We have been very pleased to be part of the team contributing to the development of new state guidance for the development of cycling friendly LATM traffic improvement schemes. The draft guide, developed on behalf of the Department of Transport (WA) and the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) has been in development for over a year and will soon be released for public consultation.
L5D's Managing Director, Peter Damen, is widely published on the topic and is the leading expert on the application of LATM in Australia. One of his most recent papers on the topic can be found under publications HERE.
Our most recent national research on the topic revealed that bicycle facilities within traffic calming/LATM schemes have seen a significant decrease (22%) in use from 2006 to 2018 despite reporting a significant rise in their perceived effectiveness. Clearly if bicycle facilities are as effective as most local governments report then this is an area that needs much more attention moving forward. While there has been a very positive focus on cycling in recent years in Western Australia, it is hoped that this Guide will help to give greater direction and attention to the issue within the State.
Long experience in Denmark and the Netherlands shows that traffic calming is compatible with high levels of cycling. The keys are quality of detailing and speed management. Traffic conditions in local streets should be based on the expectation that bikes and vehicles will share the same space. Bike considerations should be an integral part of the LATM planning process, not merely an afterthought. LATM should improve conditions for cyclists and accord with their primary needs, which is to:
1. Enhance access (aim at a coherent network that reaches all likely local destinations);
2. Enhance safety;
3. Enhance convenience (opportunities, short cuts);
4. Ensure continuity (including provision for crossing of traffic routes).
This week our very own Christina Chin was featured in Roads and Infrastructure Magazine being quoted about the work she led on behalf of Austroads on the viability of using recycled plastics in asphalt and sprayed sealing applications.
The article can be found here https://www.roadsonline.com.au/the-pros-and-cons-of-plastic/
This was an excellent piece of research and the 9 priority actions contained within it give clear guidance on the next steps that need to be taken to drive positive outcomes and give clear and consistent national guidance on industry practice.
The Austroads published report can be found here https://austroads.com.au/latest-news/the-benefits-and-challenges-of-using-recycled-plastics-in-asphalt-and-sprayed-seals
In prioritising research and development activities, a range of factors were considered, including:
The Australian Local Government Association National Roads and Transport Congress was held on the 18th - 20th November at the Adelaide Hills Convention Centre. The theme for this year was ‘Breaking through for modern transport’ and Level 5 Design CEO Peter Damen was invited to give the Keynote Address on the Future of Transport.
Peter’s talk covered how new developments in shared, autonomous, connected and electric transport services will affect our cities and towns, and how things are set to change significantly in the very near future.
Peter explained how there are a number of emerging technologies that are at our doorstep that will disrupt the status quo and while each of these technologies individually are significant, the benefits arise from these technologies complementing each other.
It was an honor to be invited to present at the congress and involved in a fantastic event, with some fantastic and thought provoking discussions from the experts in the industry.
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!
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.