campus, public research university with its flagship campus located in the Melbourne suburb of Bundoora. The University opened its doors in 1967 and has developed a distinctive ethos which joined ‘social engagement’ to the pursuit of academic excellence. Today, La Trobe University has grown to accommodate more than 30,000 students including more than 8,000 international students from over 90 countries.
La Trobe is globally recognised for its research strengths and The Centre for Technology Infusion (CTI) is an award winning Research and Innovation Centre which focuses on delivering technology based solutions in socially relevant application areas such as Logistics and Supply Chain, Smart Energy/Smart Grid Systems, Transportation Safety and Mobility, and Agriculture and Animal Husbandry.

About Keolis Downer:
Keolis Downer is Australia’s largest private multimodal transport operator. With 4,000 employees and a presence in 5 States, Keolis Downer provides 235 million passenger journeys per year. We operate the largest tram network in the world in Melbourne (Yarra Trams), the Gold Coast light rail (G:link) and bus services in Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland.
Keolis Downer is a joint venture between Keolis, a leading public transport operator established in 16 countries, and Downer key provider of engineering solutions to the infrastructure and resources sector.


Keolis Downer today welcomed the NSW Government’s announcement that it had been awarded a 10 year contract with Transport for NSW to operate a new, integrated public transport system for the city of Newcastle.

Newcastle Transport will integrate network planning with the local operation and maintenance of the city’s buses, ferries, future light rail and interchanges.

The Chief Executive Officer of Keolis Downer, Campbell Mason, said an integrated transport solution across Newcastle will deliver better services for customers and will play an important role in the revitalisation of the city.

“A better public transport system benefits everyone. It will allow locals and visitors to get around more easily, connect people to local businesses, take cars off the road, create jobs and make Newcastle an even greater place to live and work.

“Newcastle is undergoing a major transformation. The investment in light rail will breathe new life into the CBD and a more reliable and efficient public transport system will create a network that is attractive to new users.

“We have been working closely with the Newcastle community for some time, and we will continue to do so as we design a network that locals want.

“All operational staff will be offered continuation of employment with our newly formed company, Keolis Downer Hunter Pty Ltd, on current terms and conditions. We are very much looking forward to working with the team to deliver a world class service in Newcastle.

“It’s important that we get this right because the decisions we make now will drive the success of local businesses, tourism and the character of the city,” Mr Mason said.

Keolis Downer offers a New Way for the people of Newcastle to travel. The New Way will be delivered by a locally based team and provide customers with an intuitive choice of services that give people more opportunity to live and travel the way they want.

Keolis Downer is Australia’s largest private provider of multi-modal public transport services, providing over 210 million passenger trips each year. It is the largest light rail operator in Australia, operating and maintaining Yarra Trams in Melbourne and G: Link on the Gold Coast. Keolis Downer is also one of Australia’s most significant bus operators with operations in Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland.

Our operations combine world leading expertise and deep local knowledge combining the experience of world leading public transport operator Keolis and one of Australia and New Zealand’s leading engineering and infrastructure management firms, Downer.

Today’s announcement builds on Downer’s proud history in the Hunter. Over four decades, Downer has been one of the region’s largest employers with over 2,000 staff in various sites including Cardiff, Kooragang Island, Port Waratah, Hexham, Teralba and Mt Thorley.

Download Press Release PDF

G:Link Stage 2 confirmed for 2018 and Commonwealth Games

The Queensland Government today reached financial close with GoldlinQ for Stage 2 of the Gold Coast light rail which will extend from Gold Coast University Hospital station to the heavy rail network at Helensvale station. The GoldlinQ consortium consists of Keolis SA, Plenary Group, Marubeni Corp, Palisade and Aveng Australia.
Keolis Downer, a joint venture between Keolis and Downer Group, will operate and maintain the new network. Keolis Downer currently operate Stage 1 of G:link, as well as Yarra Trams in Melbourne and buses in three states.
The delivery of Stage 2 of G:link is planned for completion ahead of the Commonwealth Games in April 2018.
Keolis Downer’s Group CEO, Benedicte Colin, said the commitment was a testament to the success of Stage 1, which serves more than 22,000 people each day and has been a catalyst for urban renewal.
“G:link has been instrumental in delivering a step change in public transport use on the Gold Coast. Use of public transport across both light rail and bus has increased by more than 25 per cent since operations started,” said Mrs Colin.
“Stage 2 provides the missing link between the Gold Coast University Hospital and the QR rail network. The delivery of the extension will further integrate public transport on the Gold Coast and provide a vital link to Brisbane and beyond.
“Keolis Group is the world’s largest operator of light rail, with 17 networks on three continents. Across the globe, we have seen community support grow rapidly for new light rail networks, with extension and expansion often following the commencement of operations on Stage 1.
“Well-planned investment in new light rail networks is a key catalyst for urban renewal and has played a role in more than $6 billion of new investment in Broadbeach alone, with the Stage 1 corridor from Broadbeach to Southport realising the benefits,” said Mrs Colin.

Key Facts

  • G:link Stage 1 is 13km and commenced operations in July 2014. In the first year of operations, G:link served more than 6.5 million passengers.
  • Stage 2 includes a 7.3 km route and three stations (Parkwood, Parkwood East and Helensvale) linking QR’s Helensvale Station with G:link’s University Hospital Station.
  • Stage 2 also includes a new 1000 car space park ‘n’ ride facility at Parkwood station and an additional 400 space park ‘n’ ride at Helensvale station.
  • Stage 2 will be designed and constructed by CPB Contractors.
  • Stage 2 is jointly funded by three levels of government, with contributions from the Queensland Government, Australian Government and City of Gold Coast.

Download a PDF of the media release here
Media contact: Peter Colacino, Director of Corporate Affairs, 0402 296 544, or peter.colacino@keolisdowner.com.au

Keolis Downer enters Australian bus market, becomes Australia’s largest privately-owned multi-model public transport provider

Australia’s largest light rail operator, Keolis Downer, today announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire one of Australia’s biggest bus operators, Australian Transit Enterprises (ATE).

The agreement was signed by the shareholders of ATE and Keolis Downer on 10 March 2015. The transaction is expected to complete early April subject to customary approvals.

Australian Transit Enterprises (ATE) is one of Australia’s leading bus operators with established operations in South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland. Founded in 1974, as a family business, ATE has grown to over 1 600 employees and 930 buses. ATE operates 91 long-term regular route services and has revenue of around $190 million in FY2014.

As Australia’s largest operator of light rail, Keolis Downer operates and maintains Yarra Trams, Melbourne’s tram network, and G:Link, the Gold Coast light rail. Through these contracts Keolis Downer provides transport services to more than 190 million people per year.

“The acquisition of ATE by Keolis Downer creates Australia’s largest privately-owned, multi-modal public transport operator. Keolis Downer has a solid foundation with a strong capacity for growth and deep experience across transport modes,” said Keolis Downer CEO, Benedicte Colin.

“The acquisition of ATE provides for our entry into the Australian bus market, building on Keolis Group’s existing operations in 15 countries and including more than 24,000 buses.

“ATE’s management team share Keolis Downer’s commitment to providing world-class passenger experience. The commitment of the ATE business to providing safe, customer-focused journeys will continue.

“Keolis Downer’s international experience and credentials, combined with the local knowledge and experience of the ATE team provides a sustainable platform for further growth.”

ATE Managing Director Jonathan Cook said “This is an exciting opportunity for one of Australia’s leading public transport businesses to join with a global industry leader in order to build depth and capacity within the business and learn from world-class best practice.”

“This new phase of the business will allow for continued growth in established and new markets. The transition to new ownership includes a commitment to stable operations building on past success of a proven team.”

Keolis Downer is committed to the Australian and New Zealand transport sector including light rail, bus and heavy rail. Keolis Downer continues to consider new projects as well as acquisition opportunities.


Keolis Downer

  • Keolis Downer is Australia’s largest light rail operator.
  • Fleet of over 500 light rail vehicles.
  • More than 2000 staff in Melbourne, Gold Coast and Sydney.
  • 190 million passengers per annum.

Keolis Downer is Australia’s largest light rail operator and one of Australia-New Zealand’s largest public transport providers. Keolis Downer is a joint venture between Keolis, one of the world’s leading public transport providers, and Downer, a leader in engineering and infrastructure management in Australia and New Zealand.

Keolis Downer was established in 2009 in order to bid the Yarra Trams franchise in Melbourne.

Keolis Downer’s established operations include the operations and maintenance of the world’s largest light rail network, Yarra Trams in Melbourne, as well as one of the world’s newest, G:Link on Australia’s Gold Coast.


Australian Transit Enterprises

  • Australian Transit Enterprises (ATE) is Australia’s fifth largest bus operator.
  • Fleet of 932 buses (266 company-owned) operating on 91 long-term regular routes.
  • Around 1600 employees.
  • 21 locations in 3 states (South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland).
  • Contracts extending to 2022 and beyond.
  • Revenue of around $190 million in FY2014.


Australian Transit Enterprises (ATE) is one of Australia’s largest bus operators and is based in Brisbane. Formed in 1974 when the Mountjoy and Cook families combined two bus businesses in the Brisbane area, ATE has grown to become Australia’s fifth largest bus operator. Current operations include 21 locations in South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland. ATE consists of four business divisions:

  • Path Transit providing route and school bus services in the north eastern and eastern suburbs of Perth as well as other regional areas of Western Australia.
  • Southlink providing route and school bus services in metropolitan Adelaide.
  • LinkSA providing route, school, special bus and dial-a-ride services in regional South Australia (within 100km of Adelaide).
  • Hornibrook providing route and school bus services in the northern suburbs of Brisbane.



Keolis is a worldwide public passenger transport operator, with experience in bus, light rail, heavy rail and metro operations. The Group develops tailor-made mobility solutions to suit individual local requirements. Keolis, a market leader in France, is present in 15 countries throughout the world (Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Luxembourg, Norway, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, United Kingdom, and USA). Keolis generated revenue of 5.6 billion euros (AUD 7.8 billion) in 2014 and employs 60,000 people.



Downer EDI Limited (Downer) provides services to customers in market sectors including Mining, Rail, Transport, Utilities, Telecommunications and Engineering, Construction & Maintenance. Downer employs approximately 20,000 people primarily in Australia and New Zealand but also in the Asia-Pacific region, South America and Southern Africa.


Download a PDF of the press release here.

Media contact: Peter Colacino, Director of Corporate Affairs, 0402 296 544