In looking at many of the news items in this week's edition of RA Insider, I'm again struck by the increasing influence of data and technology in Australia's integrated transport network.
Whether it is the embrace of digital engineering tools in the design and delivery of infrastructure projects, the development of clean energy solutions or the installation of technology-based solutions to enhance road safety, it is clear that the operating environment around us is changing rapidly.
For RA and for our industry, this presents a range of exciting opportunities - but will also require us to think differently about the type of skills needed in our future workforce. Moreover, it will also require our industry to actively demonstrate that we are enthusiastic sponsors of changes that will deliver a more sustainable industry and better outcomes for communities.
The RA Strategic Plan 2021-2023 summarises RA's purpose as connecting governments, industry and the community - and for the first time specifically calls out data and technology as a key theme within our policy strategy. RA will continue working across all our policy streams to not only advance the uptake of technology, but just as importantly, to make sure our industry's workforce can leverage the opportunities it presents for enhancing project delivery, the experience of our customers, and our interactions with the community.
Stay well and safe
Chief Executive Officer
Fueling Australia's Clean Energy Transition
The reduction of transport sector emissions is a key focus for industry and policy makers at present and driving intense interest in clean energy solutions.
However, a key challenge for many investors looking to produce or store clean energy is finding a site that not only has sufficient connections to the grid and gas, but also enjoys community support.
RA member AECOM has now produced Fueling The Future - a paper that explores what the future could look like for various fuel terminal assets around Australia.
As well as looking at refineries, the paper examines other oil & gas assets that could play a role in the development of Australia's cleaner energy future, assessing them against some key criteria to help identify which ones best suit which future use.
Read Fueling the Future here.
ARTC Inland Rail will appoint Rebecca Pickering to lead the Inland Rail division on an interim basis as the final stages of recruitment are undertaken for a CEO to replace Richard Wankmuller, who will retire from the role on 30 July. Ms Pickering currently leads Inland Rail's planning, communications and stakeholder relations, as well as directing planning, environmental, cultural heritage and social responsibility approvals for the project.
Changes have been announced in the leadership of the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, with Tim Reardon set to depart as Secretary in October to return to the private sector. He has been in the role since 2017, and prior to that served in a number of senior executive positions within the NSW public service. Jim Betts has been named as the new Secretary, and will be well known to many in our industry through his previous roles with Infrastructure NSW and as Secretary of the Department of Transport in Victoria. See the announcement for more details.
Two RA members, John Holland and Boral have teamed up to illustrate the benefits of pursuing careers in the construction industry.
Local students in Sydney spent two days in June taking part in the Waterloo Integrated Station Development Career Expo, which was designed to emphasise the career opportunities that can flow from pursuing science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.
The Expo included interactive demonstrations from engineering, safety and environment professionals, and particularly emphasised the role women are playing in the construction industry today. This is intended to break down stereotypes and help attract female students to STEM careers by highlighting industry efforts to build a more diverse and inclusive work culture.
See more about the event here.
Remember, if you have news or achievements in the D&I space to share with our readers, please send details through to Prue Northey at RA.
Transport for NSW is undertaking a major investment in the Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System (SCATS). The technology - developed by NSW in the 1970s - has gone on to become the world's most widely-used adaptive traffic control system and is now installed on more than 55,000 intersections across 28 countries. Secretary of TfNSW Rob Sharp says that the rapid expansion of the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) market globally makes this an ideal time to accelerate development of the system and realise commercial opportunities. Learn more here.
The Department of Transport in Victoria is improving traffic flows and pedestrian safety through the rollout of high definition detectors at 75 signalised intersections across Melbourne. The technology is capable of ascertaining how many pedestrians are waiting to use a crossing, permitting the adjustment of crossing times to accommodate heavier volumes. The sensors can also hold red lights for right-turning vehicles, improving safety by removing conflict between pedestrians and traffic using right turn arrows. Details - including a list of the 75 locations where the dynamic crossings are being installed - are available here.
Gold Coast residents have been given an early look at designs for the new Pimpama station to be constructed as part of the Cross River Rail project in Queensland. The State Government is now seeking public feedback on the design, which was produced by RA member GHD and architectural firm GHDWoodhead. Pimpama is one of three new stations to be constructed in association with Cross River Rail, with consultations on designs for Helensvale North and Merrimac to follow later in the year. Submissions are open until 7 August - see further details here.
In Tasmania, the State Government is seeking community input to identify upgrade priorities on the Bass Highway between Launceston and Devonport that will improve safety for all road users, the efficiency of Tasmania's freight network and support economic growth. The focus is on the section of the highway between two existing dual carriageway sections at Hadspen (on the outskirts of greater Launceston) and Devonport. Consultation is open until 14 August. Additional information and an interactive map through which comments may be submitted is available here.
RA member Holcim has been awarded a $67 million contract that will see the company manufacture culverts for the Narrabri to North Star (N2NS) section of Inland Rail at its Humes facility in Tamworth. Holcim Australia and New Zealand CEO George Agriogiannis said: “Holcim has already delivered more than 22,000 tonnes of carbon neutral culverts for Inland Rail, saving more than 7000 tonnes of carbon emissions, equivalent to removing 1350 vehicles from the road for one year. The new $67 million contract announced today by Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister, includes 9400 products ranging from precast concrete culverts to drainage pipes, weighing more than 70,000 tonnes. Over 19 months, most of these products will be manufactured in regional NSW, supporting local jobs."
The latest round of WestConnex Community Grants will support 22 not-for-profit and community groups in Sydney, delivering up to $10,000 in funding to support projects that connect programs, people and communities along the WestConnex Motorway corridor. Projects supported by the latest grants round include an indigenous youth pathways program at Glebe-Leichhardt PCYC, first aid training for volunteers across Sydney and support that will enable Concord Public School to install communication panels for students with autism. WestConnex has also confirmed a further round of grants will be open from 5 October to 1 November. See additional details here.
Remember, if your organisation has news to share with the readers of RA Insider, please send details through to Simon Morgan
RA has provided a submission to the NSW Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Road Safety for its current inquiry into mobile speed camera enforcement programs in NSW.
Our submission recognises that speed cameras are an effective tool in both managing speed and improving road safety, and supports the NSW program’s significant increase in the hours of operation. In particular, we note the heightened dangers to those who work in the construction and maintenance of roads that flow from increased incidents of speeding and incursion into road work sites.
RA's submission also calls for the commitment of resources to community education around the risks and consequences associated with speeding, noting this is equally as important as enforcement measures in driving cultural change.
The submission will be made available on RA's website once the Committee approves its publication.
On the road safety front, in Canberra a new Joint Parliamentary Committee has recently announced an inquiry into measures that can be taken to reduce trauma and deaths on Australian roads. It will build on the work of the previous inquiry undertaken by Federal Parliament, which delivered its final report in October 2020.
The Terms of Reference for this new inquiry are here and RA will be developing a submission over the weeks ahead, prior to the closing date of 24 August.
If you have suggestions or comments for inclusion as part of RA's submission, please get in touch with Royce Christie at RA.
In digital engineering (DE) news, this week the Victorian Government has announced it will invest $35.2 million to create a data-based digital replica of the entire state.
Digital Twin Victoria will permit industry participants to model different project scenarios prior to the commencement of physical works, making it easier to manage risks, troubleshoot potential issues and enabling the rapid and more effective sharing of complex information in real time.
The development of Digital Twin Victoria will be informed by a successful pilot scheme which created a digital twin for the urban renewal project currently underway at Fishermans Bend.
It is anticipated the new digital platform will be widely accessible by late 2021. Learn more here.
New RA events are continuing to roll out all the time, so keep an eye on our website www.roads.org.au to make sure you don't miss out on networking opportunities.
Event Enquiries - Contact RA Director Events Rachael Rooney
Booking Enquiries - Contact RA Event Administrator Daniel Mellow
Sponsorship Enquiries - Contact RA Manager Membership & Programs Prue Northey
Upcoming Industry Events/Training
RA Insider is proudly sponsored by Cardno. If you'd like to add more people in your organisation to our distribution list, or if you have industry news to share, please email Simon Morgan - RA Director Corporate Affairs.
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