Engineering and infrastructure advisory firm Aurecon has appointed Nial O’Brien as its new Global Service Leader – Roads.
Mr. O’Brien has been with the business for nearly 13 years and previously headed up Aurecon’s New South Wales roads group, leading a team of 40 on major transport infrastructure projects.
His appointment comes ahead of what the company has recognised as increasing pressure on road infrastructure from growing populations and transformative technologies.
“Road infrastructure is going through a period of unprecedented change, with growing populations, the inevitable introduction of autonomous vehicles and emerging technologies transforming how we need to plan, design, build and maintain road infrastructure,” said Ben Stapleton, Aurecon’s Managing Director ‒ Infrastructure.
“Nial will play a key role in bringing together the right people on roads projects to ensure that we not only deliver technical excellence to our clients, but also that we help solve their big problems using innovation and emerging technologies while ensuring road infrastructure connects to and communicates with the transport and social infrastructure around it,” Mr. Stapleton added.
Mr. O’Brien expressed his excitement about the potential to improve road safety and efficiency and the new opportunities for transforming wider transport infrastructure networks through his new role.
“There is obviously a lot of discussion around the impact of autonomous vehicles, and I believe one of the most critical success factors for the effective integration of autonomous vehicles is that we involve the community and stakeholders extensively in those discussions,” Mr. O’Brien said.
“Effective community and stakeholder consultation ensures we are planning and delivering a future transport network that responds to the needs of users and the broader community, rather than vice versa.
“Looking to rural and regional areas, improving road safety, particularly heavy haul, is something I am very passionate about – as a former truck driver myself, prior to my engineering career, I strongly believe we can reverse the increasing fatality statistics we see in heavy haul incidents,” he said.
“By leveraging both emerging and existing technologies, learning from best practice overseas (particularly western Europe) and working together to reconsider incentives and regulation, we could stop more preventable deaths on our roads.”