|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.
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.
NT Government to consider setting up an independent panel to audit roadwork sites after fatality at "one of the most deficient road work set ups" seen by a safety expert.
The NT Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics has admitted it failed its duty of care and apologised to the family of a man who was killed when his motorcycle crashed into substandard roadworks diversions.
A two-day coronial inquest finished in Darwin Local Court on 25th October 2017. The focus of the inquest was why a compliant safety plan for road works during the major duplication of Tiger Brennan Drive wasn't followed.
A motorcyclist was riding home from work in the early hours of April 29 last year, when he failed to navigate a curve in a traffic diversion. He appeared to follow a marked white line, which led directly into a barricade. He was thrown into a trailer and died instantly, while his bike came to rest more than 130 metres away. The motorcyclist was found to be four times over the legal blood alcohol limit and had cannabis in his system.
The coronial heard his reaction time and how he rode would have been effected, but a traffic safety expert told the coronial that the site "Rated up there as some of the most deficient in road work set-ups I've seen”.
The most critical elements were:
The department admitted it had been a mistake and there had been a failure to ensure that the managing contractor compiled with the appraised and approved traffic control diagram. The department indicated that it conducted random checks and believed it could delegate responsibility to the contractor to ensure safety.
The Coroner told the court that wasn't good enough, that the department had a duty of care to the public.
The findings will be handed down at a later date.
If you answered "the bloody big tree in the middle of the road" you win. Unfortunately the local council does not agree with you. It thinks the gravel verge on the left, with a footpath through it, is such a big hazard that it has issued a letter to the resident telling them to remove it within 28 days or they will do it for them and send them the bill. For the record, the assessed roadside hazards and severity indices for vehicle impacts at 50 km/h are shown below.
Not only does the tree have a severity index 34 times greater than the gravel verge, it is more likely to be struck as it is in the centre of the road and close to the traveled path in both directions. It is also on the outside of a bend, further increasing the likelihood of being struck.
The Australian Transport Council has reported that the chances of surviving (yes, surviving) a crash decrease markedly above 30 to 40 km/h for a vehicle striking a tree and defines any tree with a diameter greater than 100 mm diameter as a hazard. This tree is a significant roadside hazard but for some reason, the local council has determined that it can stay. The insignificant roadside hazard, the gravel verge, has to go within 28 days.
In the words of Charles Wade "It's so senseless that it's unbelievable".
A letter to the editor in today's West Australian suggests signs and markings for Indian Ocean Drive similar to what they observed on Sunshine Coast Hwy between Noosa and Coolum.
The lines and signs referred to are known as Wide Centre Line Treatments, or WCLT’s. These types of markings have already been installed in WA, as shown in the photograph of Great Northern Hwy near Wubin below.
A comprehensive study of the effectiveness of the WCLT in the eastern states found that drivers were much more likely to keep wholly within their lane and that average speeds generally decreased where they were used.
As an accredited Senior Road Safety Auditor and Crash Investigation Team Leader I can advise that these types of treatments should be considered for roads with a history of head-on crashes but they should not be considered as the only measure.
Common contributing factors to head-on crashes are:
Many previous letters in the paper have apportioned all of the blame to driver behaviour.
Whilst human behaviour factors is high (93%) it has been estimated that road factors contribute 34% of this.
In simple terms, the design and appearance of the road influences driver behaviour.
Crash investigation reveals that there is rarely a single cause to crashes, as watchers of Aircrash Investigations will be aware.
Just as there is no single cause, there is unlikely to be a single solution. What is required is a thorough independent investigation by experienced road safety professionals. No different to what occurs with air crashes or a series of unexplained deaths in a hospital or nursing home.
Yesterday I was fined $200 for travelling at 73 km/h at the 60 km/h sign on the northbound Mitchell Fwy off-ramp to Hutton St.
The Freeway is 100 km/h and it takes a while to reduce to 60 km/h. The off-ramp is designed to Freeway standards, there are no access driveways, no adjacent properties and no paths on it. There have also not been any reported injury crashes in the latest available 5 year crash record.
The crash map shows literally hundreds of locations where crashes are occurring but the Police think that targeting a road with an inappropriate speed limit and no crash record is more important.
It will definitely raise more money than targeting other roads, but it won't save any lives or injuries. And people wonder why WA has one of the the worst road safety records in the Western world. And the politicians and Police tell us that current enforcement practices (which are not working) are not about revenue raising.
By the end of this week another four people will have died on our roads and another 27 seriously injured. But the Police will have met their quota because everybody drives fast past the 60 km/h speed sign on this Freeway off-ramp and they know that.
What should we do?
Slow down quickly and get hit from behind and start having high speed rear-end crashes where we have never had them before? Or should the Police concentrate their enforcement on roads with a known crash problem so we can reduce crashes and save lives instead of introducing crashes where there have not been any before?
What is a hostile vehicle?
A hostile vehicle is generally one whose driver is determined to access a restricted or unauthorised area or location in order to cause injury/death to people, disrupt business or effect publicity for a cause. A hostile vehicle may be used to carry an explosive device or the vehicle itself, travelling at speed, may present the primary danger.
Hostile vehicle attack methods
1. Parked (containing material to cause harm i.e. explosives)
- Exploiting gaps in site defences (no impact)
- Tailgating through an active barrier system; and
- Tampering with vehicle barriers to later provide unlawful access.
3. Penetrative Impact (ramming people & structures)
4. Entry by deception to access restricted areas (trojan vehicle)
5. Duress (against a security guard or employee to open a barrier)
Safe Places by Audit and Design
The strategic integration of steps, columns and sculptures into the building’s design offers a good example of how hostile vehicle mitigation can be applied in a subtle way.
A flight of steps leading into a building can restrict access to most conventional vehicles, presenting the building as a less desirable target.
Strategically placed mitigation devices such as spheres, planter boxes, seats, or bollards on the pavement surrounding the entrance of the building provides additional protection against unauthorised vehicle intrusion while increasing the standoff distance. It is important to ensure that barrier solutions that may not be purpose built (e.g. planter boxes, sculptures) are properly mounted and reinforced against impact.
i3 consultants can provide relevant advice on all of the above based on over thirty years of crash investigation and road safety auditing.
Please contact David at firstname.lastname@example.org or 08 9467 7478 for more details.
Imagine if our nation was providing a defence force to combat war overseas, and that 25 soldiers were dying and 700 were being seriously injured each week - week after week, year after year. Imagine if there was no end in sight, and the wartime fatalities had increased in the last calendar year compared to the year before. The public and political pressure to end these mass casualties would be immense.
Imagine if there were 5 Boeing 737 crashes every week in Australia, with 25 passengers dying and 700 being seriously injured each week. The public outcry would be enormous, the effects on our nation soul destroying. Every effort would be made to stem this tide of death and injury.
Imagine if there was an epidemic that consistently, year after year, was the leading cause of casualty in our population for 1-14 year olds. Imagine if it was the 2nd highest cause of death and injury in our young people between the ages of 15-24. The forces mobilised to counteract this epidemic would be enormous.
Imagine the effects on health systems if our hospitals were dealing with the injured from these plane crashes, war events or epidemics – 700 people each week - reaching the emergency doors with serious injuries, enduring lengthy hospital stays and for some a lifetime of disability.
Imagine the strain on our disability services and community support structures if our communities were dealing with these injured people –700 people per week - some requiring extensive and costly lifetime support.
Imagine the consequences of these deaths and injuries on our communities – the 25 deaths each week resulting in outpourings of grief from our families and communities, and the 700 people each week who are released from hospital, some to be cared for by families and communities over the longer term.
Imagine if the annual cost to our economy of these plane crashes, wartime efforts or epidemics was estimated to be over $27 billion in 2011, and had risen to at least $32 billion by 2016, and continued to increase each year over and above CPI. This is more than Australia’s current annual defence budget of $31.9 billion (Department of Defence, 2015). The political and social pressure to solve this problem would be enormous.
This is the road trauma REALITY
25 people dead and 700 seriously injured every week in Australia.
Week after week. Year after year. And Rising.
The impact of road trauma is all-encompassing, impacting the full spectrum of the political agenda. A much stronger focus on saving lives and injuries on our roads, covering all age groups and user groups, all the factors in roads and vehicles, and including all facets of road crashes such as trauma services and post-crash care, would have a major impact on Australia’s economic and social well-being. There are many simple and cost effective solutions.
The Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS) is calling on our politicians to provide strong leadership and support for a coordinated approach towards road trauma reductions. The above facts are included in the ACRS submission to Federal Parliamentarians. I urge our State Parliamentarians to recognise these facts and also provide strong leadership and support for a coordinated approach towards road trauma reductions in Western Australia.
Have you ever traveled through a school zone and spent more time looking at your speedometer than the road ahead?
Have you thought 'This can't be good - I should be looking where I'm going"?
A recent study by researchers at the University of Western Australia has raised concerns that strict speed enforcement could have a detrimental impact on road safety because drivers are dedicating more attention to monitoring their speed than detecting hazards.
The researchers used a driving simulator to test whether reducing the speed enforcement thresholds would impact on a driver's mental and visual abilities. 84 participants were told they could be fined for driving 1 km/h, 6 km/h or 11 km/h over a 50 km/h speed limit and the researchers measured their response to small red dots which appeared in their peripheral vision.
The study found those who were given a 1 km/h threshold were less likely to detect objects outside their immediate line of sight.
An aspect that was not reported in the study is how long it takes the human eye to readjust to the different light and focal length conditions associated with changing focus from the speedometer to the road outside.
All of this supports the view that it is better to create slow speed environments outside schools through environmental features than to rely on strict enforcement. Drivers will travel at low speeds when everything outside tells them that slow speed is appropriate.
i3 consultants WA is pleased to announce that it's Principal and Senior Road Safety Auditor, David Wilkins, has recently had his 100th Road Safety Audit as a Team Leader approved and accredited on the official IPWEA/ MRWA website at:
David is the first and only accredited Senior Road Safety Auditor in WA to have reached this milestone and it reflects his considerable experience in road safety engineering of over 30 years both in Australia and the UK.
Please feel free to contact David directly at email@example.com should you require high quality road safety engineering consultancy services in the future.
David Wilkins, Principal & Senior Traffic Engineer.