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November 2016

The Road Efficiency Group supports the road transport sector in its transition to the One Network Road Classification and business case approach to investment planning.

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Variability - still an issue?

The Road Efficiency Group was set up to enable the implementation of the Road Maintenance Taskforce recommendations, including to better understand and, where possible, iron out high variability in costs nationally.

The implementation of the ONRC and business case approach is addressing the issue, but it’s a slow process and we can see from the graph below (which is current) that variability across local authorities is still significant.


Variability of cost is not necessarily a problem – the real issue is that at the moment we can’t fully understand and explain the reasons for it. Why is it normal for some networks to cost up to four times more than other comparable networks?

The purpose of the enquiry-based approach to business planning is to tease out the reasons for high cost variability so we can gain a nuanced understanding of the state of local roads, what works and what doesn’t. This approach requires an open mind from funders and asset managers and a level of comfort with identifying deficits, and recognising them as opportunities.

Comparative reporting is an essential tool for this business case approach – it is very hard to show our communities that we are delivering a good service to them without it.

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ONRC Performance Measures: why REG removed some targets

REG has been fielding questions at workshops about why some ONRC targets for roughness have been removed.

In a discussion between HNO and some local authorities, it was identified that roughness on high volume urban roads was usually higher than the existing target, but did not seem to be a problem for users.

The existing target had been set by road engineers based on technical experience and perhaps some intuition, not on the level of service acceptable to customers as this was not known. Moving forward, REG will work with the Transport Agency to agree a programme of work, including research projects through the Agency’s annual research programme, to address this issue.

Until then we request that local authorities use the comparative reporting tool to gauge and benchmark the roughness of your roads.

Obviously having confidence in your data will be an important part of building your evidence base. If local authorities have an appetite for accurate and achievable targets, building a national picture of the situation is essential.

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Update of ONRC Reporting Tool

The ONRC reporting tool is moving into sync with the complete ONRC performance measures released in September.

The two had developed slightly differently due to the demands of their different mediums and the conversations these provoked – the reporting tool is an agile resource while the performance measures must be a stable framework. The ONRC and Data subgroups have been working hard on the issue and resolved most inconsistencies – this work will continue.

With the change from a ‘target and gap’ approach to more comparative analysis there is an opportunity to make the tool even more useful. It will continue to evolve to provide more functionality and address the questions that will help you assess, evaluate and challenge your approach to network management.

New functionality will be reported in the REG newsletter as it comes onstream.

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First edition of Data Standard for Road Maintenance and Investment

Austroads has published the first version of the Data Standard for Road Maintenance and Investment.

The Standard has been developed in response to a need to harmonise data sets that support common road management and investment activities.

The Standard establishes a common understanding of the meaning of data collected by road agencies, to ensure it is correctly used and interpreted. It specifically relates to data that is typically used for road management and investment purposes.

This version of the Data Standard has been prepared following extensive consultation with road managers. It is acknowledged however that there is still work to be done to ready the content for implementation.

Work has started on a first revision with an expectation that the second version of the Data Standard will be available in 2017.  Australian and New Zealand stakeholders will be consulted on both the revised version and a staged implementation plan. This first version of the Standard is provided for information as a technical report.

Ultimately it is planned that users will be able to access the completed data standard as a PDF document and via online tools that support its application and use.

The Standard will benefit any road manager who uses data for road research, policy development, expenditure comparisons, funding approvals, performance or outcome reporting, shared services, and inter-organisation communications.

To find out more about this project and receive project updates and consultation invitations, register with the project website.

REG supports the work of Austroads in developing a data standard. We would value your thoughts on how as a sector we can make the most of this opportunity as it is implemented over the next few years.

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Round 6 workshops

The focus on using the ONRC Customer Levels of Service and performance measures to develop your strategic case and activity management plan will continue. There will be further discussion about communications and engagement with elected members and executives. A regional council presentation will make the local and regional links to strategic problems. And NZTA will present on how your BCA AMPs will be assessed through the Investment Assessment Framework.

Please remember to invite your senior management to the first half hour and bring along your Action Learning Tasks: comms and engagement planning, levels of service gap analysis, and an update of your transition plans.

Northland/Auckland 21 November Orewa, NZTA Customer Service Centre
Bay of Plenty 22 November Tauranga City Council, Willow Street building
Taranaki/Manawatu/Rangitikei 5 December Horowhenua District Council
Hawkes Bay/Gisborne 23 November Napier City Council
Wellington 25 November West Plaza Hotel

Canterbury 18 November Lincoln Event Centre
Southland/Otago 22 November Queenstown Event Centre, Frankton
Top of South/West Coast 30 November Alpine Lodge, St Arnaud
Waikato 7 December Sir Don Rowlands Centre, Lake Karapiro

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The timelines are getting tighter…Business case & AMP milestones

The timeline for developing your LTP and activity planning is getting tighter - this list of milestones shows where you should be.

(note: we have continued to include milestones that have passed as a checklist for progress and a reminder of the process.)

Understand the context for your AMP

May-August 2016: Review current strategy and start developing your strategic case. Complete self-assessment. Early engagement with key stakeholders and begin Point-of-Entry discussions with NZ Transport Agency (Round 4,5&6 workshops).

Resources: State Highway AMP, Auckland Transport 2015-18 AMP, Central Otago DC 2015/16-25/26 AMP Review, Auckland Transport ONRC gap analysis; REG online case studies.

Develop your AMP (timing variable between regions)

August-September 2016: Trial CLoS and performance measures and assess gaps in data. Identify network performance issues (Round 5&6 workshops).

Resources: REG online case study: Maintaining and renewing sealed pavements under the ONRC; ONRC Performance Measures – a general guide for using CLoS and performance measures.

October-November 2016: Develop a programme of activities to address network performance issues by assessing against defined strategic case problems (Round 7 workshops).

January-March 2017: Undertake gap analysis and identify benefits (Round 8 workshops).

Resources: REG online case study: Improved Option Selection - forward works programme optimisation.

May-August 2017: Identify programmes requiring investment or disinvestment.

Resources: REG online case study: NZTA programme review process.

July-October 2017: Finalise BCA AMP to enable engagement in LTP/RLTP process.

Resources: NZTA and regional councils available to advise.

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