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In Brief

Welcome to the February 2015 issue of AustroadsNews. 

This edition AustroadsNews has a run-down on our latest publications, a report on our international activities, and upcoming seminars and conferences.

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New LOS Framework Considers All Road Users

Austroads has published a level of service (LOS) framework from the perspective of all road users.

The framework includes motorists, transit users, freight, pedestrians and cyclists with needs for mobility, safety, access, information and amenity.

The framework is designed to help practitioners identify an appropriate LOS for different road users and support decision-making within the context of network operation planning.

The LOS framework is designed to be applied at a link level within a road network. It can be used to identify the functional objectives of a link (e.g. increase cyclist LOS) which may then influence decisions by users as to the mode of travel (e.g. may travel by bicycle due to increased LOS).

The use of the LOS framework will supplement, rather than replace, the need for detailed computer modelling analysis to verify the impacts of proposed changes as part of the design process.

The framework can be :

  • easily applied without the need for data, therefore enabling it to be completed at low cost
  • used to highlight trade-offs between users and transport needs which can inform better decision making and balance competing demands
  • used as a quick reference guide to identify issues for consideration in the development of a project
  • used in network fit assessment to identify LOS gaps and considerations to achieve a higher LOS.

The case studies in the report demonstrate the application of the LOS framework within the context of Network Operations Planning.

Assessing Emerging C-ITS Standards for Local Adoption

Austroads recently released an assessment of emerging Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) standards and guidance for determining which standards should be adopted locally.

This report documents the findings and outcomes of an assessment of the standards emerging from the key C-ITS developing regions of Europe and the USA.

The project reviewed more than 160 emerging standards and identified a US scenario and a EU scenario for possible adoption by Australia and New Zealand.

The US scenario consists of IEEE and SAE standards while the EU scenario consists of early release standards from ETSI and CEN/ISO.

C-ITS standards from other regions, such as Japan, were not assessed as at this stage as the focus for Australia and New Zealand is on adopting either the US or European scenario as it best aligns with the spectrum allocation being considered for adoption in both Australia and New Zealand.

The outcomes of the assessment may be used by Austroads to provide an understanding of the emerging standards and their respective scenarios. This in turn will help key stakeholders to decide which international C-ITS scenario and standards will be adopted.

Determining the Optimal Size of Electronic Speed Signs

This report documents research to determine if the size of electronic regulatory speed signs (ERSS), such as variable speed limit signs, could be reduced without adversely impacting efficiency of driving or safety.

A review of current practice found that the sizes of ERSS used in Australia are largely similar to those described in Australian Standard AS 1742.4, although some minor differences were identified in a few areas, such as tunnels and managed motorways. Brightness requirements and the minimum number of red annuli from jurisdictions largely follow AS 5156. However, the number of red annuli and the required number of flashing annuli during speed limit changes still vary amongst jurisdictions.

Review of overseas literature and practice concluded that the sizes required for ERSSs are generally equivalent or larger than that of standard static speed signs. Many road agencies tend to recommend larger sign sizes and letter heights for ERSS than for standard static speed signs (e.g. the UK Department for Transport, the US Department of Transportation, NZTA and RMS).

The project team successfully achieved consensus on the harmonisation of ERSS specifications regarding sign size, sign brightness and sign annulus flashing requirements, with a number of recommendations provided to be considered by Austroads and relevant Australian Standard Committees.

Maximising the Re-Use of Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement

The re-use of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) material in the production of new hot mix asphalt has become standard practice. In many countries, including Australia, RAP is by far the most recycled construction waste product.

Maximising the re-use of RAP in its highest value application, i.e. as new asphalt product, has significant economic and environmental benefits. However the inclusion of RAP in asphalt mixes requires careful consideration during the mix design process to ensure satisfactory performance of the final product.

Austroads is now in the final year of a three year study to provide guidance on the design and specification of asphalt mixes containing RAP and to reduce uncertainty surrounding the performance of these mixes.

Last week a report presenting the findings from the second year of the project was released.

A survey was conducted in Australia to identify the important issues that limit the use of RAP in asphalt. A literature review has been conducted to address the issues identified in the survey. Asphalt mixes containing different percentages of RAP were tested in the laboratory to evaluate the impact of RAP on the volumetrics, flexural stiffness, fatigue, permanent deformation and moisture susceptibility of the asphalt mixes.

Viscosity was identified as an important indicator to rank the performance of dense graded asphalt mixes containing different percentages of RAP. For the asphalt mixes tested in this study, increasing viscosity of the binder (after the addition of RAP) will generally increase the stiffness, reduce the rut depth and wheel tracking rate, as well as result in a general reduction of fatigue life.

The report also includes a guideline for design of RAP mixes.

To coincide with the report's release, three new test methods were published.

AGPT/T191 Extractions of Bituminous Binder from Asphalt

AGPT/T192 Characterisation of the Viscosity of Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) Binder Using the Dynamic Shear Rheometer (DSR)

AGPT/T193 Design of Bituminous Binder Blends to a Specified Viscosity Value

Evaluating the Rutting Performance of Unbound Granular Materials

A new report from Austroads documents research to validate the wheel-tracking approach as a complementary means of evaluating the rutting performance of granular bases.

The project assessed the influence of the moisture content on the laboratory wheel-tracking performances of four typical crushed rock materials and evaluated the effect of dry-back on both the performance under repeated load triaxial tests and aggregate particle orientation.

The results show an improved analysis of wheel-tracking data, based on both deformation and rut depth measurement, and offers encouraging results for assessing the moisture sensitivity of crushed rock material to rutting.

The data collected under repeated load triaxial conditions confirmed that at the same test moisture content, the specimen prepared at the optimum moisture content and dried-back exhibited higher resilient modulus and lower permanent deformation compared to the specimen compacted at the same moisture content without dry-back.

The particle orientation analysis undertaken demonstrated that specimens compacted in the wheel-tracker are closer to field conditions. However, the moisture content at compaction seems to have a significant effect on the void network. The material’s voids are more distributed for specimens compacted at the material optimum moisture content compared to a compacted specimen with 30% less water.

This information will help to consolidate the development of a new wheel‑tracking test method for unbound granular materials, which can be validated against pavement performance.

NGTSM Submissions Due Next Week

The National Guidelines for Transport Systems Management in Australia (NGTSM) were last published in 2006. A project is underway to revise the Guidelines to bring them up-to-date to ensure ongoing best practice. 

The new Guidelines will absorb the Austroads Guide to Road Transport Planning and Guide to Project Evaluation to strengthen and consolidate guidance for practitioners in this important area of economic infrastructure development.

The revised content will be released in two stages. The draft first stage content was released Monday 22 December 2014, for stakeholder feedback.

The Stage 1 content can be accessed via the website ngtsmguidelines.com

Submissions are due by Monday 9 February 2015.

Feedback must be in writing to NGTSM2014@infrastructure.gov.au

Have Your Say on the General Conditions of Contract Standard

The Australian Standards AS 2124 and AS 4000 on General Conditions of Contract provide guidance and suggested language to be used in legal contracts. The Standards are voluntary and are used widely by institutions, governments and businesses across Australia. They underpin many contracts for construction and public works projects. 

The Standards are now undergoing major revision, in consultation with many stakeholders such as the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council, Austroads, Australian Industry Group and the Civil Contractors Federation, to name a few. Under the proposed revision, AS 2124 and AS 4000 are to be combined into a new Standard called AS 11000.  It is intended for the new Standard AS 11000 to be fit for use by all sectors of the industry.

Given the current Standard’s widespread use and potential impact on future engineering and construction contracts, Standards Australia would like to invite public comment on the draft AS 11000. The public comment period starts Friday 23 January and lasts 9 weeks.

Click here for more information.

Latest World Road Association Reports

The World Road Association is an international road organisation with 118 member governments and some 2,500 road experts.

The work of the Association is undertaken by 17 committees which bring together technical experts from around the world.

Austroads currently has full or corresponding representatives on 15 of the 17 committees. The representatives provide regular progress reports on the work being conducted by their technical committee.

Links to the latest reports are provided below:

Upcoming Workshops and Conferences

ARRB Webinar: Cycling Facilities and the Austroads Guides
12 February 2015, Online (No charge, registration required) 

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

NEW 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

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

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

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