New motorways and transport pricing reform among recommendations in Victoria’s Draft Infrastructure Strategy
Infrastructure Victoria’s much anticipated Draft 30-year Infrastructure Strategy was released this week and is out for public consultation until the end of this month.
The independent authority has put forward 134 recommendations worth around $100 billion to address the current and future needs of generations of Victorians across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, with 70 per cent of recommendations having statewide relevance.
Among the recommendations are a network-wide transport pricing regime and new motorways – including North East Link and the Outer Metropolitan Ring Road - as well as an airport rail line.
Infrastructure Victoria Chief Executive, Michel Masson, said on Tuesday the draft strategy combined state-shaping major projects with improved maintenance programs and policies and reforms which aimed to get the most out of the existing road network.
“We have focused first and foremost on how we can better use our existing infrastructure,” he said.
The strategy identifies the need for a network-wide transport pricing regime to tackle growing congestion on Melbourne’s roads and public transport network as one of the top three priorities for action.
“A well-designed transport pricing regime will fundamentally transform the way our transport network functions,” Mr Masson said.
“It will have a more significant impact on congestion than any new road project and is one of the most important actions to be taken by government in the short term.”
Infrastructure Victoria commissioned new transport demand modelling and economic cost-benefit analysis of eight major road and rail projects, and major transport policy initiatives. The cost benefit analysis released along with the draft strategy found that North East Link and the Outer Metropolitan Ring Road both had strong benefit-cost ratios ranging from 1.4-2.1. Both freeways were found to improve access to middle and outer suburbs and freight efficiency over the long term.
The draft strategy recommends planning to ensure an Eastern Freeway to CityLink connection could be provided in the future, after the analysis indicated this connection was not required in the short to medium term and had a benefit-cost ratio of 0.7-0.9.
“We’ve weighed up all the evidence, and while many projects have merit, it is clear that North East Link is the priority road project,” Mr Masson said.
The recommendations also include policy changes to pave the way for driverless cars, road space allocation changes to prioritise buses, trams and cycling, upgrades to arterial roads, upgrades to regional roads and highways and upgrades to bridges as part of a high productivity freight network.
To view the Draft Strategy, click here.
RA session at World Congress examines path to automated vehicles
Queensland Transport and Main Roads Director-General, Neil Scales, and National Transport Commission Chief Executive, Paul Retter, are among the speakers participating in RA’s session on the path to automated vehicles at the ITS World Congress in Melbourne next week.
They will be joined by Clayton Utz Partner, Owen Hayford, and RA President and session moderator, David Stuart-Watt, to unpick the debate around Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs) and look at what policy, regulatory and legal bridges have to be crossed before the technology takes off on our road networks.
RA’s session takes place on Wednesday October 12, from 11 - 12.30pm in Meeting Room 109. The session title is: National Co-ordination in Australia for the Deployment and Management of Automated Vehicles. Attendees must be registered delegates at the ITS World Congress.
For more information about RA’s session contact our Policy Director, Mandi Mees. You can also download the agenda here.
Meantime, RA Chief Executive, Ian Webb, will be involved as moderator in another session hosted by Transport Certification Australia on Friday October 14, from 1pm to 2.30pm in Meeting Room 105. This session - entitled A Vision for a Secure, Connected Future through Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) –builds on papers published by TCA with a view to advancing Australia’s interests in adopting C-ITS in a manner that delivers safe, secure, and commercially and operationally sustainable results.
Speakers at this session include Miranda Blogg, Director (CAV) at Transport and Main Roads; Peter Girgis, GM – Implementation at TCA; Gavin Hill, GM – Strategic Director at TCA, and Chris Koniditsiotis, TCA CEO.
Again, you will need to be a registered delegate to attend. Find out more about TCA's activities at the Congress here.
For all program and registration information for the ITS World Congress, click here.
Chandler Highway Upgrade shortlist announced
Four contractors - BMD, CPB Contractors, Laing O’Rourke and Seymour Whyte - have been shortlisted to deliver the $110 million Chandler Highway Upgrade in Victoria, with the successful tenderer expected to be announced before the end of the year.
The upgrade will widen the highway to six lanes and include construction of a new bridge over the Yarra River. The intersection at Heidelberg Rd will also be upgraded and safety will be boosted by installing traffic lights at Yarra Boulevard.
The historic 125-year-old Chandler Highway Bridge will be converted to a shared user path for cyclists and pedestrians, while cyclists will also be able to cross the highway via a new underpass near Yarra Boulevard.
Construction will commence in early 2017 and be completed in mid-2018.
Victoria first off the grid with self-driving vehicle
The Victorian Government is partnering with Bosch, the Transport Accident Commission and VicRoads to build the first vehicle developed in Australia with self-driving capabilities.
Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Luke Donnellan, yesterday inspected the new vehicle and met with the Melbourne-based Bosch engineers who have been working for 12 months developing the car.
The Government's $1.2 million investment has helped Bosch develop the self-driving vehicle at its Australian headquarters in Clayton, which has been designed to navigate roads with or without driver input and includes technology to detect and avoid hazards such as pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles.
Trials of the vehicle will be used to inform the development of regulations and infrastructure to enable similar self-driving cars to operate on Victorian roads when they become commercially available in the future.
The trial will also help VicRoads better understand how motorists use self-driving vehicles and the changes needed to prepare for the future.
Mr Donnellan said traffic management experts and urban planners would get a better understanding of the need to reconfigure road networks and traffic signals to optimise safety and the flow of vehicles across the network.
New RA initiative to provide platform for gender diversity debate
Roads Australia is continuing to advance gender diversity across the roads industry, with the issue being central to a new initiative being launched next month.
RA is hosting a Women in Infrastructure lunch in Melbourne on November 11 to discuss opportunities to encourage greater gender equality and diversity across the industry.
“This will be the first of a series of events through 2017 that aim to provide a platform for our members to put forward their ideas for further consideration and action by the RA Board,” says RA Chief Executive, Ian Webb.
“It comes off the back of our recent initiatives to provide opportunities for maternity and paternity leavers to attend RA events to stay in touch with their colleagues, and to encourage a more gender-diverse mix within our Fellowship Program.”
Next month’s launch lunch will be ‘by invitation’ to set the ball rolling, with future events planned to provide opportunities for all our members to be involved.
For more information, contact our Membership Manager, Hannah Sauvarin.