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Newsletter September 2016

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

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ONRC Performance Measures launched

The ONRC Performance Measures are now available on the REG website.

These are the complete, final suite of measures for asset managers to use when preparing your Activity Management Plans and submissions for the 2018 National Land Transport Programme.

There are now just 27 performance measures: 9 for customer outcomes, 13 for technical outputs, and 5 for cost efficiency. They cover Safety, Resilience, Amenity, Accessibility, Travel Time Reliability and Cost Efficiency.

Many of you will be aware that REG originally identified 71 measures when we began developing them in 2014. After feedback, and also through general agreement within the group, they have been scaled back and reframed in a simpler format. Some of the valuable insights which were collected during that initial process will be re-presented as good practice prompts and guides for circulation through the newsletter and website.

The ONRC performance measures will greatly assist our ability to manage the entire national road network, with major implications for cost and targeting of maintenance and new infrastructure. However they will only be as robust as the data which underpins them, and we ask that everyone works hard to ensure a high level of accuracy in their inputs to RAMM and the ONRC Reporting Tool.

REG seeks feedback from the sector, as this is an ongoing conversation.  However we emphasise that the measures will not change before 2018.

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Road Maintenance Procurement: delivery model guidelines

These are now available on the website.

REG’s procurement subgroup has produced the guidelines after substantial research, analysing 11 case studies and conducting an international literature review.

They include a selection matrix of key client drivers to help RCAs choose an appropriate delivery model. 

We hope these guidelines will help RCAs avoid duplication of effort and realise greater value for money in their procurement practices.

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ONRC – an idea whose time had come! or – the quiet revolution

(parting thoughts from Dave Brash, who is leaving the Transport Agency after 8 years and moving into contract consulting)

I came across the idea of a single road classification when I first arrived at the NZ Transport Agency in 2008 – and it had been talked about long before I showed up. 

Once I got my head around the idea I could see the potential – but then wondered why it hadn’t made much progress?  The answer was that it was seen by NZTA and other RCAs as a technical issue, but it actually goes to the core of central and local government political priorities and the vexed question of funding – always fraught areas!!  

I asked myself where was the mandate? and where was the compelling reason for change?   The answer had to await the formation of the Road Maintenance Task Force (RMTF). 

Set up by Minister Steven Joyce in 2011, led by the redoubtable Jim Harland, and involving councils and the industry, the RMTF was tasked to look at how New Zealand could drive greater efficiencies into maintenance and operations.  Thus proving the old adage that timing is everything in making major changes in public policy! 

It didn’t take long for the RMTF to realise the sector needed a common framework to drive value for money. Big questions like - how do I know the road is fit for purpose? How do I compare roads and measure the performance of Road Controlling Authorities?  How do I define customer levels of service?  The development of the One Network Road Classification (ONRC) was a key recommendation from the taskforce and was designed to provide answers to these questions. 

NZTA and LGNZ leadership realised that if the ONRC was to work, it had to be an ongoing collaboration between NZTA and RCAs.  The result was the birth of REG!  It wasn’t an easy birth.  There was a lot of suspicion (paranoia even) between the parties.  Was this just a cunning plot for an NZTA take over?   Was this about cutting funding to councils?  Were councils serious about the need for change?  It took us months to even agree an independent chair, get the right people to the table and resource the joint work. 

Over the last three years a genuine partnership has emerged, and consequently enormous progress has been made.  NZTA and every council has adopted and applied the ONRC, and we all have implementation plans in place.  Levels of service definitions and performance measures have been developed, we are working hard on data standards, benchmarking, and putting this work into Activity Management Plans.

I am confident that we are on track and there are already examples of NZTA and councils extracting greater value for money out of their maintenance, operations and renewal programmes as a result of the ONRC.  However, REG has always had a broader vision for the ONRC.  To my mind there are three additional prizes at stake here:

• Prize 1 – enabling genuine evidence-based conversations with communities about the levels of service they want and are willing to pay for in their area.

• Prize 2 – greater certainty of funding for councils – NZTA is proposing to use the ONRC to create a baseline for NLTF long term investment - not having funding zero-based every three years will provide much more certainty for planning, activity management and contracting, which is especially important for the smaller councils where roads are a large part of their budget.

• Prize 3 – explaining to road users what they can expect on their journey ie:  providing information to customers via signage, the web and other information sources on the type of road and the customer levels of service.

Finally, thank you to all those who have committed their time and enthusiasm to making this revolution happen.  It’s been a great ride, and I look forward to seeing it all come to fruition over the next few years.

Regards Dave Brash

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ONRC online map

The NZ Transport Agency has created an online map of the ONRC in response to user feedback.

Asset managers can now view most of the New Zealand road network by classification. This should be particularly useful when roads cross local authority boundaries and should make errors easier to spot – for example if a road classification changes on a short segment for no apparent reason across RCA boundaries. It should also be useful when you need to know the classification of a state highway at major intersections.

If you hover your mouse over a road, you will be able to view the vehicle and HCV volumes. 

The map will assist in future ONRC moderation by providing regional context.

Please contact the geospatial team at the Transport Agency if you have feedback. Note the map may not display correctly in some internet browsers.

Any errors detected can be submitted to the next moderation process.

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New research

The research report Measuring the Value of the Movement of People and Goods (RR 592) is likely to be released by the New Zealand Transport Agency in the next couple of weeks.

The report raises some interesting points about the One Network Road Classification (ONRC) which will be considered in time for the 2021-24 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP). 

While REG takes note of research on the network and economic issues which affect our work programme, it is important for RCAs to be aware that the current ONRC methodology will remain the basis for assessing the network and customer levels of service for the 2018 NLTP.

Also, the focus on collecting and building solid data through the ONRC performance measures will continue.

RCAs which follow the new business case approach, and develop robust data to support their investment story, will be well placed to submit a strong AMP for the 2018-21 NLTP.

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Data update

Cost efficiency
RAMM Software Ltd has created a field to record “work origin” in RAMM for the carriageway surface and pavement layer detail screens – this enables the NZTA work category to be recorded for where the asset was funded from (e.g. w/c 214 – sealed road pavement rehabilitation) to assist in recording not only the original cost of constructing the asset, but also the “work category”.  This will help each RCA to differentiate those surfacings and pavement layers which were rehab, resurfacing, vested assets, minor improvements, capital works etc.  REG is keen for all RCAs to record this data to support future reporting of the ONRC Efficiency Measures.

Annual data import
REG aims to take an annual snapshot of data in July/August each year to build trend information - the first snapshot was taken in August.  A follow up email was sent to RCAs who have not imported their data for 2015/16 or "locked it" ready for the snapshot to be taken.  If you received this email please do action this as we are all relying on each other to have up-to-date comparative data for self-benchmarking, and to track future trends.

Future development
> Functionality for viewing state highway outcomes by region, by Network Outcomes Contract areas, and by local authority area, is currently in beta testing to be available in September.

> Development is underway for functionality to enable comparative reporting by nominated Peer Groups. It is likely to be available in late September to assist with "self-benchmarking."

> Development is planned for September/October for functionality to provide users with Post Import Data Validation (i.e. what data issues arise at time of data import such as missing crashes for safety outcomes).

> Giving Regional Council officers access to the reporting tool: user specification is under development to ensure functionality meets users' needs for RLTPs.

> Now that the ONRC performance measures have been confirmed and released, some aspects will need to be reflected in the reporting tool - either how a measure is calculated (e.g. peak roughness) or how the output is displayed bringing peer group or national outcomes into the single reporting screen.  This development work is currently being scoped and will be rolled out as soon as possible.  The initial focus will be on customer outcome measures. Once they are completed, work will commence on the technical output measures.

> The development of some "input measures" is also being scoped so that RCAs can record customer outcomes which are calculated outside of the tool - such as accessibility and resilience measures.  These are likely to be available relatively quickly as there is no data sourcing or calculation required within the tool.


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September REGional workshops

The Round 5 workshops are being held this month. They will look at the ONRC performance measures and how to apply them, engagement and communications, and continue to support asset managers in developing your AMPs.

Dates and locations are:

Waikato 2 September (Waipa host council)

Canterbury 9 September (Ashburton host council)

Southland & Otago 13 September (Dunedin host council)

Gisborne & Hawke’s Bay 13 September (Hastings host council)

Top of the South & West Coast 19 September (Westland host council)

Taranaki, Manawatu & Wanganui 19 September (Palmerston North host council)

Wellington 20 September (Wellington host council)

Bay of Plenty 20 September (Tauranga host council)

Northland & Auckland 26 September (Orewa host council)

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Business case & AMP milestones and timeline

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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