Although the procedures for road safety barriers outlined in the Australian and New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 3845.1;2015 have been implemented for some time, discussions about the evaluation process outlined within it is ongoing.
Rod Troutbeck from the Queensland University of Technology says that there are some aspects of our road safety barriers that do need to change, and a lot of push has come from the United Nations Decade for Action 2011-2020.
“The country must be aware of the need for better road safety,” he says. “We shouldn’t have a road toll. A road toll is measurable in lives.”
The Standard documents the procedures to demonstrate the suitability of new barrier systems for use on Australian and New Zealand roads, including the requirements for documentation, supply, erection and maintenance.
Prof Troutbeck looks at the recent changes to the Australian and New Zealand Standard in his paper titled “Using the Australian/New Zealand Standard to review barriers for Australian and New Zealand roads.”
In his paper, Prof Troutbeck critically analyses and demonstrates the value of the procedure for evaluating products and highlights the importance of close control of installation and maintenance procedures.
Australia currently employs crash testing methods used by the United States and uses the MASH-NCHRP 350 test specifications for barrier performance. Europe, on the other hand, uses CEN1317.
“The differences are relatively slight but quite different in application,” explains Prof Troutbeck. MASH employs more severe crash testing with heavier vehicle passenger cars, while the European standard uses lighter passenger cars and their redirection from the barrier.
“The issue for the Europeans is that they need agreement from everyone. The whole system is through consensus, and they haven’t got to a point where they’re 100 per cent happy,” he says.
The most important step in the Australian standard is that it’s OK to start considering European testing methods, but Prof Troutbeck says the evaluation process needs to be clear and take into account other factors in safety barrier installation.
“It could be the best barrier out there, but it’s hard to construct,” he says. The challenges in its construction and installation may then impede its effect on the road, and Prof Troutbeck says the evaluation of these kinds of aspects needs to be considered more closely.
“Hypothetically, we wouldn’t want that sort of product to be on the roads even with a warning of what it does,” he says. “We want to be able to minimise the effect of that, and look at what else can be done.
“Testing is important and there is always a range of questions that need to be considered: how and where they are installed will affect the road safety. It’s about putting everything onto more equal footing.”
“You have to do the testing for evaluation, but you have to look at arguments about some of the wider aspects of the barriers – how will they affect motorcyclists, for instance.”
Prof Troutbeck will present his paper and discuss his findings at the 2016 Australasian Road Safety Conference (ARSC2016), held at the National Convention Centre in Canberra from 6 to 8 September.
Prof Troutbeck’s submission was just one of the many received for consideration and forms part of an extensive three-day program of plenary, concurrent, symposia and poster sessions.
With a theme of “Agility, Innovation, IMPACT”, ARSC2016 will showcase Australasia’s outstanding researchers and practitioners spanning the five major topic areas aligned to the United Nation’s Decade of Action: road safety management, road infrastructure (safer roads), safer vehicles, road user behaviour and post-crash care.
The ARSC2016 program includes keynote speakers, more than 10 symposia, more than 35 concurrent sessions consisting of 150 presentations and over 40 poster presentations.
High profile keynote speakers include World Bank Global Road Safety Lead Soames Job, University of Melbourne Professor of Urban Transport and Public Health Mark Stevenson, ARRB Chief Scientific Advisor Mary Lydon, Chief Executive Officer at Seeing Machines Ken Kroeger and many more.
National Convention Centre, Canberra, Australia
Tuesday 6 September to Thursday 8 September 2016.
p: 02 6292 9000