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President's Message
Membership & Sponsorship Fees
Editor's Reflections
National Conference News
State Branch Events
Cycling & Walking in New Zealand
Adelaide's Leadership Potential
Stopping Vehicles Being Weapons
New Zealand Award Open
Quirky News
Sponsors & Advertising
Welcome to the first newsletter for 2018. How quickly the Christmas - New Year period passes. January is almost over and so too the school holidays, so it is back into the normal routine of balancing the demands of work with commitments to our private and family lives. Here in Adelaide though the city will be alive for the next two months. The recent Tour Down Under has kicked off a frantic period of events including Clipsal, the Fringe and my favourite – Womadelaide.

But not to get ahead of myself, there is the important business of getting AITPM back on track. National Council will be meeting via a teleconference at the start of February to pick up where we left off last year. The draft Strategic Directions will be issued next week (which will provide a clear indication of the Institute’s priorities and a focus on a return to core business) and next month we will be seeking applications for the long awaited “Ted Huxtable” grant. The grant is aimed at encouraging and assisting members to undertake research or investigations into emerging national or international issues that may benefit the transport industry across Australia.  At the same time the national conference committee is steaming towards the delivery of the flagship event in Perth in July (see more in this newsletter) and the State Branch Committees are busily preparing their respective technical forum and seminar programs. So much to look forward to this year.

Another key release in the coming weeks is the Code of Practice for transport modellers which has been prepared by the Transport Modelling Network (TMN). I have a personal interest in this initiative as I was at the inaugural meeting of AITPM’s Transport Modelling Network when the need for such a document was discussed. The discussion was in response to adverse public comments about the validity of traffic demand forecasts in 2014. The  code of practice will provide guidance to modellers working in the industry in how to communicate the assumptions and limitations of transport model forecasts. We are hopeful that over time we can positively influence the industry in the appropriate use of transport models in decision making. Interestingly enough as this document is about to be released, I read an article in the Financial Review last month concerning a lawsuit over traffic forecasts. Many of you working in this area probably read the article too and should be rightfully concerned about the potential risks around how forecasts may be developed, used or abused. It is not my intention here to draw attention to the details of this specific case but rather to reinforce the need for a Code of Practice to provide guidance to those who develop transport models and those who use the outputs.

Last week I wrote to members advising of an increase in membership fees for 2018. This will be the first increase in 4 years and is required to meet rising operational costs and help deliver current and new services. National Council has also increased the costs of national sponsorship to help offset the price rise for members. Later in this newsletter I present in more detail the reasons for the increase. Price rises are never popular and at best tolerated, so as always, I avail myself to discuss any concerns or suggestions by members.

Sponsorship is a key source of funds for the Institute and we work in partnership with our sponsors to develop mutually rewarding relationships. We are very lucky to have several loyal sponsors who have supported us for years but I regret to announce that in the last few weeks Metrocount and PSA Consulting have elected not to renew their sponsorship contracts.   

Metrocount has been a national sponsor since 2014 and although we won’t have a formal relationship with them I know that we can rely on Vern (Bastian), Maurice (Berger) and Mike (Kenny) to continue to support the Institute in other ways. Thanks chaps for your support and camaraderie over the last three years.

PSA Consulting was a national sponsor since 2014 following major branch sponsor in Queensland (2012-2014). PSA is redirecting its focus on the geographic areas where it operates and has now taken up major branch sponsorship in two states (Queensland and NSW). Again we look forward to continuing our relationship with Alec (Tattersall) and Hannah (Richardson). 

The loss of two sponsors though has provided opportunities for others and I am happy to announce that Matrix and Connexus have taken up national sponsorship for the next three years. I have known Marty Prowse from Matrix since they took up sponsorship of the national conference in Adelaide in 2014 and more recently as Major Branch sponsors. I look forward to cementing the relationship further. I would like to welcome Andrew Barr and his team from Brisbane-based Connexus and I also look forward to meeting up with you personally at the Perth conference.

It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the ongoing sponsorship of our other loyal national platinum sponsors – Austraffic and WSP and national sponsors – Cardno, Saferoads, SMEC and VLC. Your support has been immense and we could not achieve what we have and what we hope to achieve without your support. A list of our major branch and other sponsors is provided in this newsletter.
That’s it from me until next month.
Andrew Leedham
National President

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Increase in sponsorship and membership fees for 2018/19

Membership fees and the cost of national sponsorship packages will increase in 2018 to offset the Institute’s rising operating costs and to contribute to the Institute’s delivery of higher quality and additional member services. Membership fee increases will take affect from 1 April 2018 and national sponsorship increases will take affect at the commencement of new or renewing contracts.

Members were advised of the fee increase in an emailed letter in January from the National President Andrew Leedham and sponsors who are immediately affected by the price rise have already been contacted by the National Vice President Paul Smith. 

The membership fee increases of about 10% will be the first increase in member fees since 2014. The new fees (inclusive of GST) are listed below and are also available on the AITPM website.  An individual member will be required to pay an extra $15 per year compared to the 2017/18 fees.
  • Member: $170
  • Associate Member: $170
  • Retired Member: $22
  • Student member: No charge
  • Corporate (3) member: $730
  • Corporate (5) member: $1065
  • Corporate (10) member: $1920
The costs of sponsorship packages will increase by $2,000 to $15,000 for National Platinum sponsors and by the same amount to $13,000 for National Sponsors and Major State (3-5 branches) sponsors (3 year term) or $15,000 (1 year term).

National Council’s decision to increase fees was not taken lightly and indeed, Council has refrained from increasing fees for the last four years in recognition of the tight industry conditions for many of our members. However, as has been evident in the National Treasurer’s annual report at the AGM for the last few years, the Institute is incurring rising operating costs which has been putting pressure on the delivery of even basic services. The 2016/17 budget forecast a deficit of over $70,000 which is to be made up from the Institute’s accrued cash reserves. Clearly if this continued the accrued cash reserves would quickly diminish to unacceptable levels. In the meantime members have been requesting and expecting more services which of course increases operating costs further.

The Institute derives its revenue from only three main sources. In 2016/17 the budget predicted revenue from membership fees to be $134,000 (44% of total revenue), from sponsorship to be $133,500 (43% of total revenue) and an allowance for profits from the national conference of $40,000 (13%). In terms of cash received, only 80% of budgeted membership fees were paid by the due date or paid at all.

The Institute has accumulated an appropriate cash reserve over past years through judicious accounting and the occasional very profitable conference. So why do we need to increase fees if we have money in reserve? Well firstly and following the professional advice received from Associations Forum in consideration of the Institutes risk profile, it is appropriate for the Institute to reserve in the order of $500,000 to provide for a number of risks – including primarily a loss making conference (and it has happened in the past, albeit a rare occurrence). We also need to have a sizeable operating cash balance to pay upfront costs for the conference, pay remuneration for our contracted staff (national administration, newsletter and website).

Price rises are never popular, no matter how modest but in essence there are three options open to the Institute concerning membership fees:
  • Retain the current fee level each year but receive lower quality/fewer services as costs increase
  • Increase the fees moderately each year to maintain the current level of services
  • Increase the fees higher still in return for additional and higher quality services
National Council has carefully considered each of these options in the light of growing pressure from members to increase the quality and number of service and has decided to adopt the third listed option for this year.  In future years we anticipate that fee increases would be more modest. The extent of any increase in membership fees can of course be offset by increases in sponsorship fees. This is a balancing act and national council has considered the value proposition for both sponsors and members in arriving at its decision to increase fees and the cost of sponsorship as outlined above. The increase is forecast to only reduce and not eliminate the deficit (as reported in the Treasurers Report at the 2017 National AGM).

The key considerations for the increase this year are:
  1. The budget deficit. Our budget was presented at the last AGM and it was clearly outlined that our current income does not cover our operating costs.  We regularly undertake a detailed review of these operating costs and work to ensure the best value for members.  However, this review also demonstrates that there are not any substantial cuts that can be made. 
  2. A range of measures are being made to increase revenue of which the membership rise is only one element.
  3. There has been no increase for the past 4 years during which the total inflation increase was about 7%.  The 10% increase in fees is only a small increase on this.
  4. Significant increase in our web service offering including a range of services not previously offered.  Only a few years ago our only offerings were state based events, the national conference and a newsletter. 
  5. Significant increase in the scale of the National Conference including the costs associated with the running of the Transport Modelling Network. 
  6. Increase in administration costs as our membership continues to grow and we provide more professional services
  7. Engaging a book keeper to relieve the National Treasurer of day to day activities and to provide a more responsive and professional service to members, sponsors and suppliers.  
So just to complete the current financial strategy being adopted by National Council (soon to be the main focus of the Finance Committee):
  • Source funds to meet operating costs through membership fees, national sponsorship and a contribution from the national conference with regular monitoring of costs to ensure these add value. The budget deficit will be made up from cash reserves for the time being
  • Retain an appropriate cash reserve to reasonably allow for risks that may occur
  • Retain an appropriate operating cash balance to allow payments for regular contract services and costs associated with the national conference
  • Secure new funds to develop new initiatives through a combination of accumulated funds and targeted sponsorship
If you would like to discuss any of the above then please either call or email: Back to contents

Who Benefits from tolls of additional traffic

The Sydney Morning Herald ran a story under the heading “Leaked documents show Sydney’s F6 Extension to benefit new owners of WestConnex”.  It certainly sounds like a sensational revelation. 

The NSW Government wants to extend the regional F6 freeway to Wollongong up through the southern urban areas of Sydney.  The computer models say that this will funnel more traffic on the yet to be completed WestConnex Motorway to the west. 

The Westconnex was partly funded by the government but their share is up for sale so additional toll revenue will go to private industry. 

But there are a number of issues here.  The deeds for the Westconnex include an upside-sharing arrangement where if there is significant additional traffic over the forecast numbers and thus additional tolls, the government can get a share.  But if the Westconnex is sold the government will not get any money unless it increases the asking price based on the possibility of additional traffic.

A big issue here is the conditions that are placed on contracts.  There have been many that aim to entice the private company to commit to the project, some of which have a significant impact on the costs and benefits to the community.  It also puts pressure on our ability to forecast impacts from changes to the system.


National Review of Road Death and Injury Toll 

Dr John Crozier is the chair of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons' Trauma Committee and last year he was co-opted by the federal government to co-chair a review of the national road safety strategy. 

Dr Crozier has been appearing in many forms of the media recently strongly critical of government’s recent actions.  Seven years ago, a target was set to reduce the road toll by 30% by 2020.  Dr Crozier notes that we are well behind reaching this goal.

He was strongly critical of the Black Spot Program saying that it should be abolished in favour of "whole of corridor improvement".  He said road safety legislation should be harmonised across all the States.  He was also especially critical of the NSW government for refusing to apply point-to-point speed cameras to all road users.

There is no doubt that Dr Crozier is sincere in his approach- he has seen the horrible consequences of road trauma and he wants to see something done.  The Black Spot program is undoubtedly a band-aid solution but it is predicated on available funds and no matter how much we build new corridors there is still a place for cost effective interventions at known trouble spots.  I have done talk back radio where a caller has said the oft repeated line “If it saves one life it has to be worthwhile”.  But that is not the traffic manager’s situation.  He or she has to consider that if they spent the money elsewhere and could save two lives then that should be their priority.

I am also concerned about the anguished approach that only refers to penalties.  The paper I am presenting at the Engineering New Zealand (formerly IPENZ) conference in March challenges all the stakeholders to not just consider an “Adult-to-teenager”, or “Parent-to-child” style of communication but rather one that recognises the environment in which young people find themselves and how they have to work out and own their solutions.  It is not just the science of identifying what is wrong, it is the science of behaviour change that we have to embrace.

Later in this newsletter there is a call for submissions for the AITPM New Zealand Award which provides expenses for one person to attend this conference.


Calling a spade a spade

Dr Dick Day, a retired urban planner and senior manager of Sydney's rail system has written a stinging critique of the Metro rail strategy in Sydney which is converting some existing rail lines, carriages and stations (including a section of rail that is only 10 years old) to a “Metro” style system with driverless trains, more doors per carriage and fewer seats.

He noted that the rail strategy “may prove more the triumph of technocratic evangelism and private sector opportunism than a carefully grafted enhancement to a complex system”.  As someone who has written about how our approaches have resembled fanatical fundamentalism (“Our PM is a transport agnostic – hallelujah!”) I enjoyed his quote.

At the moment the busiest rail line in Sydney carries about 23,000 people per hour.  A line converted to metro operation is said to be able to carry 40,000 people per hour.  But this assumes that there is the demand.  Dr Day said “Unfortunately, converting the Bankstown Line to metro operation is unlikely to provide more than about 15,000 passengers per hour even after massive high-rise development along the corridor”.

I am asking around about the helpfulness of his comments but on first reading I like how he is focusing on real, operational issues not just generalised dreams.

Underground transport

Most of the talk of underground transport is about building roads or trains to carry people.  

But John Reid from Austraffic sent me an article from a travel publication about how you can now go on a tourist trip on the underground railway in London that was built to deliver mail.
According to an article The story of Mail Rail,  construction of the tunnels began in 1914 and finished in 1917 but the Post Office was not allowed to install operating equipment during wartime. The tunnels were used during the First World War to store and protect art treasures belonging to the National Portrait Gallery and the Tate Gallery. The railway was finally opened in 1927 and operated till 2003.  The trains run in a single tunnel, 9ft in diameter, with a double 2ft gauge track. At the station approaches, the main tunnel divides into two 7ft tunnels, each with a single track.

It has been suggested that the Elon Musk Hyperloop system which has carriages running in reduced-pressure tubes which could be used for freight and even adapted to use for shorter trips within cities.  A variation on this idea is by no means new. In 1855, Rowland Hill, then UK Secretary to the Post Office, submitted a report to the Postmaster General on a system for conveying mail in underground tubes. It was intended that air pressure would be used as the propelling force.  This never eventuated. 

In 1863, the Post Office inspected a new pneumatic railway, built by the Pneumatic Despatch Company, which ran nine feet below ground between Euston Station and Eversholt Street. The wrought iron cars, which ran on rails, were sucked through the length of the tube in about a minute. Trials continued until 1866 when the Company terminated its arrangement with the Post Office due to financial difficulties.

With new technology, computer control systems and better tunnelling equipment, the opportunity for a radical rethink of how to cope with some elements of the transport task could be in order.  If the carriages are in tubes then the noise impact and the reduced space for the corridor means that they would have less of an impact if they were above ground for at least some of their journey 


Can the truck industry tell us something about road safety?
The increased number of heavy vehicles involved in fatal crashes is one of the features that is adding to a worsening road toll.  It has been the passenger vehicles that have tended to lead the way with the latest safety technology.  It can be harder to develop systems such as electronic stability for trucks that have such variations in weight and situations but equally this means that there is great value in developing these systems.

Recently I tested the new Hino 300 4x4 truck which can be registered as a vehicle with a gross vehicle mass of 4.5 tonnes and thus driven with a standard licence or with a GVM of 7.5 tonnes.  Hino tells me this is the only truck in its class that has all wheel disc brakes, reversing camera and electronic stability control as standard.  This is catching up with many sedans. 
But there is one feature about the reversing camera that I think is unusual and a very good feature.  The system not only gives you pictures of where you are reversing, it also has a microphone.  Normally, if you are behind the truck and yell out, you are not likely to be heard in the cabin.  But with this system a cry of caution or even instructions can be more clearly heard.  

On another point, whenever I get a ute or a van to test it is always serendipitous for a friend who just happens to need to move a lounge or a fridge.  My week of testing the Hino 300 was set only two weeks before I picked it up, which turned out to be the exact day that my son collected the keys for his new house in Newcastle which he had been working on getting for the last six months. 
Needless to say, I had a whole weekend to thoroughly test the vehicle under a load. 

A video of the test can be seen at by clicking on the image below. 

Smoke and Mirrors

Peter Martin, the economics editor of The Age, has thrown down the gauntlet on evaluating transport projects with an article titled "The fake economics cookbook: how to make bad transport projects look good". 

With comments such as "There's a fiction that a benefit-cost ratio above "1" means things are OK" and "And the numbers are sometimes rigged", he is challenging our traditional approaches and the ethics behind the ways we produce the numbers.  He told the following anecdote: 

Professor Jago Dodson of the RMIT Centre for Urban Research revealed that in the queue at a conference he had met one of Australia's senior transport modellers who had worked on at least one of those tunnels.

"Myself and another colleague were joking. 'You guys all inflate your traffic figures to satisfy your clients, don't you?', we said. He replied: 'Oh no, no, no, we are professionals, we have to sleep at night.'

"Then he sort of slyly looked at us and added, 'But it's amazing how little sleep you can get away with'."

Martin is right to say that calculating a cost/benefit for a project without considering alternatives is wrong but he did make a generalisation "By not comparing the costs and benefits of the (much) cheaper rail alternatives to those of WestConnex or the Sydney F6 Extension, the government made their figures look good - but good compared to what?".  Comparing alternatives is a great idea including how we might forsake traditional modes and embrace new technology.


Minimising disruptions 

The NSW branch is holding a breakfast meeting on 22 February titled "Managing disruption during transformation".  Coincidentally AITPM member and SA Branch President Paul Froggatt sent in a video of the installation of the first bridge on the Darlington Upgrade Project.  The video shows how they wheeled a large, pre-constructed bridge section into place across a major roadway.  Paul noted the following:

The 3000 tonne, 180 metre long bridge was manoeuvred into place via a number of 'self-propelled modular transporters' and is the first of eight bridges to be installed for the project.  

The installation began on a Friday night and the bridge reached its final position across the Southern Expressway on Sunday morning. This allowed Main South Road between Flinders Drive and Flagstaff Road and the Southern Expressway's South Road exit to be reopened to traffic 21 hours ahead of schedule.

Building this bridge off-site and then moving the sections into their  final positions removed the need for multiple closures of parts of the Southern Expressway and Main South Road.
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Picking papers from a wide range of abstracts

A total number of 127 abstracts were received indicating just how well respected our National Conference has become.

The breakdown of areas in which abstracts were received is as follows:
  • Traffic Engineering and Management - 31
  • Transport Planning - 59
  • Transport and Land Use Modelling - 32
  • Freight, Ports and Aviation - 0 (All invited speakers)
  • Two abstracts covered both Transport Planning and Traffic Engineering and Management
  • Two papers covered Transport Planning and Transport and Land Use Modelling
Conference Sponsors

Conference sponsorship gives you the opportunity to promote your products and services, while also demonstrating your company's interest in and commitment to professional development in the traffic management, transport planning and transport modelling industry.

View sponsorship prospectus
Keynote Speakers

Three international keynote speakers have already been confirmed to join us in 2018:

Paul Steely White

Executive Director, Transport Alternatives

Paul Steely White is the Executive Director of Transport Alternatives NYC’s leading advocates for bicycling, walking and public transportation

Tim Armitage

Director, UK AutoDrive

Tim Armitage, from Arup in London is the Director of the UK AutoDrive project which is leading the charge into introducing driverless vehicles across the UK.

Rick Donnelly

Vice President and Technical Fellow, WSP

Rick Donnelly, from the USA is a Vice President and Technical Fellow with WSP and has over 30 years of experience in travel modelling and simulation

Nicole Lockwood

Independent Chair of the Westport Taskforce

Nicole Lockwood is the Independent Chair of the Westport Taskforce leading the long term freight and logistics planning for WA.

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> Queensland Branch

6 February
Draft Transport Plan for Brisbane - Strategic Directions

7 February
PedBikeTrans & AITPM QLD Branch Welcome Reception

> New South Wales Branch

22 February
Breakfast Seminar - Managing Disruption during Transformation

> Victorian Branch

21 February
Plan Melbourne

7 March
Women in Transport

> Western Australia Branch

22 February
Towards a Traffic Database for Perth
Craig Wooldridge 

AITPM has been a key supporter of cycling and walking for decades through the National Conference, Technical Forums and the monthly newsletter.  Given the keen level of interest, I am taking this opportunity to provide a national update for members.

In late 2016 and early 2017, a review of the National Cycling Strategy and Australian Bicycle Council (the Council also included New Zealand) found that significant improvements were required to enable outcomes to be achieved that provide benefits to the nation.   Further discussions with a variety of stakeholders following the review, identified walking as another key area that required a national focus to achieve outcomes.  

As leading traffic and transport practitioners, we know that as our cities are become more congested, cycling and walking will be pivotal (along with public transport) to ensuring that balanced and healthy transport outcomes are achieved, particularly in the inner/middle city areas and around activity centres.  In order to achieve tangible outcomes, a national approach must be taken to ensure that innovation is enabled and learnings and knowledge are shared for the benefit of current and future generations.   Proactive countries have been able to achieve outcomes by taking courageous and strategic approaches that have changed how cities function to achieve people-centred outcomes.  Examples include; The Netherlands, The United Kingdom and a number of Unitied States cities such as New York and Portland.  Australia and New Zealand must embrace the learnings from other counties in order to create the cities that the public are expecting and in many cases are demanding, while also building upon and supporting innovative work already underway.  This can only be achieved if we operate strategically and harmoniously.

To facilitate a proactive future, the Australian Bicycle Council (ABC) is being replaced by a new group known as Cycling and Walking Australia and New Zealand (CWANZ) in the first half of 2018.  For the first two years the group will be chaired by Craig Wooldridge, Acting Executive Director Integrated Transport Planning at the Department of Transport Western Australia (also a Past AITPM National President).  The focus for the first two years will be on cycling, before expanding to cover walking.  The makeup of the group will be more diverse than the previous ABC, with a greater number of advocacy groups and local government representation.  The key objectives in the coming years will be:
  • Cycling and Walking as an integral element of liveable, healthy and productive communities
  • Increased investment in cycling and walking from all levels of government 
  • Applied innovation and learning 
  • National consistency and harmonisation
In early 2018, the focus will be on the implementation of the CWANZ with the following key activities:
  • Formal agreement with each state/territory (Agreement in Principle was achieved in 2017)
  • Confirmation of state/territory/New Zealand government agency representatives
  • Recruitment of a Secretariat 
  • An expression of interest and selection process for advocacy and local government members will commence in late February 
  • The first meeting of the new group will be on 16 May 2018 in Melbourne
  • The second meeting will be in Perth, the day before the AITPM National Conference
The implementation of CWANZ will be a pivotal step to achieving greater balance in our transport networks and systems and I am looking forward to an exciting future for cycling and walking in Australia and New Zealand.

Further details on CWANZ

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David Brown


Adelaide has the chance to be a world leader with autonomous vehicles, but probably not in the area that is currently getting the most publicity.

Many Governments are embracing the “jobs and growth” opportunities of encouraging technological development in their jurisdictions. 

But in the area of transport, a lot of attention has been given to individual cars serving personal needs or small pod-like buses at airports and university campuses.  South Australia should continue to pursue this trend but it is unlikely to get ahead of the field.  The more pressing need and a greater opportunity is mass public transit systems.

Adelaide recently hosted the second Australian & New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI) forum.  This conference lacked some of the dynamic excitement of the first forum held two years ago because it dealt, in more detail, with the necessary but rather dry subjects of legal liability, insurance issues and guidelines for conducting autonomous tests on public streets.

The focus was clearly on “cars” including a presentation about 3-D printing of individual vehicle body types (which is a technology that could see Australia “build” cars again).  The state minister for transport Stephen Mullighan reflected the “cars” approach in his closing speech.  In fairness to the Minister he did enthusiastically agree, in a personal conversation afterwards, to the need to embrace transit corridors as an essential opportunity for autonomous vehicles and for the benefit of the community.

The critical issue is not just cashing-in on the most marketable aspect of new technology.  Rather it is how to develop a future strategy that is the most cost-effective way to offer travel options to as many people as possible.  Autonomous vehicle technology indicates that a strong emphasis should be placed on non-railed, mass transit systems.

Adelaide is very well suited to embrace this opportunity.

Firstly, they see the need.  In June 2017 the South Australian government released an update of its 30-year plan for Adelaide. The plan looks at recent major changes to the city and maps out a strategy to make it “more livable, competitive and sustainable into the future”.  Number one of the fifteen priority policies and actions is “Transit corridors, growth and activity centres”.  Number 8 is for transport in general.

Secondly, they have been pioneering with the implementation of the O-Bahn guided bus way.  Adelaide's O-Bahn was introduced in 1986 to service the city's rapidly expanding north-eastern suburbs, replacing an earlier plan for a light rail extension.  Autonomous technology makes this style of transport even more enticing.

And thirdly they, like most cities, are looking to actively expand their transit network although there is still a lot of work going on with light rail options.
Focus on cars

It is important to see why automating every aspect of a trip and a focus on relatively low capacity vehicles is a limited approach.

The recent flurry of autonomous concepts has led to fantasies of motoring utopia with door-to-door transport for all your needs.

While working in the back seat as your car drives itself and sharing vehicles are positive options for some, they are not a total solution for all.

The reality is that we do not have the capacity to accommodate all our trips with a “chauffeured” vehicle no matter how comfortable it is.

Further the inconvenience of a long, time consuming trip is not totally ameliorated by the possibility of being able to work while you are on the move.  Not all work and not all people are suited to sitting reading and/or writing especially in a moving vehicle.

Sharing vehicles seems a way of increasing capacity but it may mean that you wander around to pick up passengers which adds considerably to the pain of the trip as anyone who has used an “airport shuttle” will attest.
Why non-rail systems

There are strong beliefs, passions and perhaps even some blind faith in the ability and value of railed systems.

But autonomous vehicle technology is fast allowing non-railed systems to catch up.

Trains and light rail can link carriages together to form a “set” and increase carrying capacity.  Autonomous technology will be able to do this electronically rather than the more cumbersome physical coupling.
Railed systems have a clear and permanent presence that indicates that there is an available service.  Autonomous systems can have defined corridors, stations, signposting and electronic indicator boards that we also give similar impression.

Railed systems have the biggest impact on nearby land values at the moment.  But there is an equity issue.  Because railed systems are limited in their coverage they provide benefits in selected areas.  A more ubiquitous autonomous system will give value growth to many more areas.  The issue is not how much a few individual property values are increased but what is the overall benefit to the community.

There appears to be little doubt that we need extensive transit systems, but if the product is expensive to build, then the first stages are often built with much fanfare but the next stages are not often reached (See a short video piece from the AITPM “Has Light Rail passed its use by date?”).

It is important that any part of the system fits in with the whole network.  With the removal of the expensive cost of a driver, a more expansive bus network through local areas providing feeder services, could revolutionise transport in our communities.

South Australia has strived to be innovative in many areas.  It can now take a very clear position with autonomous vehicle technology that fits into a sustainable strategy for the future, by developing expansive transit systems including high capacity corridors based around autonomous technology.

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Fairfax media ran a story about acts of terrors with cars in Melbourne city streets. An AITPM member sent in a summary of several comments made in the article including:
  • recently installed barriers did not prevent the act
  • traffic congestion/density prevented higher more destructive speeds
  • journalist states that "the lack of planning that perhaps saved so many lives ..... Flinders St ... hopelessly choked ..."
  • journalist also claims that in the past major CBD intersections were manned by police "who provided a visible deterrence to crime and road misbehaviour" 
  • The tram stop bollard stopped the vehicle and probably caused the driver to become unconscious
Alan Finlay added these comments:

I too read the article and was horrified by the outcomes of just one (apparently) mentally ill driver. It’s so hard to predict such behaviour so I’m not sure how the authorities could devise strategies to prevent such incidents or to minimise adverse outcomes. I can’t see the public accepting much lower speed limits (which could in any case be ignored by a rogue driver), or artificially induced congestion.  I like the idea of reintroducing Police on ‘point duty’.  As opposed to olden days where they controlled traffic prior to signalisation, in these much more ‘civilised’ times their presence might be used to enforce traffic regulations (especially red light running!) and to act as a deterrent to would-be terrorists and other criminals. But can we afford to have a Police officer at every intersection?

And just to put this into perspective, while both Melbourne incidents have been horrific, they should be compared to (say) the NSW annual road toll that stubbornly refuses to reduce much below 350 deaths per annum. It seems the public (and perhaps journalists) have become accepting of a certain ‘background’ level of road trauma. I think the Police could be a whole lot more strategic in their enforcement efforts, and governments should be more thorough in their analysis of road trauma and the causal factors. Speeding is claimed to be a factor in around 40% of all crashes, but have a careful look at the basis of these data. My observations suggest that driver distraction, or rather lack of concentration on the primary task, is a much greater contributor.

We then received this reply

Yes there is no easy solution to vehicles as weapons. In the long term autonomous vehicles will be required to have a de-activate switch available remotely to police. This could even stop all vehicles in a defined area. The trucks placed in CBD streets today looked impressive but it seems in some locations they just blocked the road traffic lanes and left the wide-ish footways open. I realise concrete barriers were in use at other positions. The trucks can be quickly moved if the road needs to be opened. I guess pop-up bollards are too expensive for widespread use. I have seen videos of a few in London etc but most were used for special access controls, not security. I have also heard that Switzerland has remote controlled barriers on all major highways/tunnels into the country and can even stop invading tanks. If so they must be military grade and cost prohibitive for other uses.

I also agree that the security risks are far less than the annual road toll of 350. Some stats for US deaths are in a table here:

In any case we now observing short term traffic management controls being used to pro-actively manage non-specific terrorism risks. I wonder who pays at present  - RMS (but not their roads), Police (not likely), Council, T4NSW or other?

I wonder if these developments will impact on the introduction of new shared pedestrian/low volume road traffic malls like the Church St Parramatta variety.

Should this issue be pursued more rigorously by our profession?

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AITPM | New Zealand Award Now Open for Submissions

AITPM is pleased to advise that applications for the New Zealand Study Tour Award 2018 are now open. 
The Australian Institute of Traffic Planning and Management (AITPM) values relationships with other similar organisations. The Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) is one such organisation with which AITPM has built a strong relationship over many years. Since 2006 AITPM has provided recognition of this relationship via an award to attend the annual IPENZ Transportation Group Conference.

This award provides for one AITPM member to attend the Institution of Professional Engineers NZ Transportation Group Conference in Queenstown, New Zealand, from 21 to 23 March 2018.  The Transportation Group's annual conference is New Zealand's premier forum for the traffic engineering, road safety and transportation planning community.

The 2018 IPENZ Transportation Group conference will provide delegates the perfect chance to discuss the catalysts for creating and sustaining smarter, stronger and safer transport systems and how they can be, or in some cases are being, applied to New Zealand’s transport network. It will also provide the opportunity to showcase ‘world’s best practice’ for transport, be it in New Zealand or overseas.

AITPM will provide full support for the award winner to attend the conference covering airfares, accommodation, conference fees and incidental expenses such as meals and taxi fares.   AITPM is pleased to also offer an additional two nights' accommodation in Queenstown for the winner to use as they wish.
Nominations for the award close on 16 February 2018, with the winner being advised in February 2018 and announced in the March 2018 newsletter.

Use the buttons below to access the brochure and nomination form (also available on our website). If you cannot access the brochure via these links, please contact to request a copy by email.
AITPM Member Personal Profile

Douglas Lee
Treasurer AITPM Queensland

BEng (Civil), MIEAust, RPEQ, Fellow AITPM

His career has extended over 38 years, firstly in civil engineering and for the last 30 years in the traffic and transport profession. This included 5 years with McIntyre & Associates in Townsville, 8½ years in Department of Main Roads Queensland / Queensland Transport, 16 years in Townsville City Council, 2 years in Brisbane City Council and 5 years in Logan City Council.
What is your current role?
Traffic Engineer, Logan City Council
What first attracted you to get involved in the transport industry?

I guess I have always been interested in moving people around in the safest way possible so after spending some 8 years building roads, firstly with consultants, and then with Department of Main Roads in Central Queensland (Barcaldine), I had the opportunity to join the Department's Traffic Services Department in Brisbane.  That propelled me into the realm of what happens "above the bitumen". Traffic control led into road safety with the establishment of Queensland Transport, the amalgamation of Department of Main Roads and the Transport Department.  On leaving state government I furthered my career joining Townsville City Council as a Traffic Engineer and have continued this course with Brisbane City and Logan City Councils. 

Could you explain some key opportunities in your career and how they contributed to your development?

After I first graduated in Civil Engineering I was mentored by a fantastically experienced engineer, the late Ted Lawler.  He guided me through my first few years and gave me opportunities to grow my knowledge and confidence. One of the most significant projects I undertook when working with Ted at McIntyre & Associates was the rare opportunity to be involved in the preliminary design, detailed design and contract administration for the construction of a project - a tram marshalling yard for Tully Sugar Mill.

After a few years working as a Traffic Engineer in Main Roads Traffic Services Department I was given the opportunity to get involved in the road safety area under the guidance of Geoff Middleton. Projects I was involved with in those years include the School Safe program, fatigue management signing and audible lines, Driver Reviver, the QLIMITS speed limit review software, Red Light Camera implementation and Local Area Traffic Management.

I used the experience gained through developing these road safety measures and the presentation of these programs to the 14 Main Roads district office staff throughout the state to sharpen my expertise when I moved into Local Government in the role of Traffic Engineer with Townsville City Council.  Council allowed me to install many innovative and low cost traffic solutions and they remain to this day. I continue to innovate based on the experience I have gained throughout my career.  

What has been your involvement with AITPM?

I joined AITPM on 12 August 1999.  At that time I was living in Townsville so my opportunities for regular contact and seminars were limited but I ensured I attended every National Conference and have done since 1995.

When I moved to Brisbane in 2010 I was invited to join the Queensland Committee.  I soon took on the role of Secretary in 2012 and then Treasurer in 2014, a role I still hold.

What has been a memorable moment in your career?

I am not sure there is one definable moment in my career.  I have always taken pride in seeing the results of my work, be it a traffic management scheme, use of a road sign I developed, a project completed or see the growth in a younger engineer whom I have mentored. 

What are your personal and/or professional career plans for the future?

I am nearing the end of my full time professional career, and over the next few years I hope to pass on some of the 'wisdom' I have gained.  With both my wife and I working full time over the last 35+ years or so, we are looking forward to a time when we can travel more and relax for more than 2 days at a time. 

Do you have any advice you would like to share with professionals in the transport/traffic industry?

Try to get as much variety as you can, particularly starting out, as this ensures you understand the bigger picture when considering the issues you face.  Expand your knowledge through seminars and conferences and other training opportunities.  Always look for innovative ways to solve a problem or in the way you work.
Never be afraid of change as it is the only constant in our lives.

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That this is real road side service

Graeme Pattison has sent in a video on a truly mobile road side service device.
Possibly needs some jack stands and wheel chock to stop the remotely controlled hoist from rolling away?

Man repaints road markings to get home quicker
Scott Benjamin sent in the following:

A Chinese man has been fined after painting over road markings so he could get home quicker.

"I saw the straight lane was always packed with cars," he told police, according to local reports.

"The turning left lane has a lot of space.

"I thought changing the signs would make my commute smoother."

Silent-film star and inventor of mechanical turn signal

On December 28, 1938, the silent-film star Florence Lawrence commits suicide in Beverly Hills. She was 52 years old. Though she was best known for her roles in nearly 250 films, Lawrence was also an inventor: She designed the first “auto signaling arm,” a mechanical turn signal, along with the first mechanical brake signal. She did not patent these inventions, however, and as a result she received no credit for–or profit from–either one.
New type of controller ‘top hat’

Alan Finlay asks: “Is this a new super waterproof enclosure for additional electrical equipment or simply a road user opinion on the signal operations?”
National Platinum Sponsors
National Sponsors
Major Branch Sponsors
  • Main Roads Western Australia - WA
  • RAC of WA - WA
  • Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure - SA
  • RAA - SA
  • The Department of Transport and Main Roads - QLD
  • PSA Consulting - QLD/NSW 
  • Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) - NSW
  • Traffic Engineering Centre - NSW
  • VicRoads - VIC 
Branch Sponsors
  • Arup - NSW
  • Bitzios - QLD
  • City of Gold Coast - QLD
  • Point8 - QLD
  • PTT - QLD
  • Donald Veal Consultants - WA
  • GTA - WA
  • GHD – SA
  • GTA - SA
  • Tonkin Consulting - SA
  • O’Brien Traffic - VIC
  • Trafficworks – VIC
  • TraffixGroup – VIC
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