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AustroadsNews | August 2016 

Welcome to the August edition of AustroadsNews. This newsletter provides run-down on our latest publications, links to other relevant work in Australasia, and links to upcoming seminars and conferences.

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July Austroads Board Meeting Communiqué

The Austroads Board met in Perth on 7 July. Peter Duncan, Roads and Maritime Services NSW chaired the meeting. The meeting Communiqué provides an overview of the items discussed, including:

  • strategic projects
  • completion of the 2015-16 research work program
  • strategic directions of the newly established Assets, Network and Safety Programs
  • connected and automated vehicles governance and projects
  • National Exchange of Vehicle and Driver Information System (NEVDIS) performance
  • Australasian safety barrier installation and maintenance accreditation
  • review of the National Guidelines for Transport System Management
  • US-AU Bilateral Information Exchange to be held in Melbourne in October.



Operationalising a national ITS product approval process

Austroads has published a detailed governance framework to support operationalising a national ITS product approval process.

Within the framework, a national ITS type approval committee (NITAC) would be established to review product testing results, and approve products. 

The following products are proposed as the starting point for implementing the national process:

  • Traffic signals including traffic signal controller, traffic lanterns, communication modem, push button assembly, audio tactile units, PJ box, post and mast arms.
  • Dynamic message signs including lane use management signs, variable speed limit signs, variable speed limit and lane controls signs, electronic school speed limit signs, variable message signs, ramp control/metering signs, traveller information/road condition information signs, vehicle speed/presence activated signs, and turn/movement signs.
  • Data collection and monitoring, and transport sensor systems including loops, studs, radar detectors, counters, over-height detectors.
  • Others including weather stations, movable medians/barriers and ice detectors.

A single nationwide type approval certificate with acceptance conditions will be issued for successful ITS products.

The process will be administrated from a central office with the product assessment outsourced to prequalified third parties. The approval process workflow and results would be managed and maintained through a web register, which would also provide centralised access management and an information sharing mechanism for both road agencies and industry stakeholders.

The report recommends that the proposed governance framework be endorsed by all Australian state road agencies and that Austroads provides further funding to conduct industry consultations, set up initial working groups, develop a standard KPI template and develop a pilot web register.


Supporting ‘Life Line’ freight routes

Austroads has released a tool designed to identify and support investment in ‘Life Line’ freight routes.

‘Life Line’ freight routes are roads that are highly valued by local communities and regions but, based their traffic volumes, may not deliver positive outcomes in traditional upgrade project priority assessments.

The report includes instructions for using the Risk Indicator tool, which has been developed for use by road managers to establish:

  • whether a route is a ‘Life Line’
  • which routes have the greatest claim for project funding based on ‘Life Line’ needs.

The Excel based tool considers factors relevant to determining priority for road upgrade investment including the:

  • size and needs of the communities serviced
  • availability of alternative routes
  • length and convenience of any alternative routes
  • historic incidence of events that have closed the route
  • assessment of responses to previous events, including cost and impacts in the regions serviced.

Pedestrian Facility Selection Tool award finalist

Austroads' Australasian Pedestrian Facility Selection Tool was a finalist in the Golden Foot Awards 'Best Walking Initiative’ category this year.

The awards celebrate and recognise New Zealand achievements for walkers by acknowledging innovative new facilities, highlighting national best practise and rewarding ongoing commitment to walking. 

Congratulations to the prize winners:

  • Hamilton City Council for their Accessible Kerb Upgrade Programme (Best Walking Facility/Champions category)
  • Sculpture Trust Wellington for Park(ing) Day (Best Walking Project)
  • Mainstreet Tauranga for the Wharf Street Shared Space Project (Best Walking Initiative).

In assessing the projects, the judges considered:

  • accessibility
  • whether the NZ Pedestrian Planning and Design Guidelines were considered in the planning and implementation of nominated projects
  • budget
  • how well the project encourages others to walk and overcomes barriers to enable more walking.

Pictured: Carl O’Neill from Abley Transportation Consultants gave a presentation about the development of the Australasian Pedestrian Facility Selection Tool to the 2WALKandCYCLE conference held in Auckland in July.


How waterproof are sprayed seals?

Sprayed seal surfacings on unbound granular pavements are used on around 90% of all surfaced roads in Australia. This type of pavement structure is extensively used due to its low initial cost. 

In addition to providing a wearing course surface for passing traffic, sprayed seals are intended to provide a waterproofing layer to the pavement basecourse.

Austroads documentation recognises that while sprayed seals are intended to create impervious layers, they do not always completely achieve this in practice.

The current Austroads sprayed seal design method provides some guidance for practitioners attempting to achieve a desired waterproofing capability, but there is no framework for determining and testing the extent to which this is attained.

Austroads has now published the results of a literature review which explores the permeability limits of sprayed seal surfacings. 

The reviewed research indicates that water ingress is possible through a sprayed seal under certain atmospheric conditions, and is exacerbated by the presence of higher pressures and dynamic loading, like that caused by passing vehicle tyres.

The waterproofing capabilities of sprayed seals can be maximised by careful selection of treatment type, and are also heavily reliant on good construction practices that produce seals that are free of flaws, and ongoing upkeep to ward off forms of distress that could provide access points for the ingress of water.

Conducting permeability testing on sprayed seals is complicated by their typically coarse texture, which makes generating a watertight seal between the equipment and the surface very difficult, for both in situ and laboratory testing.

If the interface problems between sprayed seal and testing equipment can be resolved, and sample collection and/or preparation techniques developed further, there is good potential for further quantitative research into the permeability of sprayed seals.


Testing the low temperature cracking resistance of PMBs

Austroads has published the results of the second year of work (2015–16) to develop a binder test that can rank the low temperature cracking performance of Polymer Modified Binders (PMBs).

The Australian PMB specification includes elastometer stiffness tests which provide information to binder purchasers about the low temperature properties of PMBs. Even though these tests are included in the specification, there is currently no low temperature binder test in the specification which can be used to rank the resistance of PMBs to low temperature cracking on the road. 

Studies conducted during the first year of work indicated extensiometer force ratio tests could be used to rank the low temperature cracking performance of nine of the 13 binder grades included in the Australian PMB specification if binders did not break when subjected to a standard set of test conditions (i.e. test temperature = 10 °C, test speed = 0.5 mm/s, final sample displacement = 250 mm).

As a number of hard PMB samples broke during extensiometer tests, investigations were conducted during the second year of work to determine if force ratio tests could be used to rank the low temperature cracking performance of the remaining four hard PMB grades (A35P, A25E S15RF and S18RF). Studies were also conducted to determine if dynamic shear rheometer (DSR) stress ratio tests could be used to rank the low temperature cracking performance of both hard and soft PMB grades.

Seven PMB samples which represented the four hard PMB grades were subjected to varying extensiometer test conditions to find a set of conditions where the binders did not break during testing. The optimum test conditions for the characterisation of hard binders were found to be when tests were conducted using a test temperature of 20 °C and test speed of 0.1 mm/s. As no marked correlation was found between force ratio results determined at 20 °C and the fatigue life results obtained for a series of binders in asphalt at 10 °C, it appears that force ratio tests cannot currently be used to rank the low temperature cracking performance of A35P, S15RF and S18RF PMB grades.

An analysis of the results obtained in the first and second years of work indicated that force ratio tests that were conducted using standard test conditions were suitable for ranking the low temperature cracking performance of 10 of the 13 binder grades included in the Australian PMB specification.

A very reasonable correlation was found between the DSR stress ratio results obtained for a series of 27 different binders and the fatigue life results obtained for each of the materials in asphalt.  Based on these results, DSR stress ratio tests appear to be suitable for ranking the low temperature cracking performance of all 13 binder grades which are included in the Australian PMB specification.


Impacts of exposure to dust on unsealed roads

The New Zealand Transport Agency has published the results of a research project designed to better understand the impacts on people of dust emissions from unsealed roads. The project’s key research objectives were to:

  1. characterise the dust and quantify the impacts of dust from unsealed roads on people
  2. determine the effectiveness and cost of dust mitigation measures
  3. estimate the costs of the health impacts of dust and estimate the benefits of mitigating the dust
  4. propose a methodology to support decision making about mitigation options.

A two month road dust monitoring campaign was undertaken on a section of Mataraua Road, 10km southwest of Kaikohe in the Far North District, during February, March and April 2015.

The monitoring results indicated that potential adverse human health impacts might occur due to the dust discharged from untreated unsealed roads. A comparison of untreated and treated sites showed that the application of a dust suppressant significantly reduced the impact of dust discharged from the road.


BITRE Road Safety Reports

Road Deaths Australia—Monthly Bulletins
Released mid month - Latest July 2016 
This bulletin contains current counts and summaries of road crash deaths and fatal road crashes in Australia. It is produced monthly and published on BITRE's website on or around the 14th of each month. Data are sourced from the road traffic or police authorities in each jurisdiction.



2016 Australasian Road Safety Conference:
Registrations close 29 August

Join more than 600 of Australasia’s leading road safety and injury prevention researchers, practitioners and policy makers at the largest road safety forum in the Southern Hemisphere – the Australasian Road Safety Conference.

The three day conference is expected to include over 200 presentations including oral, poster, keynote and panel presentations, while an additional 15 symposium/workshop sessions will contribute to this stand-out program.

With the theme of ‘Agility, Innovation, IMPACT’, the Conference will deliver research results, showcase innovative solutions, and provide educational and networking opportunities across a broad range of road safety topics: Road Safety Management, Infrastructure, Safe Vehicles, User Behaviour, and Post-Crash Care. 

High-profile speakers include:

  • Dr Soames Job – Global Road Safety Lead, World Bank (Washington DC)
  • Dr Mary Lydon – Chief Scientific Advisor, ARRB
  • Professor Mark Stevenson – Professor of Urban Transport and Public Health, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Sarah Jones – Group Manager for Road Transport Compliance, Toll Group
  • Assistant Commissioner John Hartley APM – Commander, NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol Command
  • Mr Adrian Beresford-Wylie – Chief Executive Officer, Australian Local Government Association
  • Mr David Bobbermen – Program Manager Safety, Austroads

​This event is a joint initiative of the Australasian College of Road Safety, Austroads and The George Institute for Global Health.



Austroads Bridge Conference 2017

Call for Abstracts Closes 2 September 2016 
The call for abstracts for ABC 2017 is due to close on 2 September 2016 and the date for submissions will not be extended. All abstracts must be submitted online via the Conference website. Submissions are open for oral and poster presentations

Abstracts are invited for the following themes:

  • Bridge Analysis, Design and Assessment
  • Innovative Bridge Construction
  • Bridge Technology
  • Bridge Asset Management
  • Bridge Management Strategies
  • Bridge Engineering Heritage
  • Sustainability and Life Cycle Cost
  • Codes and Standards
  • Material Technology
  • Field Applications and Case Studies
  • Lessons Learnt from Bridge Damages and Failures
  • Load Assessment
  • Feature Projects

For more information visit the website


Upcoming Workshops + Conferences

IPWEA Sustainability in Public Works Conference 2016 | 24-26 August 2016, Melbourne, Victoria

ARRB Local Area Traffic Management Workshop24-25 August 2016, Brisbane, QLD

International Transportation Geotechnics Conference 2016  | 4-7 September 2016, Guimarães, Portugal

2016 Australasian Road Safety Conference 2016 (ARSC2016) | 6-8 September 2016, Canberra, ACT

ARRB Local Area Traffic Management Workshop | 13-14 September 2016, Sydney, NSW

ARRB Basic Geometric Road Design | 15-16 September 2016, Darwin, Northern Territory

NEW Austroads Guide to Road Design Part 3: Geometric Design Session 1 | 20 September 2016, Online (no charge, register your interest now

NEW Austroads Guide to Road Design Part 3: Geometric Design Session 2 | 27 September 2016, Online (no charge, register your interest now)

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

ARRB Level 2 Bridge Inspection Workshop | 11-12 October 2016, Brisbane, QLD

ARRB Level 1 Bridge Inspection Workshop | 25-26 October 2016, Melbourne, Victoria

ARRB Level 2 Bridge Inspection Workshop | 27-28 October 2016, Melbourne, Victoria

Construction Materials Industry Conference 2016 (CMIC16​) | 26-28 October 2016, Melbourne, Victoria

38th Australasian Transport Research Forum 16-18 November 2016, Melbourne, Victoria

27th ARRB Conference | 16-18 November 2016, Melbourne, Victoria

NEW ARRB webinar the updated Austroads GTM Part 10: Traffic Control and Communication Devices | 1 Dec 2016, Online

10th Austroads Bridge Conference: ABC2017 | 3-6 April 2017, Melbourne, Victoria