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This edition of Austroads News has a run down on the latest Austroads reports and upcoming seminars and conferences.

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Austroads Welcomes New Chief Executive

Austroads is pleased to announce the appointment of Nick Koukoulas as the new Chief Executive for Austroads.

Nick was most recently Managing Director of BSI Group for Australia and New Zealand. The global British Standards Institution delivers standards-based solutions to help organisations improve their quality and performance, reduce their risk and achieve certification. Nick is an experienced Board Member and Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He has had roles as a senior executive for national and multi-national market leaders in professional services, standards development, registered training organisations, maritime fire and safety, and importation and wholesale distribution.

Acting Austroads Chairman, Peter Duncan, said Austroads is pleased to have found a new Chief Executive of Nick’s calibre.

"We believe that, with his extensive experience in change management and integration projects, he will make a strong contribution to ensuring Austroads is responsive to the needs of its members and the Australasian road industry," Peter said.

Nick started in the position on Monday, 3 November.

Help Improve the Guide to Bridge Technology

The Austroads Bridge Technology Task Force wants to better understand how practitioners are using the Guide to Bridge Technology and how it can be improved.

If you use the Guide please take 15 minutes to complete this online survey www.surveymonkey.com/s/AGBT2014

Your responses will help shape future editions of the Guide.

Finish the survey and go into the draw for a $200 pre-paid Visa gift card.

New Specialist Categories Proposed for National Prequalification System

Austroads is working on a proposal to add two new specialist categories to Australia’s National Prequalification System:

  • Precast Concrete Products
  • Steel Fabrication.

Full details of the proposed specialist categories will be provided on the Austroads website next week with invitation to provide comment on the proposal.  

A consultation kit will describe the proposed new categories, explain their development, and provide the minimum requirements that are proposed to be met for prequalification, the mutual recognition framework, and how the categories (and contractors prequalified in them) will be managed at the national level.

Submissions will be due by 19 December 2014.

Improving the Design of Foamed Bitumen Stabilised Pavements

Austroads Guide to Pavement Technology Part 5: Pavement Evaluation and Treatment Design includes an interim procedure for the thickness design of foamed bitumen stabilised (FBS) pavements.  However, there are concerns that the interim procedure is not as well founded as those for conventional treatments due to a lack of performance data. The design method needs to be verified/modified with field performance to provide a more accurate prediction method.

In 2012 Austroads commissioned a project which aims to:

  • improve the Austroads procedures for the structural design of foamed bitumen stabilised materials for new pavements and structural rehabilitation treatments
  • identify distress modes of bitumen stabilised pavements from a series of trial sites
  • improve and harmonise national mix design procedures for bitumen stabilised materials.

In early October Austroads published a progress report on the project's developments and findings.

The report summarises the draft test methods which are currently being reviewed by road agencies and industry.  It also describes research findings on the effect of mixing moisture content used in the mix design on modulus and the extent to which modulus varies due to laboratory compaction process.

The report also provides:

  • the construction and early-life performance monitoring of a trial section of a foamed bitumen stabilised pavement developed in October 2013 on the Newell Highway at Bellata, New South Wales
  • one year performance data for a trial section constructed on the Calder Freeway at Woodend, Victoria
  • the fatigue cracking of Port Wakefield Road, Virginia, South Australia within two years of opening to traffic
  • the latest performance data from Kewdale Road in Canning and the Kwinana Freeway in Perth, Western Australia.

Use of Recycled Aggregates has Economic and Environmental Benefits

The costs of sourcing traditional pavement materials are increasing as sources are being exhausted, haulage distances are increasing, and access to traditional sources is increasingly restricted. As a result, jurisdictions are seeking alternative solutions, one of which is the use of recycled materials.

Austroads has released a report that provides an estimate of the financial cost savings of incorporating recycled aggregates into pavement bases. It also sets out the environmental and social considerations associated with recycling and resource use.

Two detailed case studies examine the experience of a local council in New South Wales and industry in South Australia.

The report suggests there are significant economic and environmental benefits associated with the incorporation of recycled aggregates in pavement bases.

Ensuring Accurate Traffic Speed Deflectometer Data Collection

The ARRB Traffic Speed Deflectometer (TSD) uses seven Doppler lasers to monitor the response of a pavement to the application of a mass at highway speeds. The data collected provides continuous pavement deflection profiles, from which bearing capacity indices can be derived and pavement fatigue can be estimated. The high accuracy and resolution of the TSD enables engineers to pin point areas where the pavement may be subject to failure.

TSD technology is relatively new and Austroads has released two reports to assist member agencies in the accurate collection of data:

Traffic Speed Deflectometer: Data Review and Lessons Learnt documents comparisons of Falling Weight Deflectometer (FWD) and Traffic Speed Deflectometer (TSD) deflections

Traffic Speed Deflectometer: Data Analysis Approaches in Europe and USA Compared with ARRB Analysis Approach documents international traffic speed deflectometer (TSD) data analysis practice and process.

Austroads Road Safety Program Manager Leads New International Road Safety Group

Austroads Road Safety Program Manager, Iain Cameron, has been appointed Chair of a new OECD International Transport Forum Working Group established to reduce road fatalities and serious injuries by helping governments to implement a “safe system” approach.

The "Working Group on the Implementation of a Safe System Approach” will develop guidance for countries seeking to improve their road safety performance and ultimately eliminate road traffic as a cause of death or serious injuries.

The group’s work program will build on a previous ITF report, Towards Zero: Ambitious Road Safety targets and the Safe Systems Approach, published in 2008.

Mr Cameron said that much progress had been made in the six years since the initial report, which could now be reviewed. “Countries would like some further advice and guidance. We can capture some of the progress [and] hear about the challenges,” Mr Cameron said. “We can put that together and provide some support for leaders in the countries.” You can see an interview with Iain Cameron in the video link above.

The working group comprises 28 top-level road safety experts from 23 countries and from the World Health Organisation, the World Bank, the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), the Global New Car Assessment Programme (Global NCAP) and the FIA Foundation.

The new Working Group will present an interim report in November 2015, coinciding with the half-way point of the United Nations Decade of Action on Road Safety 2010-20. The full life-cycle of the working group is two-years, and a final report will be completed by the end of 2016.

Link to more information: ITF Website - Working Group on Safe System Implementation

National Transport Commission announces review of Assessing Fitness to Drive

The National Transport Commission (NTC) has announced a review of Assessing Fitness to Drive.

The review will take into account:

  • advances in medical knowledge and practice
  • changes to driving operating environments and policies
  • stakeholder feedback on the operation of the standards, including any problems faced by medical professionals currently doing the testing
  • findings from relevant recent inquiries
  • any other new issues affecting the medical standards.

To assist with the review the NTC is seeking expressions of interest from parties with skills and experience in medical issues and working with medical stakeholders.

The tender documents and a discussion paper are available from the NTC website.

Importance of Road Maintenance

A new report from the World Road Association shows the value of investment in road maintenance in financially constrained economies.

The Importance of Road Maintenance makes the case for adequate maintenance of road networks when maintenance budgets are limited.

This short report explains why investing in maintenance at the right time can lead to significant reductions in future costs and supports the efficient management of maintenance. Actions that help obtain the best value from road maintenance include:

  • having a multi-year vision, models of evolution of network condition, service standards objectives and performance-based works contracts, and
  • understanding the availability of resources for future year and the wider impacts of maintenance funding on road users, society and the environment.

Austroads Receives Award from the Transportation Association of Canada

The Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) has recognised Austroads for its collaboration in and support of TAC’s work to advance the state of transportation knowledge in Canada. The award was presented to Austroads on the occasion of TAC's centennial celebration. TAC is a not-for-profit, membership-based association that provides a neutral forum to exchange ideas and information on technical guidelines and best practices related to transportation.

Upcoming Workshops and Conferences

ALGA National Local Roads and Transport Congress
12-14 November 2014, Tamworth, Australia

10th International Conference on Transport Survey Methods
16-21 November 2014, Leura, Australia

Engineers Australia Convention 2014
24-28 November 2014, Melbourne, Australia

NEW ARRB Webinar: Update to the Guide to Pavement Technology Part 4B: Asphalt (no charge but registration essential)
25 November 2014, Online

International Road Federation and Roads Australia Regional Conference (Abstracts deadline 30 Nov 2014)  
4-7 May 2015, Sydney, Australia

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