Sonia McGregor

Sonia McGregor

Sonia McGregor

Strategic Planner and Analyst

Freight, Strategy and Network Investment

My post-graduate study

I completed a Master of Transport as part of the Civil Engineering School at Monash University

Research title

  1. The impact of driverless vehicles on road space capacity balanced against potential increase in demand
  2. Measures of transport disadvantage using NSW open data

Why I chose this topic

Connected vehicle technology is one of the most significant changes we will see in transport. I was interested in exploring how the two opposing forces (faster, smoother travel versus higher demands for travel) will change road performance as a result of new technologies. On the other hand, the benefits of these technologies could easily become focussed on cities, exacerbating transport disadvantage in remote, rural and “transport poor” communities. I worked with Professor Graham Currie on using open data and other transport data sources to study disadvantage (and future resource allocation methods) in a new way.

How my study relates to my work

I am very interested in transport as an enabler of quality of life. I wanted to choose a project that combined something new with a reminder of why I work in transport in the first place: to improve people’s lives and create networks that work for everyone. 

Challenges in my area of research

The two areas had different challenges: in remote areas, traditional data sources are thin and less reliable. In road capacity versus demand for CAVs it is all theory, for now. But we do know that driver behaviour can have a significant impact on road performance particularly at peak times, so it is worth exploring.

Support from TfNSW

My managers were very supportive of my studies and I was lucky that three of my TfNSW colleagues were also doing the course. I was able to claim two to four hours a week of study leave and claim back 50% of my fees. Networking with other students was very important, but because of the age of my children I decided to study remotely through Monash, saving lots of travel and group study time (I get plenty of exciting group work here in TfNSW!).