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In Brief

Welcome to the March 2015 issue of AustroadsNews. 

This edition AustroadsNews has a run-down on our latest publications, a new pedestrian facility selection tool, and upcoming seminars and conferences.

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New Bituminous Materials Safety Guide Released

Austroads has published the fourth edition of the Bituminous Materials Safety Guide which describes safe working practices and disposal of waste materials when handling hot bituminous products in sprayed sealing, asphalt and bituminous stabilisation operations.

This Guide provides basic material to assist with the training of inexperienced users and a refresher for experienced personnel. It is designed to be used as a ready reference and has been published in a handy glovebox A5 size.

This edition of the Guide includes revisions related to updates to the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail (ADG Code) and Australian Standards. The Guide has also been modified so that it predominantly contains only safety related information.

The Guide is intended to complement each company’s own work and health safety management system and as such should be used in conjunction with company Standard Operating Procedures and Safe Work Method Statements.

It should also be read in conjunction with equipment and supplier recommendations for the supply and application of bitumen products.

Staff from Australian and New Zealand local councils and transport agencies can access electronic versions of all Austroads Guides for no charge. Contact austraods@austroads.com.au  for access information.

Updated Guidelines Balance Traffic Management in Activity Centres

Austroads has released updated guidelines designed to balance the management of traffic in activity centres.

An activity centre is an urban planning term for the vibrant hubs where people shop, work, meet, relax and often live.
The essential feature of activity centres is the concentration of people-activity.

Activity centres play a key role in providing goods and services, employment and a cultural focus for communities, particularly those centres within residential neighbourhoods.

Without adequate access for at least some vehicles, most activity centres cannot adequately function. However, activity centres are places of higher pedestrian activity, and the roads and access ways available to vehicles will generally not be exclusively or even predominantly for through traffic.

Traffic management in and around activity centres must therefore acknowledge that the needs of vehicles will generally be of secondary importance in planning, design and management of the centre.

Thus, the purpose of traffic management in activity centres is to provide adequately for vehicular access and circulation (including service, emergency and delivery vehicles) while focusing on the movement of people (including those on foot, bicycle and public transport) while enabling the functionality and enjoyment of the site by the people who use it.

Guide to Traffic Management Part 7 aims to help the practitioner get this balance right.

Staff from Australian and New Zealand local councils and transport agencies can access electronic copies of all Austroads Guides for no charge. Contact austroads@austroads.com.au for access information.

New Online Tool Helps Select Pedestrian Crossings

Austroads has released an online tool to help Australian and New Zealand practitioners select the most appropriate type of pedestrian crossing based on walkability, safety and economic outcomes.

The online tool assesses the viability of different types of pedestrian crossing facilities according to the physical and operational parameters of a site and its safety performance.

It can be used to assess both mid-block and intersection locations.

Practitioners are required to enter a range of site variables into the tool.

For each feasible option, the tool then evaluates pedestrian and vehicle delay, safe sight distances, pedestrian level of service and, using default economic parameters developed for each Australian jurisdiction and New Zealand, calculates a benefit cost ratio.

The report Development of the Australasian Pedestrian Facility Selection Tool details the research that informed the development of the tool.

The tool and user guide can be accessed from the Austroads website bit.ly/austroads_pedestrian

A webinar introducing the tool will be held on Tuesday 10 March, 1-2pm AEDST. Register here.

Review of the National Road Safety Strategy

Austroads review of the Australian National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) has identified 13 priorities including developing a Safe System for vulnerable road users, improving safety for older road users and better understanding serious injuries.

The review found that fatalities, fatal crashes and deaths per 100,000 population are all falling, with fatalities reducing from 1,277 in 2011 to 1,193 in 2013. There is evidence, however, that motorcyclist and cyclist fatalities have not decreased at the same rate as those of vehicle occupants in the years since the strategy was released. Fatalities of older road users are not reducing at the same rate as shown for young road users and this effect is still present when deaths per 100,000 population are considered.

Rates of hospitalised serious traffic injury rose by about 10% from the level in 2001 then returned to it, while road death rates fell by almost one-third. Analysis of hospital data showed the rise in serious injuries was largely due to substantial increases in the numbers of injured motorcyclists and cyclists. Although the numbers of drivers injured also rose, the absolute increase for drivers was smaller than for motorcyclists or cyclists, and the percentage rise was much smaller than for those types.

Further analysis showed that the upward trend of motorcyclist and cyclist cases was especially steep for men aged 45 to 64 years, and that the rise was much more marked for cases that occurred in traffic (on road) than for non-traffic cases. The rise in the rate of cyclist cases was more marked for residents of major cities than for people who lived elsewhere.

The review identified 13 priority areas which require more emphasis. The priority areas are not intended to replace the content of the 2011 strategy but supplement both the strategy commentary and associated action agendas.

Reviewing the Effectiveness of Graduated Driver Licensing Components

Austroads has published the results of a literature review examining the effectiveness of different components of graduated driver licensing.

Components examined included: minimum learner age, minimum learner period, minimum learner supervised driving hours, supervisory driver requirements, formal education requirements, licence tests, minimum provisional age, minimum provisional period, night driving restriction, peer passenger restriction, blood alcohol concentration limit, mobile phone or other technology restriction, vehicle power restriction and specific sanctions for speed, alcohol or other offences.

The project considered whether there was evidence that the component is effective in reducing young driver crashes and/or injuries.

The most well evaluated components, and therefore having the most examples of quantified benefits in terms of crash and/or injury reductions, were a minimum learner age of 16 years, a minimum learner period of 12 months, minimum provisional age greater than 16 years (with increasing benefits with increasing age), night driving restrictions, peer passenger restrictions and a zero blood alcohol concentration limit.

Much of the literature originated from North America, which differs to Australasia in both GDL and enforcement practices. The authors recommend that jurisdictions continue to monitor GDL research, but also evaluate their own data to the extent possible to ensure the appropriateness of each GDL component to their jurisdiction.

Modelling the Impacts of Unsealed Road Maintenance

Australia has about 484,000 kilometres of unsealed roads which are commonly maintained with grading and compaction.

Despite the importance of unsealed roads to local communities and the economy, we lack reliable models which help predict the impact of maintenance activities on these roads.

In 2012 Austroads and the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) jointly funded a project which allowed ARRB and Moorabool Shire Council in Victoria to collaborate to collect road roughness data before and after maintenance works on a number of unsealed roads.

ARRB loaned a Roughometer to the council, including support for its fitting, testing and calibration and Moorabool Shire collected the data both pre and post works at 16 sites. Works consisted of both surface blading by grader and rehabilitation using grading and compaction of gravel resheets.

The roughness data collected was analysed with the aim of developing interim work effects models for these treatments and validation of the current unsealed road deterioration roughness model.

Austroads has now published the results of all the data collected.
Further refinements and model development, including a wider range of explanatory variables, are now planned by seeking additional unsealed road data from rural shires in Queensland and New South Wales, which have distinctly different environments to that in Moorabool.

Of particular interest will be the assessment and reliable quantification of the road wear associated with heavy vehicles operating on the unsealed roads. Outcomes of this work will also assist in developing future maintenance strategies and planning.

Estimating the Social Costs of Road Crashes in Australia

The National Road Safety Strategy has clearly indicated a desire to shift from a human capital to a willingness to pay (WTP) approach as the basis for estimating the social cost of crashes applied to cost-benefit analysis of road projects in Australia.

Austroads research indicates that a national WTP study would costs around $1 million (in 2012 prices) and take 3–4 years to complete.

A review of selected local and international experience, with special focus on NSW and New Zealand case studies, has identified the key elements required to plan and deliver a national WTP study.

The project report provides a broad indication of the methodology, project components, expertise available and indicative costs required to produce a robust national WTP estimate.

The project included interviews with a number of Australasian experts to obtain information on their experience, their advice on the key research components and indicative costs that might be anticipated for a national WTP study for Australia. The study also identified and assessed several interim options for WTP values that may be used until a national WTP study for Australia is completed.

Long term pavement project continues to build performance knowledge

Austroads has released a summary of the long term pavement performance (LTPP) monitoring project activities undertaken in 2013–14.

Austroads project AT1064 Long-Term Performance Monitoring to Develop Consistent Performance Models has monitored a range of in-service pavement sites since 1995. In 1999 additional sites, known as the long-term pavement performance maintenance (LTPPM) sites, were set up as part of the study to focus on the effects of maintenance on pavement performance.

Since its commencement the project has monitored more than 40 inservice pavement sites under different climate and traffic loading regimes in all Australian states except for
Western Australia. The sites include sealed granular, asphalt, cemented-treated and concrete pavement sections on rural and urban major roads and highways.

During 2013–14 the project team completed:

  • the initial fieldwork for two newly established LTPP sites in South Australia
  • a study on the development of probabilistic road deterioration modelling; the study focussed on a new risk-based modelling method using a stochastic information packet (SIP) rather than deterministic models in conjunction with the Monte Carlo simulation technique
  • a full condition survey for three LTPP and five LTPPM sites, and visual surveys for 10 LTPP sites
  • a summary of the current structural and functional conditions for LTPP and LTPPM sites surveyed during the year and an update of their performance curves (a general observation of their performance movement relative to the previous survey showed some mixed results: a decrease in deflection, but slight increases in rutting, roughness and cracking for the majority of the sites).

Work proposed for 2014–15 includes:

  • further development of modelling with the SIP
  • collecting a complete set of functional condition data (roughness, rutting and visual) for all LTPP and LTPPM sites to take full advantage of the survey equipment capability.

Have Your Say on Proposed Heavy Vehicle Roadworthiness Regulations

The National Transport Commission (NTC) and National Heavy Vehicle Operator are working together to identify the most effective way accreditation schemes, inspections and other mechanisms can be used to improve the roadworthiness of the heavy vehicles that use Australia's roads.

The NTC has now released a consultation regulatory impact statement to assess a number of regulatory options, and their potential impacts. Comments and submissions from are invited from all interested parties. In particular, the NTC invites views on the assessments and any evidence or experiences that may support or contradict those assessments. Submissions received will inform the development of the final option to be recommended to Ministers, which may contain elements of more than one of the options presented here for consultation.

Public comment is open until 23 March 2015.

Click here for more information

Upcoming Workshops and Conferences

ARRB Webinar: Implementing the French High Modulus Asphalt (EME2) in Australia
5 March 2015, Online (No charge, registration required)

NEW Webinar: Introducing the Australasian Pedestrian Facility Selection Tool
10 March 2015, Online (No charge, registration required)

World Road Association International Risk Management Workshop
12 March 2015, Adelaide

Traffic Management Association of Australia Annual Conference “Future Directions in Traffic Management”
27 March 2015, Adelaide, South Australia

International Road Federation and Roads Australia Regional Conference 
"Innovating for the Future"
4-7 May 2015, Sydney, NSW

Australian ITS Summit and NeTC Tolling Conference
12-14 May 2015, Melbourne, Victoria

NEW IPWEA International Public Works Conference
7-11 June 2015, Rotorua, New Zealand

NEW Bikeable City Masterclass (in association with the Australian Walking and Cycling Conference)
26-30 June 2015, Copenhagen

NEW Australian Walking and Cycling Conference
20-21 July 2015, Adelaide, South Australia

Asia-Pacific Cycle Congress 2015
13-16 September 2015, Brisbane, Queensland

NEW AAPA International Flexible Pavements Conference
13-16 September 2015, Gold Coast, Queensland

NEW Australasian Road Safety Conference
14-16 October 2015, Gold Coast, Queensland

XXVth World Road Congress
2-6 November 2015, Seoul, Korea

NEW 4th International Conference on Driver Distraction and Inattention
9-11 November 2015, Sydney, Australia

NEW Sixth International Conference on Traffic and Transport Psychology
2-5 August 2016, Brisbane, Queensland 

NEW 23rd ITS World Congress Melbourne 2016
10-14 October 2016, Melbourne Victoria