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Welcome to our last edition of the Austroads newsletter for 2013.

Yesterday we introduced an updated logo to better represent New Zealand's membership of Austroads. Early next year we will be introducing new publication covers and a revised website. 

Our office will be closed from Christmas to New Year's Day. We'll be back on deck from Thursday 2 January.

We wish you all the best for a happy holiday season.

National Guidelines for Transport Systems Management Update Underway

The National Guidelines for Transport System Management in Australia (NGTSM) provide a comprehensive framework for strategic-level transport planning and analytical approaches to transport project appraisal.

The current edition of the NGTSM was published in December 2006. Since then a range of additional tools have been developed that have significant implications for future approaches to transport planning and project evaluation.

The update of the NGTSM will improve alignment of these existing sources of guidance into a unified publication. The new resource will incorporate and replace Austroads’ Guide to Project Evaluation and Guide to Road Transport Planning.

The update has been funded by Australian transport agencies and is being managed by Austroads. The project work is being coordinated by a steering committee of expert representatives from each Australian jurisdiction.

The project has been organised into five streams:

  • Stream 1: Coordination and Delivery
  • Stream 2: Integrated Planning and Strategic Evaluation
  • Stream 3: Cost Benefit Analysis
  • Stream 4: Parameter Values
  • Stream 5: Modelling

This one page summary of the project provides more details about the streams and the project timelines.

Sign up here to receive project updates by email, including notifications of project milestones and opportunities to provide feedback.

Improving the Performance of Safe System Infrastructure

A number of road infrastructure elements, such as flexible barriers and roundabouts, have been identified and promoted as Safe System solutions due to their capacity to minimise death and serious injury.

But these elements do not always achieve the desired Safe System outcomes for all road users.

Last week Austroads published a report summarising the findings from the first of a three-year study which is reviewing the safety performance of road infrastructure identified as Safe System solutions.

The aim of the first year was to identify solutions and then establish how closely they fit the vision’s objective of zero death and serious injury.

Five infrastructure solutions were prioritised for investigation:

  • traffic signals
  • roundabouts
  • flexible median barriers on divided roads
  • flexible median barriers on undivided roads
  • flexible roadside barriers.

The study found that traffic signals, which were identified early as an aspirational Safe System solution, performed well below the Safe System ideal of no fatal and serious injuries. An average casualty crash reduction of 30% was identified but no evidence was found that traffic signals reduced severe injury crashes. Crash data analysis showed that severe crashes involving opposing-turning, adjacent-direction, same-direction and pedestrian movements were the leading safety problems. 

Similar investigations for roundabouts showed them to be particularly effective in reducing severe injury crashes and in particular fatal crashes. The severe crash rate was shown to be half that of traffic signals. Crash data analysis indicated that further investigations should focus on severe crashes involving: two-wheeled road users, adjacent-direction, off-path on straight and same-direction crashes.

Preliminary investigation of flexible barriers showed that they reduced targeted severe crashes by approximately 60%. Continuous application of flexible barriers was found to be important for increasing effectiveness, achieving up to 90% reduction in targeted casualty crashes. Overall, flexible barriers were shown to result in a very low likelihood of severe crashes, approaching the objectives of the Safe System. Further research could focus on heavy vehicle performance, roadside applications, installation and maintenance issues.

Future project work, which will be managed by the Austroads Safety Program, will identify ways to improve the selection, application and management of these solutions, so that their safety performance is brought closer to the Safe System vision.

Download: Improving the Performance of Safe System Infrastructure: Stage 1 Interim Report

World Road Associations Road Safety Manual

Austroads supports several representatives on the World Road Association's technical committees and groups working under the Road Safety strategic theme. 

The work under this theme aims to improve the safety and efficiency of road transport, including the movement of people and goods on the network, while sharing knowledge of all aspects of road safety and encouraging effective implementation.

A key output of this work will be the Association's Road Safety Manual (RSM).

The RSM is one of the flagship products of the World Road Association. It a significant contribution by the Association to the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety. The RSM Task Force comprises of 11 participants from various countries and one representative of the World Bank.

George Mavroyeni from VicRoads is the Austroads representative on the task force. His report from the October meeting outlines progress and future work on the manual.

The work to upgrade the manual is being undertaken by the ARRB Group. The 12 chapters will cover the scope of the road safety problem, the road safety management system, the safe system approach and road safety institutional management.

It is expected the manual will be published in mid 2014.

Upcoming Workshops and Conferences

NEW  World Road Association's XIVth International Winter Road Congress
4-7 February 2014, Andorra

4th International Safer Roads Conference
18-21 May 2014, Cheltenham, UK 

Velo City Global Cycling Conference
27-29 May 2014, Adelaide, Australia

NEW IPWEA Sustainability in Public Works
27-29 July 2014, Tweed Heads/Coolangatta, Australia
Abstracts can be submitted to 16 December.

NEW AITPM National Traffic and Transport Conference
12-15 August 2014, Adelaide Australia

26th ARRB Conference
19-22 October 2014, Sydney Australia

Austroads Bridge Conference
22-24 October 2014, Sydney, Australia