Austroads Report: The benefits and challenges of using recycled plastics in asphalt and sprayed seals
With plastic a significant contributor to Australia’s waste generation and with more and more ending up in landfill each year, many industries are looking to develop new ways to reuse and recycle plastic. But is recycled plastic a viable alternative for the construction of roads? And what are the long term health and lifestyle implications? On behalf of Austroads, Level 5 Design Principal Consultant Christina Chin with support from CEO Peter Damen have written a fascinating report on the benefits and challenges of using recycled plastics in asphalt and sprayed seals.
The basis of the report involved conducting a comprehensive local and overseas literature review, looking at a number of case studies and overseas road trials. The report found that some waste plastics can be a partial aggregate replacement in bituminous mixes and a binder extender without significantly influencing asphalt properties, however a precautionary approach has been advised until more research has been conducted. One of the most significant concerns is that road workers could be exposed to hazards whilst handling recycled plastics and there is also the potential issue of emissions being released when plastic is heated. Another concern is microplastics leaching out from our pavements into waterways, posing a threat to our marine life.
One of the main recommendations in the report is the need for the development of a governance framework on the use of plastics in road construction and to develop performance-based specifications to allow producers more flexibility to innovate. Focus should be on nationally monitoring, assessing and sharing results of road trials conducted in Australia and New Zealand and further research into the viability of using recycled plastics in sprayed seals.
Read the full Austroads report here.
There is a lot that local government practitioners need to do and to think about. New and emerging transport technologies like autonomous and connected vehicles, electric vehicles, and shared vehicles all will impact on the way our cities and towns function but what does local government need to do to be better prepared for it? What is hype and what is real? What is needed to be done right now and how should local government go about it? What does it mean for sustainability, infrastructure design and policy setting? These are all questions that our CEO, Peter Damen, addressed when he was invited to give a keynote address at the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) Victorian Leadership Event in Melbourne on Thursday 10 October. Peter addressed a full room and gave a 40 minute presentation followed by lots of great questions relating to regulation, infrastructure design and so forth. It was a great opportunity to help local government to become better prepared.
On September 25 our CEO, Peter Damen, was invited to speak to the full school of Architecture at Curtin University about emerging transport technologies and what it means for the future of our cities, the built form of our buildings, and the sustainability of our communities. The session was recorded and can be viewed on YouTube using the following link https://echo360.org.au/media/5efb8c14-1616-4a09-aa7c-603312b9d656/public. The audience was very engaged and had lots of really good questions. Thanks to Dr Parisa Izadpanahi for involving us in their ArchiTalk series. It was a great experience and we hope all the architects and other professionals in the audience start thinking a little differently about the future now, and how they go about their design thinking.
We have been very keen this year to give back to the community by working to raise funds for a very good cause - cancer research. Level5Design has sponsored Team Disco Dancing in the Shitbox Rally, and we are pleased that the team has generated more than $12,500 so far towards this really important charity.
The Shitbox Spring Rally is due to kick off on October 18 and our CEO, Peter Damen, will be at the helm of the car doing his bit for the cause. The rally runs from Melbourne to Townsville via Birdsville and 3,600 km of outback roads.
For those feeling a little generous or that just want to help out a really good cause, please make a donation via the following link https://2019spring.shitboxrally.com.au/team-disco-dancing/donate
The latest 16 April 2019 edition of IPWEA InTouch Magazine includes a feature article from Level5design CEO Peter Damen titled "Cycling Infrastructure is effective - but local government is using less of it".
Local streets provide a place where the community can access their homes and other local destinations and are an active place to walk, cycle, play, relax and interact. They support local land use and community activity and are part of the public open space network. Read more on the IPWEA website here.
On Wednesday, our CEO Peter Damen met with DeepBlue Technology as part of the Australian Future Transport Mission to China connecting Australian transport authorities to some of the world’s largest innovators in transport technology.
DeepBlue Technology is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) company based in Shanghai. Earlier this year they debuted their newest development in AI-based autonomous driving, the Smart Panda Bus which is 12 metres long and can seat up to 40 people. It features an in-vehicle robot, palm vein recognition, accurate advertisement push, abnormal behaviour detection and an intelligent emergency escape system which hasn’t been implemented in a public commuter system until now.
Among a host of DeepBlue’s AI technologies, Peter also learnt about their smart vision processing software which detects abnormalities in work zones and their range of service robots including Floor Cleaning, Vacuuming, Vending, On-board Vending, Patrol, Smart Ant Logistics, Hotel Service and Vehicle Assistant models.
A fantastic week in China so far, we look forward to seeing what else DeepBlue Technology have in store for the future!
As part of the Australian Future Transport Mission to China, our CEO Peter Damen is in China meeting with leaders in transport innovation and autonomous vehicle technology to gain further insight into the transport technologies of the future. Yesterday he had the pleasure of meeting with BAIC International, the top electric vehicle supplier in the world. Currently, they are monitoring 345,000 of their BJEV electric vehicles across the Chinese road network, which have driven 5.1 billion km. Peter was impressed by their innovative transport technology program. They are currently in development of the Optimus Prime project which aims to increase sustainability in the development of new energy vehicles and usage. They also created the Darwin system which is a self-growth vehicle intelligence system. BAIC plans to enter the European market with its electric Arcfox brand unveiling an SUV named the ECF as well as its GT electric supercar. Arcfox currently sells the Arcfox Lite which is a two-seater SUV released in China in 2017.
Level5design featured in this week's The Parking Insider, from Parking Australia, with a thought provoking article on how car sharing is set to reduce dependency on privately owned vehicles.
Read the full article here - https://www.parking.asn.au/car-sharing-set-to-reduce-dependency-on-privately-owned-vehicles/
Thanks go to all of our speakers that did such a great job at the "Connected and Automated Vehicle and Emerging Transport Technologies workshop" for local government on Wednesday 13th March in WA.
Thank you to all those that made the effort to join us for the day. IPWEA are doing a great job and we are pleased to be able to support their association and to help their members.
Our Level5design stand at the IPWEA State Conference in Fremantle over the 14th-15th March.
Here is our CEO Peter Damen presenting a plenary talk on Connected Automated Vehicles and Emerging Transport along with a panel of representatives from across Australia.
The talk covered the emerging technologies in automated and connected vehicles to allow organisations the opportunity to become better prepared for the coming changes.
How will the introduction of automated vehicles and emerging transport technologies change the transport industry?
To enable the functioning of new technologies in the transport sector, certain operations and laws need to be changed. One example of this is the need for change in local parking laws. Why do you think this could be?
Find out about what needs to change to enable these new technologies from Level5design’s Larry Schneider at IPWEA’s workshop on March 13th.
See the full programme of talks here - https://pos.li/2bbnr8
Autonomous & connected vehicles are coming… are you prepared?
Level5design are excited to work with IPWEA and a range of esteemed presenters from around Australia for a workshop on Connected Automated Vehicle & Emerging Technology, on Wednesday the 13th of March.
The workshop will cover the following topics:
For more information, view the full programme here - https://pos.li/2bbnr8
Peter Damen is the Principal and Chief Executive Officer of Level 5 Design, a specialist advisory and design consultancy dedicated to achieving valuable innovative outcomes for its customers in the rapidly evolving transport technology and infrastructure planning and design spaces.