Newsletter of The New Zealand Roadmarkers Federation Inc.
Roadmarking News www.nzrf.co.nz Edition 144 August 2020
Shovels at the ready, but where’s the work?
They will have no choice but to put workers off or face the risk of companies going under.”
Construction and infrastructure industry leaders are calling for urgency around the release of the government’s full list of ‘shovel-ready projects’ as increasing numbers of workers face redundancy and business confidence amongst construction and infrastructure companies nose-dives.
He said employers had been waiting months for shovel-ready jobs and needed certainty to invest in people. Every week’s delay meant more would lose their jobs. A joint letter from industry leaders was sent to ministers in mid-June stating the urgent need. Ministers responded that answers were ‘imminent’, but the actual project details were still trickling out slowly, he said.
Early this month the Government announced it had selected 150 projects worth NZD$2.6b that would create or retain 20,000 jobs. But four weeks later, only 30 projects worth about NZD$500m (approximately 25% of the total allocated) had been released. A package including NZD$761m of three waters funding had also been announced, but without any timelines.
Infrastructure New Zealand Chief Executive Paul Blair said companies were running out of options. “The drop off in well-signalled work across local councils and the private sector means industry is disproportionately dependent upon central government. All those small but steady jobs in local areas across the country help sustain employment in between big jobs that make front pages. They’re very important. That’s why industry was so pleased with the shovel-ready announcements.” Mr Blair said timing was everything. Projects starting construction today had planners, designers and architects at work last year. Contractors began allocating resources, scaling up or down based on predictions of work. The problem now was that no one could see 6 to 12 months ahead, so they were taking risks retaining staff on assumptions work would appear or having to cut back hours.
Civil Contractors New Zealand Chief Executive Peter Silcock said while the civil construction industry welcomed funding announcements and wanted to take the lead in driving post COVID-19 employment and economic recovery, details were urgently needed, or people would lose their jobs. There was a big difference between making announcements and providing meaningful employment opportunities through economic activity, Mr Silcock said. “The current situation is incredibly frustrating. We know the work is out there, but unless we know where, what and most importantly when projects will start, contractors are left totally in the dark.
“It’s very stressful, it’s increasing costs and it’s completely avoidable. The full list and timing of shovel ready projects needs to be released now with a clear commitment to project timeframes.” Association of Consulting and Engineering Chief Executive Paul Evans said the situation was looking dire as local government cut spending on infrastructure projects, and unless urgent action was taken, the infrastructure and construction industries stood to lose a huge amount of skilled workers. “We've seen this happen before. From 1987 into the early 90’s, thousands of jobs were shed, creating a capability crisis lasting a decade, whose ripples remain today. The loss of skill and capacity
Published by: The New Zealand Roadmarkers Federation Inc. P O Box 13 605 Onehunga Auckland 1643 New Zealand Executive Director: Alister Harlow, Phone: +64 9 625 7470, Email: email@example.com Roadmarking News in published by The NZ Roadmarkers Federation Inc. Opinions expressed in Roadmarking News do not necessarily reflect the views of the NZRF
in engineering and construction meant underinvestment in critical infrastructure.” Mr Evans said right now the industry could not create employment opportunities and was instead adding people to the unemployment list. A June ACE New Zealand survey indicated 46% of engineering consulting firms were experiencing cashflow and financial issues. He said 45% had been considering cutting staff – the average loss was estimated at 15 per cent of the workforce. This was likely to have increased since June, with flow-on effects across the whole of the economy.
the current speed limits between Puketona and Paihia. Some of the community raised concerns that some of the current speed limits feel too high to be safe, including around the two residential developments at Watea near Haruru, and at Ash Grove Circle.” The new speed limits over the 12.25km route from Puketona to Paihia will increase the travel time by approximately 12 seconds, but it will help make sure people get to where they are going safely, says Steve Mutton. The following speed limits have been set as permanent speed limits on SH1 Moerewa to Kawakawa.
Update: A list of 59 of the 150 projects was published to the Crown Infrastructure Partners Website on 23rd July.
Safer speed limits set on SH1 and SH11 in Northland Waka Kotahi, NZ Transport Agency has set permanent new speed limits on State Highways 1 and 11 in Northland to take effect on 24thAugust 2020 to improve safety for all road users. After extensive public consultation, the new speed limits are to improve road safety and help prevent people from being killed or seriously injured on these roads, says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Director of Regional Relationships, Steve Mutton. “No crash resulting in death or serious injury is acceptable, so it’s important we take every opportunity to address the risk. Fewer crashes will also mean fewer closures, which will increase the reliability of these important transport routes.” The following speed limits have been set as permanent speed limits on SH11 Puketona to Paihia.
Over the last 10 years (2009–2018), there were 43 crashes on this stretch of road with two people killed and six seriously injured. Safer speed limits were needed to reduce the number of crashes and resulting deaths and serious injuries. Over the 5.17km route from Moerewa to Kawakawa, the increase in travel time will be approximately 18 seconds. The setting of the permanent speed limits follows technical assessments, engagement with the Police, the AA, and the Road Transport Forum, and consultation with the public. Waka Kotahi is continuing work on the speed review for SH10 Awanui to Kaingaroa. These speed reviews are part of Waka Kotahi’s Safe Network Programme. The programme is delivering proven safety interventions on our highest risk intersections and roads across New Zealand.
From 2009 to 2018 there were 102 crashes on this stretch of road resulting in two people being killed and 14 people seriously injured. “We talked to the community, council, the local police, road user groups and local businesses about
Aligned to New Zealand’s Road Safety Strategy, Road to Zero 2020–2030, the Safe Network Programme aims to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads by focusing on safe roads and roadsides, safe and appropriate speeds, and safe level crossings.
Slower speed limits rolled out on 600 roads in Auckland Lower speed limits came into force from 30th June on more than 600 roads across Auckland, including the central city. Most speed limits go down from 50km/h to 30km/h. However, Nelson, Hobson and Fanshawe Streets each have a new speed limit of 40km/h, down from 50km/h. Some shared streets like Federal St continue to have a 10km/h speed limit. Freemans Bay on the outskirts of the central city and Te Atatu South are other urban areas where the speed limit is reduced from 50km/h to 30km/h.
Latest figures show the number of deaths on Auckland roads dropped from 54 in 2018 to 40 in 2019. A further 567 people were seriously injured in Auckland in 2019. Auckland's road toll was 11.4% of the national total of 352 road deaths - well below its third of the population. Waikato, with a third of the population of Auckland, had 76 roads deaths in 2019, Canterbury 52 and Bay of Plenty 42.
New speed limits to improve safety on SH22 Permanent safer speed limits have been introduced on State Highway 22 between Drury interchange and Paerata and on 200 local roads in the Franklin area. New speed limit signs are in place, reducing speeds on SH22 from 100km/h to 80km/h and from 70km/h to 60km/h. The lower speeds are enforceable by law. “It’s a great day for road safety and saving lives,” says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Senior Road Safety Manager Fabian Marsh. “Speed is a factor in every crash. Even when it isn’t the cause, the speed a vehicle is travelling at can be the difference between someone walking away unharmed or being seriously injured or even killed, particularly when pedestrians or cyclists are involved.”
Speed limits are also reduced on many rural roads in Rodney and Franklin, where the 100km/h speed is typically being reduced to 80km/h. Auckland Transport Safety Manager Bryan Sherritt said Auckland is a Vision Zero region and no one should lose their life or get seriously injured simply moving around the city. Speed limit changes are one piece in the puzzle to make the roads safer for Aucklanders, whether travelling by vehicle, public transport, scooter, bike or on foot, he said. "When you see the new speed limit signs around Auckland, take care and follow these safer speed limits," Sherritt said.
“These changes will make SH22 and many local roads in Franklin safer for everyone who uses them.”
Waka Kotahi and Auckland Transport worked collaboratively on implementing the speed limit changes in Franklin. Safer speed limits introduced by Auckland Transport in the city centre and other parts of the Auckland region also take effect today. Auckland Transport’s Executive General Manager of Safety, Bryan Sherritt says Auckland Transport (AT) wants to make the roads safe for everyone – whether that’s people walking and cycling, kids outside schools, senior citizens or people driving. “We are guided by the Vision Zero approach to transport safety, which prioritises human safety over other measures like minor time savings. Setting safe and survivable speeds for our road network is the quickest and most cost-effective way to immediately reduce death and serious injury.” As well as reducing speed limits on SH22, Waka Kotahi is also undertaking a range of safety improvements on the road, including a roundabout, turning bays and safety barriers. Up to 25,000 vehicles a day use SH22 to connect to SH1, and vehicle numbers are increasing as the local population grows. The safer speed limits on SH22 are part of the Waka Kotahi Safe Network Programme. The Safe Network Programme focuses on safe roads and roadsides, safe and appropriate speeds, and safe level crossings. As part of the programme, Waka Kotahi is identifying roads where safer speed limits could make a big difference in preventing deaths and serious injuries, and where communities are calling for change.
Transport and New Zealand Police to help tackle the problem. The partnership aims to remind drivers about the importance of remaining safe when behind the wheel and to encourage safer choices and better behaviour when using mobile phones. A variety of thought-provoking campaigns will take place over the next 12 months to educate the public on the legal use of mobile phones in cars, what the risks are, and the best options to stay safe. The core group will include Waka Kotahi, Vodafone, 2degrees and Spark, while Auckland Transport and New Zealand Police will contribute to various campaigns. “We know that it’s safest not to use a phone at all while driving. Unfortunately, the reality is that phone use by drivers is commonplace in New Zealand and this is a hard behaviour to shift. The partnership will help us to better understand driver behaviours and develop targeted initiatives aimed at raising awareness of the risks and to spread the word on the importance of driving undistracted,” says Waka Kotahi Senior Manager Road Safety, Fabian Marsh.
More information on the speed review and our consultation summary, including the submissions, can be found at the following project site: Visit here for more information on Auckland Transport’s Safe Speeds programme.
New Partnership distraction
Almost a third of Kiwi drivers (32%) said they would text/message someone while driving (Vodafone Consumer Insights research, 2020) – and a new partnership between road safety agencies and the private sector aims to turn that figure around. In a bid to pave the way for safer roads and to prevent car crashes caused by phone distractions, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has teamed up with 2degrees, Vodafone, Spark, Auckland
“We hope that by enlisting the support and collaboration of our partners, we will be able to tap into the mindsets of Kiwis all across the country encouraging people to think twice about using their phones behind the wheel.” To launch the initiative, observational research will be conducted to assess real-life driving behaviours. The purpose of the study is to monitor how people are using their phones while in the car which will determine how the working group communicates with Kiwi drivers moving forward. The observational research will go into market in July to assess how Kiwis really behave once in the car. Recruitment is already underway for the research which will be opt-in and remain anonymous.
“By showcasing what people actually do in the car, we will have the insight to combat phone distraction with practical solutions. We’re looking forward to working with all of our partners to help tackle a real problem that affects New Zealand drivers every day,” Mr Marsh says. With mobile phone use in cars a major contributor of driver distraction, Vodafone, Spark and 2degrees knew they had a role to play in helping to tackle this issue and make New Zealand roads safer. Jason Paris, Chief Executive Officer, Vodafone says: “While smartphones are the digital Swiss army knives of our lives in so many ways, mobile phones can be a massive, and, sadly, too often a tragic distraction when we get behind the wheel. “Last year we teamed up with the AA to highlight this important issue, now we are proud to be joining Waka Kotahi and our fellow telcos in a bid to encourage safer ways for Kiwis to remain connected while on the go.” Mark Aue, Chief Executive Officer, 2degrees says: “This is about making our roads safer to drive on, and our country safer to travel in. People using phones while in the driver’s seat are distracted and are putting themselves and others at risk. This partnership matters and the team at 2degrees is 100% behind this work with Waka Kotahi to promote safe practises and deliver lasting behaviour change that will ultimately save lives.” Jolie Hodson, Chief Executive Officer, Spark says: “We are really pleased to support this initiative and be part of encouraging meaningful change on this issue. While most kiwis know it is dangerous to drive and use their phone, many continue to do so, and therefore it is important that we get a better understanding of why this is and how we can change that behaviour. “We’re looking forward to seeing the results of the research and working with Waka Kotahi, NZ Police, Auckland Transport and our industry peers to keep Kiwis safe on the roads.” To support this initiative the working group has prepared a fact sheet outlining legal mobile phone use while driving. This information provides clarity on what is classed as illegal and legal mobile phone use in a car and the best options to keep drivers safe. More information on the legal use of mobile phones
Dragon’s Teeth roadmarking trial A trial is underway for the use of dragon’s teeth markings as a threshold marking. Authority for the trail was by Gazette Notice issued 9th January 2020 Notice Number 2019-au2725 The purpose of the trial is to: a. enable the installation of dragon’s teeth road markings. b. evaluate the effectiveness and safety of dragon’s teeth road markings in relation to speed limit adherence and changes in road user behaviour through increased awareness. c. assess drivers’ understanding and response to dragon’s teeth road markings; and d. measure drivers’ behaviour where dragons’ teeth road markings are installed ahead of a change to a lower speed limit and at speed limit threshold treatments in rural or arterial road environments (Group A and B sites) or e. measure drivers’ behaviour at where dragon’s teeth road markings are installed at the start of a school zone, local shopping area and/or on approach to a permanent zebra or signalised crossing (Group C sites).
Trial markings are being installed by: NZ Transport Agency Auckland Transport Christchurch City Council Hamilton City Council Dunedin City Council New Plymouth City Council Each road controlling authority is responsible for monitoring traffic at sites within their jurisdiction and contributing to the interim and final reports. An interim evaluation report is due 31st August 2020 and a final report by 31st January 2022.
AA and New Zealand Red Cross partner for first aid kits The Automobile Association and New Zealand Red Cross have released a range of new first aid kits they hope will raise the bar for self-help supplies nationwide. AA Retail Product Co-ordinator Thiruna Selvaratnam said making the decision to partner with New Zealand Red Cross on the kits was an easy one. “We wanted to make sure that our AA kits provide the best most-up-to date products on the market and are user friendly when the worst happens. Now our new Vehicle First Aid Kit has specialist products like the TraumaFix pack to quickly assist with severe bleeding and BurnSoothe for treating burns. That’s an important change because while airbags are proven to reduce fatalities and serious injuries in vehicle accidents, they can also cause minor burns when they deploy.
“The first thing I decided to do was lead an informal review of what was available on the market here and I was shocked to find that many of these socalled vehicle kits are just smaller versions of a household first aid kit. “One kit we examined contained 178 pieces which included 100 cotton tips and 12 safety pins, yet had nothing useful to stop serious bleeding. It’s not until you need to use your kit for real that you discover if it’s up for the job – and then it could be too late,” Marcus said. In developing the AA’s new Vehicle First Aid Kit, New Zealand Red Cross used accident statistics and the British Standard (which utilises research data found in Formula 1 racing) to better understand what’s required in that critical period before emergency services arrive at the crash scene. “There might not yet be an official standard for vehicle first aid kits in New Zealand, but we hope our new AA and New Zealand Red Cross Vehicle First Aid Kits will become something of an unofficial standard. And, of course, we want to make a positive difference to the outcome of anyone who’s involved in a road accident,” Marcus said. “We have tried to put as much thought into all aspects of use for these kits as possible, and that includes our decision to sell these kits without the usual plastic shrink wrapping so they’re good for both the health of our Members and the environment,” Thiruna added. The new kits will retail at AA Centres nationwide and online
Safe hit posts installed on SH 1 Ohakea
“We’ve also put just as much thought into our new Home and Travel kits to ensure they’re stocked with everything our Members and customers need whether they’re planning to stay in during the cooler months or pack the car up and head to the slopes,” Thiruna said. New Zealand Red Cross Product Development Manager Marcus Bird said he was surprised to learn that there is currently no official standard for vehicle first aid kits sold in New Zealand. Other countries, such as Britain, have had a national standard for more than five years.
Safe hit posts will be installed on State Highway 1 at the Ohakea Airforce Base intersection and along the straight towards Bulls bridge to prevent the use of the median flush as a passing lane and improve safety. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency permanently closed the southbound passing lane on State Highway 1 between Bulls and Sanson last year after it was identified as high risk, particularly at the intersection with Pukenui Road where Ohakea Airforce Base is accessed. The removal of the passing lane was intended to remove the risk of right-turning traffic queued for the Airforce Base from extending into the passing
lane and discourage high speeds at the end of the passing lane.
"It won't solve some of the congestion on the main highways - those need to be addressed by some of the larger issues we're looking at, such as mass rapid transit." Wellington councillors approved the changes in June in a unanimous vote. While more than 200 signs have been updated, road markings might not be until later this year.
Regional Transport Systems Manager Ross I’Anson says it is disappointing that drivers have instead been using the median flush in front of the Airforce Base as a passing lane. “This driver behaviour increases the risk of crashes between vehicles using the median and vehicles either waiting to turn into the Airforce Base or onto the highway.
"It's going to take a little while for everyone to adjust so we're encouraging drivers to look out for the 30km/h signs, slow down and give people space," Councillor Jenny Condie said. "Lowering the speed in Wellington's CBD is part of making longer-term changes for people walking, biking and using public transport that are at the heart of other cities around the world." Blakely says it's a step in the right direction.
“We know that some road users may feel inconvenienced by the removal of the passing lane, but our priority is the safety of everyone using the road which is why we are taking steps to prevent this risky driver behaviour.”
Wellington's new speed limits come into force From 19th July the speed limit on most central streets is dropping from 50km/h to 30km/h. Greater Wellington Regional Council spokesperson Roger Blakeley says it will make the area more userfriendly.
"The mantra of 'let's get Wellington moving' programme is moving more people with fewer vehicles - it's a shift to get people out of their private cars and into walking and cycling and public transport."
"That's going to make it much a more pedestrianfriendly, walkable environment, rather than a traffic area with cars going 50km/h."
Wellington's move follows Auckland, which lowered many of its CBD street speed limits at the end of June.
Main routes around the CBD will remain at 50km/h, including Vivian St, Karo Dr, Taranaki St and Kent and Cambridge Terraces.
"Setting safe and survivable speeds for our road network is the quickest and most cost-effective way to immediately reduce death and serious injury," Auckland Transport Executive General Manager of Safety Bryan Sherritt said.
"Retaining a 50km/h speed limit on the main roads gives a strong direction on where the through traffic should go," NZ Transport Agency Senior Manager Robyn Elston said. Roger Blakeley says there is more work to do to fix the city's congestion.
"Setting safe speed limits is just one part of a significant road safety investment between 2018 and 2028."
Congestion charges - are they the solution? Paul Evans, ACENZ Chief Executive Recently I read a report from the New Zealand Initiative that looked at congestion charging in Aotearoa. You can read the report here. That our current transport system leaves much to be desired will come as no surprise to most of us. I am sure that all commuters in our major cities will agree that congestion is becoming the new normal and this in part is because we are in the top 10 countries for vehicle ownership. It is almost a given that congestion will become considerably worse as Government forecasts show the number of kilometres travelled is likely to increase by as much as 66% by 2040. That’s a scary stat! Congestion is a frustrating everyday inconvenience for many of us, and there is also a genuine economic impact on drivers being caught up in slow-moving traffic. The report shows that the cost of congestion adds up to around a billion dollars a year in Aotearoa. However, the report argues there is an answer in the form of a road pricing regime that would include a congestion charge. It’s certainly not a new concept. Economists and transport planners have been debating the idea for around 100 years! And it's been included in reports from both the Tax Working Group and the Productivity Commission.
It suggests there would be a spinoff for the business community with higher productivity from workers who are not caught up in traffic jams and the higher profitability for businesses could be passed on to workers in wage increases. Will that happen in reality? Not sure! Further, the report recommends variable peak and off-peak congestion charges could be introduced, which would be another way of enticing drivers to alter the time of their travel to take advantage of the lower rates. I suspect the big question for any Government thinking of introducing a congestion charge would be how well the public will receive it. The answer to that is probably not very well! The report suggests that the Government could introduce a scheme where for every net dollar raised through the congestion charge there could be a dollar less charged for property rates or maybe the tax component on fuel could be lowered. That could be used by the Government to show that the road pricing regime is a relatively cost-neutral way of modifying driver behaviour and results in a significant improvement in environmental quality. They contend such a scheme could potentially have greater acceptance as drivers see the benefits of lower road congestion on their daily commute. Of course, there are concerns over technology, privacy and socioeconomic inequality. These have been discussed for a long time, and for the most part, we can overcome them. Let’s not pretend that our current system is perfect on all these fronts. The bottom line is the number of cars on our roads is increasing, congestion is getting worse, particularly in major cities and we can’t just keep building more roads. Something needs to change. Introducing a congestion charge has many advantages, and maybe it’s part of the answer to the frustration that commuters feel every day.
Advantages of a congestion charge The report argues the main advantage of introducing a congestion charge stems from the old adage “no-one likes paying tax”. To avoid paying the cost, people would start looking for alternatives, including altering their travel times to avoid peak periods, changing their travel route away from overcrowded roads and making more use of public transport.
Revealed: The generation with the most dangerous driving in New Zealand The generation with the most dangerous driving has been revealed - and it's not the youngest. The 2020 New Zealand Safe Driving Report, by global comparison site Finder, surveyed 1922 Kiwis about their riskiest driving habits.
It found Millennials are the riskiest drivers, with a massive 81% admitting to reckless behaviour when out on the road. The next generation down - Gen Z - saw 80% saying they've behaved dangerously behind the wheel while the next generation up - Gen X - saw 78%of drivers saying the same.
Manly and Liverpool are following an international trend: the City of London slashed speeds in the city centre to 32km/h (20mp/h) in March. The moves are part of a NSW push to reduce speedrelated injuries by cutting speeds to 40km/h or lower in very busy pedestrian areas and to make cities more liveable.
Baby Boomers were the most obedient generation, with just 68% admitting to risky driving habits. The dangerous things Kiwis are doing behind the wheel Of those surveyed, 64% admitted eating while behind the wheel, while 37% said they've driven in jandals. Smoking while driving was another common habit, with 22% saying they've done this. In fourth place was answering a phone while driving - with a 20% rate - while texting took out fifth on 19%. Kevin McHugh, Finder's publisher in New Zealand, says it's shocking to see just how many drivers are putting their lives at risk. "It only takes a split second for concentration to lapse, yet some Kiwis are still snacking and yapping behind the wheel," he says in a statement. "Whether you're answering a phone call or reaching into the backseat, taking your eyes off the road for a second can be the difference between life and death. "Don't put the lives of others or yourself at risk by driving dangerously - risky behaviour behind the wheel is an accident waiting to happen."
Manly cuts speeds to 30km/h to become NSW's slowest suburb Manly is now home to NSW's first 30km/h town centre, with the Northern Beaches Council slowing vehicles to protect visitors and locals who walk and cycle near the harbour and the beach. And in Sydney's south-west, speeds in the "highly walkable" town centre of Liverpool will drop to 30km/h to protect vulnerable road users. School zone speeds in Liverpool and Manly will also be reduced from 40km/h to 30km/h with new orange warning signs.
"Pedestrians have a 40% risk of dying in a crash with an impact speed of 40km/h, but this falls to a 10% risk when the impact speed is 30km/h," a Transport for NSW spokesperson said. The risk of a pedestrian dying at 50km/h is 80%. About 2.3 million domestic and overseas tourists visited Manly every year. The council's chief executive Ray Brownlee said the 30km/h area zone was part of the council's "places for people" policy. Manly was selected because of the high number of pedestrians, he said. Replacing existing 40km/h speed limits with 30km/h had been well received, Mr Brownlee said. If successful, it will be extended to other areas in the northern beaches. Statistics by the NSW Centre for Road Safety showed there had been 73 crashes in Manly's new low speed zone, causing 62 injuries, from October 2014 to September 2019. A third of accidents involved pedestrians. Another 11%involved cyclists. Research shows a kilometre decrease in travelling speed would lead to a 2 to 3%reduction in road crashes and reduce injuries among all users. North Sydney mayor Jilly Gibson also confirmed on Friday that the council was planning to reduce speeds to 40km/h in busy pedestrian areas. New traffic calming measures near Kirribilli had been appreciated by cafe owners because they would make outdoor dining more pleasant, relaxed and easier for parents with children.
Speed limits were also cut to 40km/h last August around Sydney's CBD, including parts of Pyrmont, Ultimo, Barangaroo, Dawes Point and Millers Point. In February, the 3rd Global Ministerial Council for Road Safety in Stockholm, Sweden, called for speeds on urban streets to be lowered to 30km/h.
Safer cone collection with X-Cone A cone collection system to further isolate workers from traffic and improved worksite lighting, are among the latest safety and demarcation products. X-Cone is a new traffic cone management system offering a higher level of safety for workers and maximum efficiency for contractors. Austrian-made X-Cone is a truck-mounted system that can manage the setting out and collection of cones from the flatbed of any 3.5tonne vehicle. It does not matter if the cones are straight or laying on the road, the X-cone can still manage the work quickly, safely and reliably, according to the manufacturer.
For setting out standard cones, the driver can decide the distance between cones by using a simple screen on the LCD display of a wireless remote control. The X-Cone has a long-life expectancy. It’s stainless steel and aluminium lightweight construction make it extremely durable with minimum maintenance requirements. Once installed on the flatbed of the service vehicle, this multifunctional system is fully automatic and works unaffected by weather or temperature conditions. The design makes it fully flexible for use on the right or left side of the road and in either traffic flow direction. The X-Cone is extremely versatile and is able to set out or collect cones ranging from 600-800mm in height. Because it collects or deposits cones quickly – without putting workers’ safety at risk – the unit is suitable for longer work zones.
The X-Cone has been designed for a one-man operation. After set-up a single worker can operate the system at a speed of about 6kp/h. X-Cone systems are working in the Austrian city of Graz and in the Czech Republic capital Prague as well as Ljubljana in Slovenia and Munich in Germany. Machines have also recently been shipped to Tokyo and Bangkok. Machines are sold through distributors to local highway administration and highway maintenance companies.
U.S. truck platooning making progress Often dismissed as a side-show in vehicle automation, truck platooning is gaining momentum, according to a recent Forbes.com piece by Richard Bishop. Platooning refers to one or more trucks following a lead truck that is equipped with automated safety features and vehicle-tovehicle communications. First-generation platooning has the follower driver keep his feet off the pedals but retain the ability to steer; this is Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Level 1. With second-generation platooning, the follower truck operates at SAE Level 4, with a safety driver in reserve, potentially eliminated once the system is well-proven.
The U.S. leader in developing first-generation platooning is Peloton Technology, with its muchtested PelotonPro system. Customer trials of the system continue, and Peloton reports that commercial Level 1 platooning is legal in 27 states thus far, encompassing over 80% of annual truck freight traffic. Peloton told Bishop that automated following (Level 4) has been confirmed to them as allowed by Arizona, Texas, and Utah, and five other states are considering this. And while several large U.S. trucking fleets have shown interest, the only one that has been public about it is UPS (120,000 vehicles). At a Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference in San Francisco, UPS Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer Scott Price confirmed that
they are testing platooning technologies with Peloton Technology.
steer the use of spoken instructions as the safest method for future in-car control.
Bishop reported several other developments. First, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in December announced a USD$4.8 million demonstration program for driver-assisted buses that would allow shorter following distances for commuter buses using the Lincoln Tunnel exclusive bus lane. The technology is expected to increase peak-hour bus capacity by up to 30%—200 more buses carrying 10,000 more passengers per hour during weekday mornings. Robotic Research and Southwest Research Institute will each develop a system, with the better one selected for pilot testing. Bishop also reported that the U.S. Army is working on leader-follower capabilities for convoys. The aim here is not closer following (which could be dangerous in a hostile environment) but rather, as GPS World recently reported, to improve their ability to survive attacks. In the Army version, all trucks in the convoy would have the same automation capabilities, so that any of them could take over as the convoy leader, if necessary. The service’s Ground Vehicles Systems Centre is purchasing commercial, off-the-shelf technologies to add these capabilities to sets of vehicles, including navigation systems (inertial plus GPS) and lidar. Startup Robotic Research won a contract to deliver 60 leader-follower truck pairs to Ft. Polk, LA, and Ft. Sill, OK, for evaluation. Overall, Bishop expects U.S. commercial automated follower platooning to be introduced within two to three years. Peloton and competing startup Locomation both expect automated following to expand geographically once the first commercial operations are under way. And Peloton hopes to convert its initial Level 1 platooning customers to automated (Level 4) following in due course.
TRL calls for safer systems in vehicles
Transport Research Laboratory (UK) recently published a report – commissioned by IAM Roadsmart, FIA Road Safety and Rees Jeffreys Road Fund – into the impacts of in-vehicle infotainment systems such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay on driving performance. Evidence shows that driver distraction levels are much higher when using touch screen technologies compared to voice activated systems. However, further research is necessary to
With driver distraction estimated to be a factor in up to 30% of vehicle collisions across Europe, the improved safety of in-vehicle infotainment systems is a must if this number is to be decreased in the future. By improving voice activated systems through the use of such solutions as conversational artificial intelligence, it is possible that infotainment systems could become less distracting for drivers. This call for voice-activated systems is supported by the development of conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) which enables speech interfaces to operate at a complex level. Currently, voice control systems only understand a set of key commands. Thanks to conversational AI, this will widen to include all forms of dialogue to enable a versatile, natural interaction. Once this is achieved, voice control systems will be revolutionised. Dr Neale Kinnear, Head of Behavioural Science at TRL, explains: “The results of this study clearly show that touch control infotainment systems are highly distracting to drivers, far more so than voice activated systems. However, even current voice control systems increase drivers’ reaction times and remains a concern for road safety. This is why TRL is recommending that we put our efforts into developing a framework for testing and improving the human factors of such systems. This includes improving voice activation as a method of control, as this has the opportunity to greatly reduce the workload on a driver thanks to innovations being made in conversational Artificial Intelligence. TRL would like to see safety standards improved around infotainment systems, not just by their definition, but also through the harmonisation of standards across the entire transport sector.” Andy Peart, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer at Artificial Solutions, clarified how exactly AI can play a part in enhancing voice activation systems: “There
is no doubt that conversational AI will be the defining technology of the next decade. As it becomes smarter, faster and more advanced, AI will be of immense benefit to in-vehicle systems by allowing more complex user demands to be understood and fulfilled, as well as enabling multidirectional interaction to occur between the system and the consumer.” Dr Kinnear concludes: “Driver distraction is widely recognised as an important road safety issue; the more attention a driver diverts away from the main driving task, the more their driving behaviour will be negatively affected. To improve the use and safety impact of in-vehicle technologies, an agreed framework for testing is required to which system manufacturers can demonstrate their safe use before bringing to market. Alongside improvements in voice activated systems, there is opportunity to improve systems so that we don’t make the driving task more complicated in the future.”
Road safety concern for the UK New data on UK road deaths reveals a cause for concern. The latest figures show that road deaths have increased on the UK’s Strategic Road Network (SRN).
The cost of collisions on the SRN came to £1.195 billion in 2018 according to the data from Highways England. This compares with a figure of £1.115 billion in 2017. In 2018, 144 car occupants, 42 pedestrians, 32 motorcyclists, 28 goods vehicle occupants and a cyclist were killed in crashes on the SRN. Meanwhile, serious injuries from crashes on the SRN increased to 1,737 compared with 1,617 for 2017. Again, A roads were the most dangerous SRN routes and accounted for 1,015 of the serious injuries in 2018 compared with 722 on motorways. Massive cuts in budgets available for traffic policing have been criticised by senior police officers. The officers claim this cut in policing is a key cause in the increase in road deaths and serious injuries. In the period from 2013-2019, there was a 34% drop in spending on traffic policing, resulting in fewer crackdowns on typical offences such as speeding, drink/drug driving, lack of seatbelt use and the use of mobile phones at the wheel. Between 2015 and 2018, the number of breath tests carried out on drivers in England and Wales fell by 25%. There has been a corresponding increase in serious crashes involving the use of alcohol by drivers during this period. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of vehicle occupant deaths in which the casualties have not been wearing seatbelts during this same period, up from 20% in 2013 to 26% in 2018. During this period, the number of vehicle occupants charged with not wearing a seatbelt dropped by 75%.
Germany sets up National Cycle Plan 3.0
According to Highways England, there were 250 deaths on the SRN in 2018, compared with 236 in 2017. This is the highest rate of fatalities on the SRN since 2009, when there were 255 deaths. Motorways were safer in 2018 with 85 road deaths recorded, compared with 79 in 2017. However, A roads proved more dangerous with 102 deaths on dual carriageways and 63 on dual lane routes, an increase of 20 compared with 2017. At the moment 2018 is the latest year for which comprehensive road death data is available. But there is concern too that the figures for 2019 may be worse still.
Germany has launched National Cycle Plan 3.0 as a follow-on strategy to boost cycling numbers and further improve safety of the country’s growing cycling network. It includes concepts, thematic focuses and concrete objectives that the federal government, federal states, local communities and businesses should pursue within their field of responsibilities. The current National Cycling Plan 2020 was established in 2013 and runs until the end of this year when NCP 3.0 takes over, according to a statement on the website of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). NCP 3.0, now being finalised, is based upon “2,220 ideas, suggestions and proposals for improving cycling in Germany and more than 26,000 evaluations” of cycling infrastructure, said Andreas
Scheuer, Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. The objectives of the new strategy will help recreate an even more seamless cycling infrastructure to enable Germany “to become a country of cycling commuters”, said Scheuer. There will also be a push for more “urban cargo transport by bicycle” and for “cycling to become intelligent, smart and connected”.
It means the three Australian states with the biggest populations – and the most drivers – will have cameras to catch people using a mobile phone while behind the wheel. Authorities in other states are also expected to eventually roll out the technology, but are yet to announce their trials. Drivers in Queensland and Victoria caught on camera using a mobile phone will initially receive warning letters rather than a fine. Victoria is trialling the technology for three months, while Queensland says it will test the equipment until the end of the year.
At present, about 11% of all transportation trips in Germany are made by bike. It is planned to increase this share significantly in the coming years. Scheuer pointe to Denmark where cycling accounts for 18% of traffic and in the Netherlands it is 27%. A key prerequisite for getting people on their bikes is a good cycling infrastructure which makes cycling both convenient and safe, notes ministry. The government will continue to offer tax breaks to the leasing of officially designated bicycles. Among the organisations, agencies and private companies helping to finalise the draft of the NCP 3.0 is PTV Group, a German company specialising in software solutions and consulting services for traffic and transportation, mobility and logistics.
Both jurisdictions say they will also use the cameras to detect occupants not wearing a seatbelt. While NSW now has about a dozen mobile phone detection cameras across the state – and the number is growing – Victoria and Queensland will initially have just two cameras each, tested in a number of locations. The cameras are mounted on overhead signs, bridges, or mobile towers, and can detect vehicles across multiple lanes of traffic. The Australian-developed camera technology automatically sorts images which do and don't depict drivers holding a phone. The image then undergoes a human check – at a department based in Australia – before a fine or warning letter is issued.
“The goals are that everyone should feel safe on these networks and that it becomes possible to go nearly anywhere on a bicycle,” according to a blog on the website of PTV. “For this, the programme to boost cycling [NCP 3.0] will make available nearly €1.4 billion by 2023, much more than at any time previously.” More information about NCP 3.0 is available, in English, on the federal ministry’s website.
Victoria and Queensland join NSW with mobile phone detection cameras Queensland and Victoria will roll out mobile phone detection cameras – five months after NSW began using the technology to issue fines.
A statement from VicRoads said: “The trial – which begins this Wednesday, 29 July – will ensure the technology operates accurately and is appropriate for use on Victorian roads before a potential rollout.”
VicRoads said research showed drivers who use a mobile phone while driving are four times more likely to cause a fatal road accident. “Texting, browsing and emailing increase the crash risk even further – up to 10 times,” a statement from VicRoads said. In the 2017-18 financial year, more than 30,000 motorists were issued with fines for using a mobile phone while driving in Victoria. By comparison, cameras in NSW detected approximately 21,000 mobile phone offences within the first two months after authorities began issuing tickets instead of warnings. VicRoads said the mobile phone camera detection trial will help authorities “understand how the technology can be integrated with the existing road safety camera systems, and ensure the cameras operate effectively and accurately, so fines issued under a full rollout are appropriate”. Despite the warnings, many drivers are unaware mobile phone penalties are the same whether a vehicle is stopped in traffic or travelling at speed. Contrary to widespread belief, drivers cannot browse social media, email or text messages even if the phone is in a mounting bracket.
New South Wales: A$349 and five demerit points, with penalties rising to A$464 in school zones. Queensland: A$1000 and four demerit points. Repeat offenders will receive a A$2000 fine and double demerit points if caught again within 12 months from the previous offence. Victoria: A$496 and four demerit points. ACT: A$480 and three demerit points for handheld phone use and a A$589 fine and four demerit points for driver using mobile device for messaging, social networking, mobile application or accessing internet.
Road construction stimulus for Australia A new road construction stimulus package is being planned for Australia. The Federal Government is backing the move in a bid to revive the economy in the wake of the pandemic. This financing will be directed towards road projects that are in the final planning stages, fast tracking them to start. In New South Wales (NSW), funding for the work will be provided jointly by Australia’s Federal Government and the NSW State Government. The funding will be worth some US$705.3 million (A$1 billion) in all. The NSW State Government is providing 57% of the funding, with the Federal Government providing the remaining 43%. The funding package will be used to improve road safety in NSW, to improve regional roads and also to address traffic congestion in 11 particular areas known for delays around Sydney.
The devices can only be used to take or make a call and cannot be rested on the driver’s lap or shoulder – or held away from their body.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government is pledging a further US$1.06 billion (A$1.5 billion) for works in Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia, Northern Territory, ACT and Tasmania. The governments in these states will also contribute to road projects that are already planned. For Queensland, a sum of US$292.7 million (A$415 million) will help to carry out infrastructure work, including upgrades to the Gateway Motorway Flyover and the Burke and Gregory Developmental roads.
Queensland has the equal highest penalty nationally for using a phone while driving – A$1000 and four demerit points, the same as Western Australia. The fine for using a mobile phone while driving in Victoria is A$496 and four demerit points.
In Western Australia, a further US$157.3 million (A$223 million) from state and federal sources will help to carry out work on the Great Eastern and Bussell Highways, as well as boosting road safety on regional roads.
Here is a recap of the mobile phone driving penalties in each state and territory in Australia (subject to change):
South Australia will benefit to the tune of US$101.9 million (A$144.5 million), which will be used to improve regional roads, increase capacity for road freight around Adelaide and also boost road safety.
For the Northern Territory US$37.4 million (A$53 million) will be made available to boost road safety for the Stuart Highway, Barkly Highway and Victoria Highway.
management features and calculates a Star Rating where 1-star is the least safe and 5-star is the safest. iRAP is a UK registered charity with an objective of international promotion of road safety improvement and road quality for public benefit. iRAP has a vision for a world free of high-risk roads. “Our children deserve a safe journey to and from school. If we can make our roads safe for kids, they will be safe for everyone,” said iRAP CEO Rob McInerney. “Providing the SR4S tools for free use worldwide will maximise our potential to save children’s lives. 3M’s great support will help make this happen.”
A sum of US$32.44 million (A$46 million) will be used to upgrade roads in Tasmania, including improvements for the Huon Highway and Sandfly Road junction. The Australian Capital Territory will also receive US$24.7 million (A$35 million) for road improvements, the bulk of which will be used to improve the Monaro Highway.
Global road safety programme The International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) has announced that 3M has become a Global Programme Partner in the iRAP’s Star Rating for Schools (SR4S) programme. Through this, 3M will provide an annual contribution to support the programme and its goal of ensuring that children are able to travel safely to and from school.
“We are very pleased to partner with iRAP and together advance road safety globally,” said Dr Daniel Chen, Vice President, 3M Transportation Safety Division. “Through the SR4S process and implementation of simple and effective treatments like footpaths, safe crossings, line marking and signage, iRAP and their Lead Partners are making an impact on the lives of school children around the world.” The SR4S programme officially launched at the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety which took place in Sweden in February 2020. 3M joins SR4S as the first of five Global Programme Partners that will support the SR4S Programme, along with the Founding Sponsor FedEx and Major Donor FIA Foundation, as a partner in this important children’s safety programme.
UK should consider road miles pricing system The head of one of the largest UK motoring organisations is backing a “road miles” pricing system for drivers, according to media reports. Edmund King, president of the Automobile Association, said “more radical thinking” from metropolitan and city leaders is needed as the country emerges from the COVID crisis.
Road crashes are the biggest killer of young people worldwide and the life-changing impact of injury affects children all around the world. iRAP developed the SR4S system as an evidence-based tool for measuring, managing and communicating children’s exposure to risk on a journey to school. It supports quick interventions that help save lives and prevent serious injuries. SR4S allows the easy assessment of road infrastructure and speed
King said people’s experience of cleaner air, quieter roads and homeworking means an opportunity for positive change exists. “I am optimistic that this lockdown is beginning to change the attitudes of drivers … If local authorities can put in well planned infrastructure to walk and to cycle – and public transport when that returns – I do feel that can have a credible difference,” he said. King was speaking at a virtual conference organised by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, a non-
profit organisation that supports debate on energy and climate change issues in the UK.
to make a sound, alerting pedestrians to their approach. There were 661 road deaths in the Netherlands in 2019, compared with 644 in 2018. And as EVs become more common, it is possible the situation will worsen and unless measures are taken.
Manchester focuses on Cyclops junction The UK‘s first Cyclops junction - cycle optimised protected signals - has been launched in Hulme in Greater Manchester. The Guardian newspaper noted that King said a car miles – or road miles – system could allow urban drivers to have the first 3,000 miles (4,830km) free and rural drivers would get an extra 1,000 miles (1,610km) free. After these miles, they would have to pay per journey. King said the AA’s own research that showed its members were ready to change their behaviour after lockdown ends. “Transport patterns won’t be the same in life after lockdown, according to drivers,” he said. “Half say they will walk more; four in 10 vow to drive less; a quarter will work from home more and one fifth will cycle more.” The Guardian newspaper also noted that a per-mile charging scheme based on the environmental impact of vehicle journeys has become more popular in recent years. London mayor Sadiq Khan reportedly has considered a per-mile charging scheme in the capital city. According to the Centre for London, a think-tank backed by some politicians and business groups, has said such an urban charge would be a more sophisticated approach to road charging and be an improvement on London’s current ultra-low emissions zone.
EVs posing safety issues There is concern in the Netherlands over the safety issues posed by EVs. One body, Automotive Insiders, believes that by 2030 there could be an extra 1,400 deaths/year on the road network as EVs proliferate in the country. The key problem is that EVs are quieter in operation. Pedestrians may step out into the road without looking, relying on listening for the sound of a vehicle approaching. This is a particular issue for those with vision problems who are more reliant on hearing. Noise generators have been suggested as a solution to the problem. Electric vehicles would be required
The Cyclops design fully segregates cyclists from general traffic, improving safety for all road users. Pedestrians are also able to get where they want to be in fewer stages with more space to wait than on other junction designs. It was installed as part of the Manchester-toChorlton cycling and walking route. It is also part of Greater Manchester’s Bee Network, a nearly 2,900km joined-up walking and cycling network that connects every community across the cityregion. The Cyclops junction has a so-called external orbital cycle route that separates cyclists from motor traffic, according to Richard Butler and Jonathan Salter, transportation engineers with the Transport for Greater Manchester and designers of the Cyclops layout. Bicycles approaching from all four “arms” can use the cycle track which encircles the junction to make left, ahead and right turning movements safely protected from traffic. Another benefit of the design is that cyclists have a protected right turn on a gentle radius and can filter left without signal control. Also, journey times for all modes of transport using the intersection including motor traffic - are not negatively affected. Construction was carried out by Colas UK, wholly owned by the Colas Group, a French international contractor and part of Bouygues. Care was taken to
minimise disruption to the traveling public and local residents. Colas developed a programme which delivered the works in small-low impact phases which were coordinated with the flow of traffic, again allowing for the least disruption. Chris Boardman, Greater Manchester’s first cycling and walking commissioner, praised the layout. “Particularly right now, as we’ve seen cycling trips up by 34% and cycling and walking trips now counting for 33% of all journeys in Greater Manchester,” said Boardman who was a professional bicycle racer and Tour de France prologue winner, as well as an Olympic track gold medallist in the individual pursuit. “This junction design will make journeys easier and smoother for those doing their bit by cycling or walking, without impacting negatively on any other modes.”
NZTA/NZRF T 8 and T 12 The T 8 and T 12 applicator testing programme is a key component of industry self-regulation. NZTA P 22 specification states in Section 6: At the time of tender, contractors shall forward copies of current T/8 certificates for the plant they propose to use on the contract. The applicator(s) certification is to be kept valid for the period of the contract. There is a .pdf version of the applicator certificates associated with each registration line.
The next Cyclops layout will be at Manchester’s Newport Street, by Bolton Station. More than 30 more layouts are in development across the 10 Manchester area districts. For a free 16-page downloadable pdf of the programme and Cyclops design, visit the Transport for Greater Manchester website.
Upcoming Events RIAA/NZRF Conference and Exhibition Coffs Harbour, NSW Further Postponed until 2021 www.riaa.com.au ATSSA Convention and Traffic Expo January 29th – February 2nd 2021 San Diego Convention Center San Diego http://www.atssa.com Intertraffic Amsterdam RIA Amsterdam Postponed until 23rd to 26th March 2021 www.intertraffic.com
These can be accessed via a hyperlink off the certificate registration number. The certificates include a photograph of the applicator. T 12 certificates include schedules setting out the scope of certification covering plain flat markings, structured markings and audio-tactile markings or any combinations of these.