|i3 consultants WA|
(Traffic and Transport News Blog)
These articles are made available by the author for educational purposes only as well as to provide general information and a general understanding regarding published requirements and obligations. These articles should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice.
EA Matters May 2018 Case Study
Recently the Chair and members of the Transport Australia Society WA committee wrote to the
Road Safety Commissioner about how to improve road safety for the community. As a result of the
letter EA representatives (including David Wilkins from i3 consultants WA) met with WA’s road safety commissioner, Iain Cameron, as well as representatives from his office and Main Roads WA.
As a result, the commissioner is keen to work with Engineers Australia to develop the next road safety strategy for the State. It was particularly pleasing to hear the commissioner saying how vital it is that the road safety engineering leadership voice is heard and that engineering leadership is critical for the paradigm shift to a safe system.
There were 23 reported road deaths in WA in 2018 as at 1st March. This is 7 more than were reported in 2010. If we had the same fatality rate as the best performing European Countries there would have been 10 less deaths and scores of less serious injuries on our roads.
We need those in charge to say enough is enough and commit to implementing significant changes.
Road Safety Minister says she is "absolutely committed"
Road Safety Commissioner blames "ambitious target".
There were 13 reported road deaths in WA as at 31st January 2018. This is more than were reported in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015. If we had the same fatality rate as the best performing European Countries there would have been 7 road deaths.
We need our politicians to say enough is enough and commit to implementing significant changes.
Last week I posted data showing how WA and Australia compares against European Countries in terms of fatal crashes per million people.
Above is a graph showing how Australia compared with 52 Countries in terms of the reduction in Fatalities per 100,000 people from that recorded in 1994 and 2015. I have added WA data to this showing 2015, 2016 and 2017 reductions.
There have been many comments regarding the use and relevance of using crash rates per population numbers with suggestions that I should be using crash rates per million vehicle km's travelled. Ideally crash rates for all Countries should be published in three different standard formats (per population, per km's travelled and per licensed vehicles for example). The reality is that each Country, and even some states, calculate million vehicle kms travelled differently with most based on a combination of the number of vehicles and the amount of fuel sold. The only consistent crash rates that I have been able to find is per 100,000 or million people.
But all of this distracts from the stark reality that WA has a shocking road safety record regardless of how you look at it. To bring about a significant change in this we need a significant change in how we are tackling it.
Below is a map of road deaths per million inhabitants in Europe in 2016. Can you guess the rate for Australia?
In Australia it is 54. In Western Australia it is 79.
That puts us on par with Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece and Bulgaria. If Australia had the political will to bring the rate down to less than 30 that would save 725 lives every year in Australia (and 75 in WA). It would also reduce serious injury crashes by around 6,000 every year in Australia.
Is it too much to ask just one politician in Australia to respond and make this his or her mission for 2018?
If you know one - please send them this link. There is a wealth of experience and expertise in the engineering and other professions to help achieve this target. We just need the right environment and culture to work in.
The WA Government has implemented financial incentives to reduce truck congestion and get more freight on rail to Fremantle Port.
From 1st January, the container rail subsidy has increased from $30 to $50 per Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU).
The plan aims to reduce truck traffic on roads around Fremantle Port by encouraging more freight on rail.
The WA Government’s integrated plan for freight and trade includes a target to boost rail mode share to 20 per cent – an increase of approximately five per cent.
The subsidy will be paid for all loaded containers that move between North Quay Rail Terminal (NQRT), Forrestfield and Kwinana, as well as for containers filled with hay received by rail at NQRT for export.
The Westport Taskforce has released Westport: Preparing for the Strategy – the WA Government’s first discussion paper for delivering its Outer Harbour vision.
The discussion paper can be downloaded here.
The taskforce is inviting stakeholders to join the conversation on key factors that it believes should be investigated in the development of the Westport Strategy.
Feedback on the discussion paper will be accepted until 5.00pm on 31 January, 2018 and can be submitted online.
A consultation summary will be published towards the end of February 2018. It will summarise the comments received and outline the updated Westport methodology.
More information can be found at https://www.transport.wa.gov.au/projects/westport-port-and-environs-strategy.asp
We all know how Zebra crossings got their name, but how did Pelican, Puffin, Toucan, Wombat and Chicken Crossings get their names?
A pelican crossing is a formal pedestrian crossing consisting of midblock traffic signals that are activated by a pedestrian pushing a button. The name is derived from Pedestrian Light Controlled Crossing.
A puffin crossing is the same as a pelican crossing except that it is either activated automatically by sensors or pressure pads that knows when a pedestrian wants to cross the road and/ or has sensors to keep the traffic light red for traffic until there are no more pedestrians crossing the road. The name is derived from Pedestrian User Friendly Crossing.
A toucan crossing is the same as a pelican crossing except that in addition to red and green person symbols there are also red and green bicycle symbols that allow cyclists to cross without dismounting. The name is derived from the fact that ‘two can’ cross at the same time. I’m serious. Engineers do have a sense of humour.
A wombat crossing is a zebra crossing on top of a wide flat and elevated ‘road hump’. They might have been called humped zebras in the early days. My guess is that someone decided that naming them after images of roadkill wombats was more politically correct than humping zebras. I’d like to hear if anyone knows for sure.
There is no such thing as a chicken crossing but there should be so that they can cross the road and we will all know why they did.
Approving authorities regularly ask for 10-year horizons in Traffic Impact Assessments.
I recently reviewed a traffic modeling report prepared for the Year 2031. The modeling report used straight line traffic growth of 1.5% per annum. This model was accepted by the approving authority as a “robust model”.
In the next five years, i.e. by 2023, autonomous cars will be widely available in Australia and it has been predicted that by 2040 these vehicles will account for half of all road travel.
It has been suggested that autonomous cars will:
Some researchers argue that the disruption brought about by autonomous vehicles, including mobility-as-a-service could double or triple road capacity due to its ability to operate synchronously and with greatly-reduced spacing compared to manually-driven vehicles.
There are many published papers and articles regarding the impact of autonomous vehicles with various findings and predictions. Some believe the disruption will be similar to the Beta VCR, 8 Track Cassette Players and the Y2K bug (for the more experienced readers) whilst others believe it will be more like the disruption brought about by the iPhone, which was only 10 years ago!
A common theme is that while we cannot plan for this with a high degree of certainty, we should at least be preparing for it.
So how does this relate to Traffic Impact Assessments? Should we:
The implications of overestimating traffic impacts and car parking demand associated with traffic generating developments are significant. If we don’t change our current practices, we will see significant funds being poured into transport infrastructure projects that may not be required in the very near future.
I don’t have the answer so I’m looking forward to comments.
David Wilkins, Principal & Senior Traffic Engineer.