Federal Government must flex its muscles to drive
improved road safety outcomes

The Reviving Road Safety Strategy released by the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) this week makes a compelling case for stronger Federal leadership to help turn around Australia’s road toll.

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Projects added to Infrastructure Priority List

Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 3A, three sections of the Bruce Highway in Queensland, and a new four-lane bridge at Nowra on the NSW South Coast have all been added to the latest Infrastructure Priority List after their business cases were approved by Infrastructure Australia.

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Driverless cars ‘not necessarily a force for good’, says ITLS

A new report from the University of Sydney’s Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS) warns that governments must act now to prevent runaway urban sprawl and “intolerable” levels of road congestion brought about by new disruptive technologies in the transport sector.

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Plenary has announced the appointment of David Lamming to take over from Paul Oppenheim as Asia Pacific CEO from 1 January 2020. David has been an important leader in the Plenary business since its establishment in 2004. Formerly the Head of Origination, he currently holds the position of Chief Investment Officer.

Leading road safety advocate Professor Mike Regan from the University of NSW was presented with the prestigious 2019 ACRS Fellowship at last night’s ACRS Award Ceremony in Adelaide. The Award recognises his global impact and leadership in transport human factors and road safety. Mike has designed and led around 150 research projects in Australia and Europe on subjects that include driver distraction and inattention, automated and intelligent vehicles, and human error in crash causation.

Bronwyn Evans has been appointed the new CEO of Engineers Australia. Dr Evans brings a wealth of leadership, commercial and policy expertise from a career spanning corporate and not-for-profit roles, including CEO of Standards Australia and senior executive roles at Cochlear Ltd and GE Healthcare.

Arcadis has welcomed Anthony Lusher to its Environment and Waste team as Principal Environmental Consultant. Anthony has over 10 years’ experience across environmental research, environmental assessment and approvals, environmental management and compliance – most recently playing a leading role in the delivery of environmental approvals for one of NSW’s largest infrastructure projects, WestConnex Stage 3A M4-M5 Link Mainline Tunnels.

In recognition of its status as Queensland’s biggest infrastructure project, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has appointed Kate Jones as Minister for Cross River Rail.

A reminder that nominations for the 2019 RA Young Professionals PPP Award close on 11 October. You can find out more on the YP’s page of our website, or by contacting Marlie Curtis. Meantime, nominations for the 2019 RA Technical Excellence Award also close next month (14 October). For more information, contact Mark Bowmer.


Last week in Melbourne Roads Australia and ARRB co-convened a roundtable to consider how to optimise the use of recycled content in roads. The key take-out was the need to review all current standards and specifications to allow for recycled materials in roads. There was strong support for a coordinated and collaborative approach from industry, key stakeholders and government, supported by research, testing and data to give government confidence to optimise the use of recycled content materials.

Don’t forget our Electric Vehicles and Renewable Energy in Transport Forum in Sydney on October 2, where we’ll have a range of experts on hand to consider the emerging uptake of electric and alternative fuel vehicles, how to shift and reduce energy demands from imported fuel to electricity, the opportunities around hydrogen, and what pump hydro can offer in terms of providing renewable, stored energy to the Sydney network.


The WA Government has this month called for Expressions of Interest for the $852 million Bunbury Outer Ring Road. Works include design and construction of 27-kilometres of four-lane freeway and 24 bridges, including seven grade separated interchanges, four grade separated overpasses,
four river crossings and two rail crossings. EOIs close on Tue, 29 October.

And still in WA, a tender has been called to develop the business case for the removal of level crossings along the inner Armadale Line in Perth. The Government has extended it initial commitment to removing three crossings to six, split into two packages – the first for level crossings at Mint Street, Oats Street and Welshpool Road, and the second with crossings at Hamilton Street, Wharf Street and William Street.

The Federal Government and Brisbane City Council have reached an agreement that will will see nine Urban Congestion Fund projects commence construction within 12 to 24 months. The nine projects include intersection and road upgrades at Bracken Ridge, Ransome, Newstead, Indooroopilly, Mount Gravatt and Rochedale. The Commonwealth and BCC say they will also work with the Queensland Government to remove the Lindum Rail Level Crossing and the Coopers Plains Level Crossing. Planning for both of these projects is underway.

The Federal Government has this week released an updated version of it population plan which includes and confirms a number of recent planning and investment decisions, including fast rail connections between the big capitals and their respective regional centres and the allocation of $2 billion to get the first fast rail connection from Melbourne to Geelong built as quickly as possible.

In WA, the tender to build the $50 million Bellevue railcar facility that will manufacture and service locally built METRONET railcars has been released to market. The facility is a 180-metre-long main building housing offices, workshops and storage areas and includes two overhead cranes capable of lifting 25 tonnes each, and one heavy maintenance railroad with a crane which can lift up to 10 tonnes.

The ACT Government has put out to tender the detailed design work for two road improvements – the final 4.5 kilometre unduplicated section of William Hovell Drive between Drake Brockman Drive and John Gorton Drive, and upgrades to Morisset Road to support future development in the area.

An intelligent crash avoidance system currently being trialled in south-east Queensland has taken out this year’s 3M-ACRS Diamond Road Safety Award. Hold the Red (HTR) uses radar to track the speed of individual vehicles approaching an intersection. The system can accurately predict if a vehicle is able to stop in time, and if not triggers the signal controls to extend the all-red phase by two seconds so drivers in cross lanes don’t enter the intersection. The project was led by Peter Kolesnik, Director of Road Safety Programs at the Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR), alongside team members Allan Hales, Manu Hingorani, Connor Broe, Denis Floyd and Matt Baylis.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is holding industry briefings in Brisbane (11 October), Melbourne (14 October) and Sydney (17 October) to coincide with Expression of Interest calls on two key Inland Rail contracts – the Narrabri to North Star SP-1 track upgrade (approx. 171 km) and the program-wide supply of sleepers (approx. 1.44 million concrete sleepers). Expression of Interest documents for the track upgrade contract are expected to be available on Friday 4 October, and for the sleeper supply contract Monday 30 September. You can register to attend one of the briefings here.

The Victorian Government will create an Australian-first tunnelling training centre in Melbourne to help deliver projects like the Metro and West Gate tunnels. The $16-million, state-of-the-art Victorian Tunnelling Centre (VTC) will be located at Holmesglen Institute’s Drummond Street campus in Chadstone and will take its first students in Semester 1 next year. It’s expected the centre will train around 3,500 local workers in tunnel boring machine (TBM) operation and underground construction each year. The centre will include both mined tunnel and TBM replica tunnels.

The official opening earlier this month of the $1.6 billion Toowoomba Second Range Crossing (TSRC) was not just a celebratory occasion for the Commonwealth and Queensland governments and PPP partner Nexus Infrastructure. Clayton Utz acted as legal advisers to the Queensland Government on the project from its 2012 business case right through to its procurement and delivery. CU’s Major Projects and Construction partner David Lester said it was a privilege for his team to be involved in such a milestone project.

The call for entries is open for the 2020 Australian Construction Achievement Award. Submissions are due by 7 November. The winner will be announced at a black-tie presentation dinner on Thursday 21 May in Melbourne.

Transport innovation

A trial will soon begin using rubber from old tyres in the asphalt of a busy Melbourne road.
A contract has recently been signed between Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) and the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) which marks the beginning of this vital research. The project will be co-funded by TSA, the Victorian Department of Transport and ARRB. The asphalt will be laid on a 1.5 km southbound section of East Boundary Rd, between Centre Rd and South Rd, in Bentleigh East. Lab and field testing will be conducted at regular intervals, with a final report due by mid 2022.

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) researcher Sourav Garg has developed a visual recognition system for autonomous cars that mimics a human driver’s ability to recognise locations when approaching from different directions and under radically different environmental conditions. Sourav’s research outlines how navigation systems can take existing captured information and analyse it in a new way so they can recognise locations they’ve previously gone past, even though they may be approaching from a different direction and landmarks are flipped and potentially partially obscured.

Meantime, a team of electrical and biomedical engineers from the University of Melbourne have won a $3 million Commonwealth grant to research and predict the activity and patterns of autonomous vehicles as they relate to human and animal movement. The team will build on state-of-the-art techniques in automatic control, neuro-engineering, robotics and signal processing, applying biomedical and engineering insights into the principles of navigation, spatial awareness and perception in animals and machines.

New vehicle safety technology will be put to the test at higher speeds and over longer distances at Australia’s first ever, 5-star safety testing facility, to be built on a disused airstrip at Cudal in central-western NSW. Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole says the new facility will be a game changer, with organisations and manufacturers no longer forced to test new vehicle technologies overseas to receive a safety rating. The facility will also be used to test emerging technologies such as communication between cars and traffic lights, along with continued development of smart highways.

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall has this week released his Government’s Hydrogen Action Plan, including the commitment of over $1 million towards a landmark study to identify optimal locations for renewable hydrogen production and export infrastructure. The Plan sets out 20 key actions across five areas to help scale-up renewable hydrogen production for export and domestic consumption.

The UK Government is developing a new safety assurance system for connected and autonomous vehicles. Called CAV Pass, the new system will first focus on enabling the advanced trialling of self-driving vehicles, and aims to eventually help assure the safety and security of these vehicles for their mainstream sale and use. The Government has also just opened the Autonomous Village north-west of London, a self-driving vehicle test facility with 70km of secure test tracks, a private mobile network and a simulator suite.

Still in the UK, new research from TRL (the renamed Transport Research Laboratory) has found that one in five fatal and serious collisions could be prevented with the introduction of automated vehicles. The finding is based on a study by TRL that considered the scenario of traditional and autonomous vehicles co-existing. The study showed that 22 per cent of collisions could be avoided if one of the vehicles was replaced by a level 4 automated vehicle (defined as being capable of completing an entire journey without driver intervention).

In North America, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) has released the second edition of its Blueprint for Autonomous Urbanism, focusing on policies and decisions to improve transportation outcomes from autonomous vehicles, as opposed to an overall increase in driving, greenhouse gas emissions and diminished public space in cities. The Blueprint says cities should commit to prioritizing high-quality on-street transit and use technologies available today, such as computer-aided dispatch and automatic vehicle location systems, to improve efficiency and create services that attract riders. It says future automated technologies, already in use in many rail systems, can enable transit agencies to expand services, serving more people for the same operating cost.

Upcoming RA events

Oct 1 – Industry lunch with DPTI Exec Director Jon Whelan, Adelaide. Proudly sponsored by Advisian.
Oct 2 – RA Electric Vehicles and Renewable Energy in Transport Forum, Sydney. Proudly sponsored by Salini Impregilo.
Oct 4 – By invitation. Single-table lunch with Infrastructure NSW CEO Simon Draper, Sydney. Proudly sponsored by Aurecon.
Oct 24 – Industry lunch with TfNSW Deputy Secretary Rachel Wheeler, Sydney. Proudly sponsored by Coffey.
Oct 31RA Forum with Minister Mark Bailey, Brisbane. Proudly sponsored by Altus Traffic, BMD Constructions and SMEC Australia.
Nov 1 – Industry lunch with NELA CEO Duncan Elliott, Melbourne. Proudly sponsored by Arcadis.

Upcoming industry events

Oct 1-3 – Institute of Quarrying Australia National Conference, Geelong.
Oct 27-29 – 4th International Driverless Vehicle Summit, Sydney.
Nov 15 – ARRB National Transport Research Awards Gala Dinner, Melbourne.

Industry training

Oct 15-16 – CPEE Flexible Pavement Design, Principles and Practice course, Melbourne.
Oct 15-16 – CPEE Concrete Pavement Design & Construction course, Sydney.
Oct 17 – CPEE Mechanistic Pavement Design – CIRCLY course, Melbourne.
Oct 22-23 – CPEE Flexible Pavement Design, Principles and Practice course, Brisbane.
Oct 24 – CPEE Mechanistic Pavement Design – CIRCLY course, Brisbane.
· Nov 26-27 – CPEE Flexible Pavement Design, Principles and Practice course, Sydney.
· Nov 28 – CPEE Mechanistic Pavement Design – CIRCLY course, Sydney.

Upcoming international events

Oct 6-10World Road Congress (PIARC), Abu Dhabi.