Latest Austroads news, publications and upcoming seminars
No Images? Click here

Welcome to the November 2015 issue of AustroadsNews

This edition has information about progress on delivering National Road Safety Strategy, a trial of bicycle boulevards in SA and WA, a new robotic bridge inspector developed with RMS NSW, release of the PIARC Road Safety Manual, new road freight data and digital freight routes map, as well as a run-down on our latest publications, and links to upcoming seminars and conferences.

If you have been forwarded this email you can subscribe here to receive future updates.


Austroads 2014-15 year in review

Each year Austroads produces an annual report which details its work program, operations and financial management.

2014-15 was a year of significant time of change for Austroads with the appointment of a new Chair and Chief Executive.

This is the penultimate year for the delivery of the Austroads Strategic Plan 2012-16 and significant progress has been made delivering the strategic priorities outlined in the plan.

The annual report provides a detailed review of the strategic focus of each Austroads Program as well as the projects completed and progressed during the year.

At a glance, in 2014-15 Austroads:

  • invested $9.5m in its research work program
  • undertook work in 166 projects
  • completed 59 projects (20 more than last year)
  • published 77 reports and updates to the Austroads Guides
  • enabled 266,000 Austroads publications to be sold and downloaded
  • hosted 340 practitioners at the Austroads Bridge Conference
  • enabled 100 million NEVDIS database transactions.



Updated traffic theory guidelines incorporate latest congestion and managed motorways research

Austroads has published an updated edition of Guide to Traffic Management Part 2: Traffic Theory.

The Guide provides practitioners with the theoretical background needed to appreciate the nature of traffic behaviour, and to undertake analyses required to develop and assess traffic management plans and road design proposals.

The 2015 edition includes a number of significant updates.

A new section is provided on the Kinemetic wave model. The kinematic model assumes that high density traffic will behave like a continuous fluid and is also called a continuum model. The model considers the traffic process in time and space, which is more suitable for high density conditions and therefore has its place in analysing flow breakdowns.

New supplementary material is provided on an alternative method of calculating delay in gap acceptance situations. Gap acceptance theory is commonly used in the analysis of uncontrolled intersections and defines the extent drivers will be able to use a gap of particular size or duration.

A new section on congestion management theory reflects the latest Austroads research findings regarding freeway flow under congested conditions. This area of traffic management has been given increased attention by transport professionals.

Much of the theory underlying the developing approaches to flow management is not new but draws on the established relationships of traffic flow. However, using different ways of viewing key traffic characteristics, particularly density, researchers and traffic managers have been able to gain new insights into freeway performance and guidance on how that performance can be improved.

Austroads recent research work on ramp metering, variable speed limits and other managed motorway tools is provided in a new section Principles Underlying Managed Motorways.

The management of motorways under congested flow conditions is a relatively new focus for road agencies. The new section provides guidance on:

  • the causes and impacts of flow breakdowns
  • motorway operational capacity
  • merge capacity for a managed motorway with ramp signals
  • the theory underlying variable speed limits.

The new content was prepared by Clarissa Han, James Luk and Kaveh Bevrani from ARRB Group. Dave Landmark, Main Roads Western Australia, project managed the update.

The PDF version of Part 2 is $61.60 to download. Hard copies are $77 + postage and handling.

Austroads members can download all PDF versions of the Guides for free. This includes all state and territory road agencies and local councils in Australia and New Zealand.

To request your user login and password for free access please send an email from your work email address to


Updated guidance on treatment of crash locations 

Austroads has released an updated edition of Guide to Road Safety Part 8: Treatment of Crash Locations.

The Guide contains practical, hands-on advice to help practitioners in road agencies investigate and treat locations on the road system which are experiencing crashes. By effectively treating these locations, through the application of effective engineering solutions, the number and severity of crashes can be reduced.

Treatment of Crash Locations explains the step-by-step process of how to identify crash locations, diagnose the crash problem and its causes, how to select a countermeasure which targets the problem, design a safe remedial treatment and establish its cost-effectiveness.

The guide also provides information on sources of road crash data and how engineering improvements fit into an overall road safety strategy.

The structure of this second edition of the Guide has been substantially revised. Other significant changes include: increased linkages to and inclusion of ‘proactive’ measures; added information on developing a program to address crash risk; inclusion of greater detail on the Safe System approach; additional countermeasures; updating terminology; increased focus on route reviews; and commentary has been added on prioritising fatal and severe injury crashes over other crashes.

The new content was prepared by Blair Turner, Michael Tziotis, Paul Hillier, David Beck and Tariro Makwasha from ARRB Group. Colin Brodie, NZ Transport Agency, coordinated the update.

The PDF version of the Guide is $88 to download. Hard copies are $110 + postage and handling.

Austroads members can download all PDF versions of the Guides for free. This includes all state and territory road agencies and local councils in Australia and New Zealand.

To request your user login and password for free access please send an email from your work email address to


Motorcycle In-depth Crash Study  

Motorcyclists represent an increasing proportion of road crash casualties in NSW and Australia.

To develop effective countermeasures a better understanding is needed of the risk factors influencing crash involvement and poor injury outcomes among motorcyclists. 

Austroads has released the results of an in-depth investigation into a sample of motorcycle crashes which provides new insight into crash contributing factors and will help inform the development of targeted road safety policies and programs to reduce motorcycle crashes and road trauma.

The crash sample included 102 riders, comprising 92 serious injury crashes and 10 fatal injury crashes.  The 102 crashes were reviewed by the multidisciplinary panel. A total of 336 control riders were surveyed, providing matched controls for 99 of the crashes.

The results of the study indicate that riders using sports motorcycles have greater odds of being involved in serious injury crashes than riders using other motorcycle types. Riding an unfamiliar motorcycle also significantly increased the odds of being in the crash sample.

A new finding is that riders who rode the crash location daily had seven times the odds of being in the crash sample than the control sample.

The older the rider, the lower the odds they were in the crash sample. However older riders who were in the crash sample had significantly longer stays in hospital compared to younger riders. This indication of increased severity of outcome with older age has not been previously reported in motorcyclists.


Managing Heavy Vehicle Speed on Steep Descents

There have been a number of crashes and incidents involving heavy vehicles on long, steep descents. Some heavy vehicle drivers, particularly those who are inexperienced or unfamiliar with the terrain, may not select an appropriate gear. 

In response to these issues Austroads established a research project to determine whether there is a technical solution that can provide appropriate early warning of unsafe operations by heavy vehicle drivers on descents.

The project report includes a literature review and examination of infrastructure-based, vehicle-based and infrastructure-to-vehicle smart solutions. It did not review systems such as truck escape ramps and safety ramps, which the technological solution is intended to complement rather than replace.

The literature review was able to determine that there are not many infrastructure-based technological systems operating, and there is only limited data on effectiveness. Where the systems have been formally assessed, the assessments indicated a positive effect on driver behaviour.

Although no studies relating to the safety benefits of in-vehicle telematics or DSRC for steep descents were found, the review incorporated searches for general information on the capabilities of telematics devices. Based on general claims about the technical capabilities of in-vehicle telematics, the review was able to identify, on an elementary level, how they may serve as a warning system to heavy vehicle drivers and possibly intervene prior to an incident.

Additionally, this study also was able to use a heavy vehicle thermal brake model to examine the effect that road grade, vehicle speed, retarder level and vehicle mass had on brake temperatures on steep downgrades.

The study found that the vehicle mass and grade had the largest effect on brake temperatures, while retardation power and vehicle speeds had a lesser, but still significant effect at times.


Strong progress made on delivering National Road Safety Strategy

A progress report shows that the annual number of people killed in road crashes has been reduced by almost one-fifth under the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020.

The Implementation Status Report 2015, recently endorsed by the Transport and Infrastructure Council,  also reports on the progress that has been made to implement the 19 priority actions identified in the strategy’s supporting National Road Safety Action Plan 2015-17.

Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack welcomed the Status Report and stressed the importance of tracking progress under the National Road Safety Strategy.

“All Governments are working toward the vision championed by the National Road Safety Strategy that no person should be killed or injured on Australia’s roads.

“This report shows a considerable amount of work is under way across Australia to reduce deaths and injuries by implementing the National Road Safety Strategy through the efforts of all Australian Governments,” Mr McCormack said.

“The report demonstrates some positive progress is being achieved. It shows a reduction in deaths by almost one third of young drivers and motorcycle riders.

“We can also see clearly where our key challenges lie. Sadly, deaths of cyclists, as well as deaths of older drivers and riders, have increased significantly.

The Implementation Status Report is available from a new website which will provide a hub for information on the strategy, provide public progress reports and clearly explain the key policy principles and directions taken under the Strategy.  


Bicycle boulevards on trial

Bicycle boulevards provide a low-speed environment on quiet, low-traffic streets where more people feel comfortable to ride.

The infrastructure encourages people to cycle, rather than drive, for short to medium trips, including to the shops, to school and to connect with public transport. Bicycle boulevards are new to Australia, but they are used around the world in cities such as Portland, Seattle, Vancouver and Amsterdam.

Western Australia and South Australia are currently trialling bicycle boulevards in their cities.

The South Australian designs incorporate raised median refuge crossings, raised junction platforms and intersections, traffic calming, sharrows and wayfinding, and new bicycle and pedestrian signals. 

​Western Australia is proposing to build the first three bicycle boulevards in the cities of Vincent, Bayswater and Belmont. Design considerations include slowing motorised traffic with bike friendly traffic calming;  reducing traffic volumes; adding two-metre wide refuge islands at busy road crossings; providing plateaus at intersections; providing cyclists with priority at most intersections; and reviewing on-street parking. 

NACTO's Urban Bikeway Design Guide has a section devoted to bicycle boulevard planning and design along with links to research and other US based guidance.

The CROW Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic provides planning and design guidance for the Dutch approach to cycle streets.


Robotic bridge inspector awarded best solution to workplace health and safety

Roads and Maritime Services NSW has been recognised for excellence in work place health and safety after being awarded the Safe Work NSW Award for ‘Best solution for an identified workplace health and safety issue’.

It’s all thanks to a robot which was designed to improve workers safety by climbing to inspect the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The award winning robot, known as CROC, is the result of six years collaborative research and development between Roads and Maritime and researchers at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

Roads and Maritime approached UTS to jointly develop the robotic system for steel bridge inspection to reduce the risk to bridge workers and improve health and safety.

CROC is a fully autonomous robot with seven degrees of freedom complete with a 3D sensor and high definition camera designed to automatically explore complex environments like the interior of the box girder arches of the Harbour Bridge.

CROC can plan its own path using maps generated from its 3D sensor while gathering high definition images. The images are then collected and stored into a Geographic Information System (GIS) to help inspectors assess bridge conditions.

Its autonomous function means the robot can help the Roads and Maritime maintenance team to protect and preserve the intricate steelwork on the world’s tallest and widest steel arch bridge to improve bridge worker safety and productivity.


World Road Association releases updated Road Safety Manual

To coincide with the 25th World Road Congress, the World Road Association has released the second edition of its Road Safety Manual, produced under the coordination of ARRB Group.

The Road Safety Manual is one of the flagship products of the World Road Association. The new manual is a significant contribution to the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety. The Road Safety Manual Task Force comprises of 11 participants including Austroads representative George Mavroyeni from VicRoads.

The online resource is delivered in three parts:

Part I introduces the wide range of problems facing road safety professionals around the world and looks at the strategic issues involved in developing a management system.

  • Chapter 1: Scope of the road safety problem
  • Chapter 2: Key developments in road safety

Part II presents strategies for delivering targeted improvements and detailed guidance on how to plan, design, prioritize, implement, and manage these interventions within a country’s road network.

  • Chapter 3: The road safety management system
  • Chapter 4: The safety system approach
  • Chapter 5: Effectiveness and use of safety data
  • Chapter 6: Road safety targets, policies, and plans

Part III demonstrates the safety impacts and value created by adopting the global strategies.

  • Chapter 7: Roles, responsibilities, and management capacity
  • Chapter 8: Policies, standards, guidelines, and other tools
  • Chapter 9: The human factor: Design for road user characteristics
  • Chapter 10: Assessing potential risks and identifying issues
  • Chapter 11: Intervention selection and prioritization
  • Chapter 12: Monitoring and evaluation of effectiveness of actions



New road freight data to inform road planning

Policy makers will have access to better data on road freight movements to inform future road planning, with a joint Federal and State funded report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showing the first snapshot of road freight movements in 13 years.

The study, funded by government transport agencies, addresses a major gap in information about the movement of Freight within Australia via road.

The report shows articulated and rigid trucks in Australia moved over 2 billion tonnes of freight over a distance of 17 billion kilometres in the 12 months to October 2014, with just under three quarters (71.2 per cent) of the total tonnes originating in either New South Wales, Victoria or Queensland.

Amanda Clark from the ABS said road freight originating from New South Wales represents one quarter (25.3 per cent) of all road freight transported in Australia. This was followed by Queensland at 23.4 per cent.

Over 95 per cent of the total tonnes carried by road were carried within the same state of origin and destination.

“Sand, stone and gravel was the most common commodity moved across all states and territories, making up about 23 per cent of the total tonnes moved across Australia,” Ms Clark said.

More details are available in Road Freight Movements, Australia, 2014 (cat. no 9223.0) available from the ABS website.


Digital freight routes map 

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development has released a digital version of the key freight route map. The map provides a picture of the road and rail routes connecting Australia's nationally significant places for freight, including ports, airports and intermodal terminals. The map also details road train assembly areas and how these connect to the key freight routes and secondary freight routes.

The map enables users to overlay other base maps and datasets, and focuses on
mapping the location of Australia’s key resources and energy locations, including iron ore, coal, copper, gold, and major oil and gas facilities.

The digitalised map builds on the release in 2014 of Australia’s first ever national key freight routes map, which was part of the National Land Freight Strategy.


Government to review vehicle emissions

The Government has announced that it will take a whole of government approach to addressing vehicle emissions.

A Ministerial Forum, chaired by the Minister for Territories, Local Government and Major Projects, the Hon Paul Fletcher, will examine vehicle emissions standards and vehicle testing arrangements. 

The Forum's terms of reference outline the issues to be examined, including:

  • implementation of Euro 6 or equivalent standards for new vehicles;
  • fuel efficiency (CO2) measures for new light vehicles;
  • fuel quality standards;
  • emissions testing arrangements for vehicles in conjunction with international regulatory agencies to ensure robust testing;
  • Australian Government measures under the National Clean Air Agreement;
  • Emissions Reduction Fund and Safeguard Mechanism—transport measures;
  • future infrastructure to support new vehicles, including funding available through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Australian Renewable Energy Agency; and
  • National Energy Productivity Plan.

A working group supporting the forum will report by :

  • 30 June 2016 on options for managing fuel quality standards, options for new measurement reporting standards for air pollutants under the National Clean Air Agreement and other measures.
  •  31 March 2017 on a draft implementation plan for new measures—aligning with the Government's commitment to announce new measures to deliver Australia's 2030 climate change targets.



2016 Australasian Road Safety Conference: Call for Abstracts

Following the success of the inaugural Australasian Road Safety Conference, the 2016 Australasian Road Safety Conference (ARSC2016) is shaping up to continue the momentum by bringing the event to Australia's seat of federal parliament. 

ARSC2016, will be hosted by the Australasian College of Road Safety, Austroads and The George Institute for Global Health. 

With a theme of “Agility, Innovation, IMPACT!”, the Conference will be a multi-disciplinary event featuring representatives from all facets of road and transport safety.

Road safety professionals are invited to submit extended abstracts for ARSC2016 under the following broad topic areas:

  • Road Safety Management
  • Road Infrastructure (Safer Roads)
  • Safer Vehicles
  • Road User Behaviour
  • Post-Crash Care, Data and Crash Analysis

​The conference will run from 6-8 September 2016. Abstracts are due 12 February.


Upcoming Workshops + Conferences

Corrosion & Prevention 2015 
15-18 November 2015, Adelaide, South Australia

ALGA 2015 National Local Roads and Transport Congress
17-19 November 2015, Ballarat, Victoria

NEW 2015 Small Bridges Conference
23-24 November 2015, Melbourne

NEW 2015 Earth Structures and Retention Conference
23 -24 November 2015, Melbourne

World of Asphalt 2016 
22-25 March 2016, Nashville, Tennessee, United States

Sixth International Conference on Traffic and Transport Psychology
2-5 August 2016, Brisbane, Queensland

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

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