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Welcome to our new look newsletter which we'll now be distributing monthly. Each month we'll bring you news on the latest Austroads publications, upcoming workshops and conferences and a short article focussing on an Austroads' work program. Two or three publications will be featured each month in the body of the email and all other publications released will be listed on the side panel.

Every four years the Austroads Program hosting arrangements are rotated through the jurisdictions. On 1 July 2013 the new program managers and assistants stepped into their roles. We wish the outgoing teams the very best and welcome the new teams on board. Program contacts are available on the Austroads website. 

Developing Measures to Reduce Unlicensed Driving

In June, Austroads published a report that considers countermeasures to reduce the incidence of unlicensed driving on Australian roads.

Unlicensed motorists pose a problem to road safety authorities as they are operating independently of the established licensing system and are known to have higher than average crash rates. By operating beyond the licensing system, unlicensed motorists reduce the ability of authorities to monitor and manage driver behaviour and reduce the impact of the sanction of licence loss.

The report is based on a review of Australian and international literature, with an emphasis on articles with the greatest relevance to Australia and discussions with stakeholders. It identifies the countermeasures most likely to be effective and feasible in Australia and provides a path to their implementation.

Asset Management within a Safe System

In June Austroads published a report that considered what implementing a Safe System means for asset managers.
Both the Australian and New Zealand National Road Safety Strategies have adopted the Safe System approach which represents a significant change in the way that road safety is managed and delivered in Australasia. The report provides a background to the Safe System and examines a range of infrastructure and road use management solutions which could help reduce road trauma.

Traditionally, road safety considerations have been either embedded within the original design process or maintenance activities.  While useful, such strategies limit the scope for reducing fatal and serious crashes.

To achieve Safe System outcomes road agencies will need to change the way they identify and respond to less forgiving features of existing and new infrastructure. Asset managers are seen as a key enabler and deliverer of this change.

The solutions proposed in the report extend beyond traditional solutions, building on the Safe System philosophy and integrating these with asset maintenance and road safety practice.

Best Practice Guidelines for Procurement of ITS Solutions

This Austroads report, published in June, documents how Australian and New Zealand jurisdictions are currently procuring a range of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) solutions and recommends ways jurisdictions could improve their ITS procurement practices.

Road agencies are using ITS solutions more often to operate existing road networks efficiently and effectively.  An ITS procurement method can have significant impact on the ultimate success of ITS projects.  When implementing both hardware and software ITS solutions, it is important for road agencies to select an appropriate procurement method that will assist in obtaining the best value for money and the expected outcomes for the project, as well as mitigate the risks.

The report considers different procurement methods of various ITS solutions which range in scale from the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of large managed motorway projects, to smaller isolated systems.

A Focus on Freight

The Austroads Freight Program aims to assist road and transport agencies in their efforts to address the future freight task.

New Zealand and Australia face significant growth in the freight task in coming years. This growth will require better management of freight and more optimal use of all transport modes.

Freight efficiency has real impacts on households. The harder it is to move freight around the higher the costs we pay for goods and services, and the more expensive and less competitive our products are on global markets.  The freight task in Australia quadrupled over the past 40 years, and will almost double again in the next 20 years. Freight accounts for an estimated 9 per cent of GDP and supports employment in around a quarter of a million Australian businesses.

The significance of freight to Australia’s national economy was recognised by governments earlier this year, when ministers on the Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure agreed to Australia’s first National Land Freight Strategy.  The Freight Program will provide research and advice that will be critical to delivering on the objectives of the Strategy. One of the programs’ current initiatives – relating to a Route Assessment Tool to assist access decisions for heavy vehicles – is specifically mentioned in the Strategy.

The work of the Austroads Freight Program in the next four years is focussed on developing:

  • Research on key issues impacting on the productivity of heavy vehicles, and the roads on which they travel
  • National standards to improve the productivity and sustainability of road freight movement
  • A policy framework for light freight
  • Guidelines and tools to improve road and bridge access decision making
  • National performance indicators for heavy vehicles and freight
  • National competencies and capability framework for road freight regulators

For the past four years the Fright Program has been hosted by VicRoads. In July 2013 the hosting was transferred to the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure and Transport in Canberra.

International Collaboration
Austroads supports two representatives on the World Road Association’s Freight Transport Technical Committee, Don Hogben from DPTI SA who is the Committee Chair and Rick Barber from NZTA. The Committee has a four year work plan which will address Freight Management and Co-modality for Freight Transport. The Committee met in May in Chicago. The meeting report details the meeting outcomes.

Upcoming Workshops and Conferences

An Introduction to Managed Motorways Webinar
18 July 2013, Online

Walking and Cycling: Investment, Planning and Infrastructure Design Seminar
23 July 2013, Chatswood, Sydney, Australia

New Vision and Direction for Main Roads Western Australia
15 August 2013, Perth Australia

2013 Road Safety Research, Policing and Education Conference
28-30 August 2013, Brisbane

Highway Network Skid Resistance 101 Webinar
8 August 2013, Online

Freight Week 2013
2-6 September 2013, Melbourne, Australia

Trafinz Annual Conference
3-6 September 2013, Rotorua, New Zealand

Australian ITS Summit
18-20 September 2013, Sydney, Australia