Zoe's cover image

Zoe Eather

Year of Award: 2018 Award State: Queensland
To accelerate the integration of "Smart Mobility" to enable more liveable Australian communities - USA, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Netherlands, Spain, UK, South Africa


"Now, you’ve also been awarded a place in this year’s Churchill Fellowship … what is that exactly, and what will you be doing with it?

Sure. It’s the Winston Churchill Fellowship, and basically 112 Australians have been chosen — 19 from Queensland so I’m one of those — who will be travelling all around the world and, depending on their interests and projects, will be looking at many different things. My area, of course, is smart mobility. I’ve chosen eight countries: the US, Canada, Japan, Korea, in Europe to the United Kingdom, Barcelona and Amsterdam, and Cape Town in South Africa.

I chose those places for a few different reasons. The first one is I’ve spoken to a couple of the people working in these cities, or places mentioned on my podcast where people are doing some really cool stuff.

But I don’t want to just look at connected and autonomous vehicles. I do want to look at how there are people investigating the impact of those, but I also want to check out what they’re doing in mobility as a service space, and shared access and mobility.

That’s the plan! I want to obtain real community learnings, not the ones that we just read about in the glossy magazines, and bring those back to the Australian community. I’m really passionate, as I’ve said a few times now, about regional and remote areas. So, even though I’m going to cities I want to try and venture out of the cities and look at what the smaller regional areas are doing.

In Cape Town for example, the reason I want to go there is the result of speaking to a professor at a university and she was talking about a project there with connected, on-demand mini-buses, mini-bus taxis. It’s not super high tech, but it has grown organically, using technology to make it more efficient, and safer for people.

Travelling to those places should give me a wide range of knowledge from all the different projects I see. I want to kind of bring that back here to compare not only the projects themselves, but their current states. What does their public transport system look like right now? What’s the norm? How do people get around? Is it car-based? Is it scooter-based? Or is it active transport, cycling and walking, etc?

So, big plans! I’m working out the itinerary at the moment, and how I’m going to fit it all in. All up it will be two months overseas between probably about March and May 2019."

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