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This is the second update of the Austroads project to revise the National Guidelines for Transport Systems Management (NGTSM). If you have been forwarded this email you can subscribe here  to receive future updates


The NGTSM was published in 2006. This revision will bring the guidelines up to date to ensure ongoing best practice.  It will also absorb Austroads guides on road transport planning and project evaluation to strengthen and consolidate guidance for practitioners in this important area of economic infrastructure development.

The project is being overseen by a Steering Committee of representatives from Australian transport bodies, including Commonwealth, State and Territory governments. The work has been divided into five streams and updates on each stream are provided below.

Work Stream 1: Framework and guidelines revision

An overarching structure for NGTSM content has been developed. The structure will remain fluid as content is developed and tested. This flexibility is important to ensure that end users of the content can easily and intuitively find the material they need in the final version.  

In April a contract was awarded to CanPrint to provide advice regarding the development of a new NGTSM website. The Steering Committee developed a list of functional requirements for the site and advice was sought on options for meeting the requirements identified, with a particular focus on:

  • options for the efficient and effective navigation of the website content, all based on best practice usability principles
  • options for the approach to and timing of usability testing
  • website system architecture, including selection of appropriate technology for implementation – this should consider open source content management systems and options for making the site responsive to mobile viewing
  • appropriate website design
  • options for meeting Level AA WCAG2 disability standards.

CanPrint’s recommendations are currently being considered by the Steering Committee with a view to develop a technical brief for the website build and design.

The editorial team (led by JF Communications and Agile & Associates) have developed instructions for authors and a content template to ensure the content is presented consistently, and in styles suited to the various users and audiences.

Team leader: Peter Tisato, South Australian Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure

Work Stream 2: Integrated planning and evaluation

Work Stream 2 is designed to enable good strategic planning, and assist practitioners to ensure project proposals arise from that planning, and from strategic level evaluation.  To achieve this, the work stream focuses on strengthening the guidance available for Australian practitioners in the strategic up-front aspects of transport planning and the identification and assessment of suitable transport solutions.

The initial focus is on the critical steps in which goals, problems and options are effectively addressed, along with integrated strategic planning, leading to the development of strategically driven and aligned plans, policies and initiatives. EY and SGS Economics and Planning have been engaged by the Steering Committee to:

  • develop guidance on: goals, objectives and targets; transport planning; problem identification and assessment; strategic assessment and alignment; and, options generation and assessment
  • undertake a scoping study for the development of guidance on integrated transport and land use planning.

Team leader: Paul Roe, Infrastructure Australia

Work Stream 3: Cost benefit analysis

Cost benefit analysis forms a central part of the existing NGTSM, and that will continue with the revised version.

The cost benefit analysis work stream is currently focused on active travel, public transport, wider economic benefits (WEBs) and productivity metrics, with the latter two being closely linked.

The following firms have been engaged by the Steering Committee to develop and update guidance:

  • Active Travel (cycling and walking) – Economic Associates with Pekol Traffic & Transport
  • Public Transport (including behavioural change initiatives)  – Ian Wallis & Associates

The Steering Committee is now scoping further consultancies on cost-benefit analysis, and will be seeking proposals in near future.

The development of guidance on WEBs will occur in several stages. The first stage consisted of a WEBs Scoping Study undertaken by KPMG for the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics. This scoping work is currently being finalised.

The team is also considering how productivity metrics can be best incorporated into the NGTSM. The Steering Committee has undertaken some preliminary work on productivity metrics, including how it links with WEBs and cost-benefit analysis.

The Steering Committee will now move to planning and rolling out the next steps on both WEBs and productivity metrics in an integrated manner.

Team leader: Mark Harvey, BITRE

Work Stream 4: Parameter values

ARRB is currently updating road parameter values used in project appraisals. This work covers:

  • Updating road user effect inputs such as vehicle operating costs (fuel prices, tyres, lubricating oil, repair and maintenance), travel time elements (driver, occupant and freight contents), crash costs for a range of crash severity categories and other externality costs such as environmental impacts
  • Updating environmental externalities unit values.

The Steering Committee will soon also be undertaking a number of Delphi-style workshops with practitioners and specialists to establish updated estimates of values of travel time for people and freight for adoption in NGTSM.

These updated parameter values will form a central part of the revised NGTSM. Parameter values for active travel and public transport are being updated as part of the consultancies in work stream 3. Consultancies for developing new or updated parameter values for other non-road elements of the NGTSM will be established in coming months.

Team leader: Ed McGeehan, VicRoads

Work Stream 5: Modelling

The first step in this work stream will focus on reviewing the current sources of transport modelling guidance and identifying gaps. This step has commenced, with a reference group currently undertaking a review, leading to scoping of the details of work required in this stream.

Later in the NGTSM revision project, this stream will also consider improving modeling capabilities in relation to transport-land use interaction, and induced demand.

Team leader: Wes Soet, Main Roads Western Australia  


Through the first NGTSM Newsletter, a call was made for consultants to register for various consultancies in the NGTSM Revision process. The Steering Committee wishes to thank those firms and individuals who registered their interest in various consultancies. As a result of that process, consultants have now been engaged for a number of NGTSM consultancies. The process will be repeated for further NGTSM consultancies, with details to be made available in the near future.