Inside the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads and the Australian Flexible Pavement Association’s new collaborative strategic plan.
The transportation sector plays a vital role in the development and progress of any region, and road pavements form the backbone of this infrastructure. In Queensland, the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) and the Australian Flexible Pavement Association (AfPA) have joined forces through the TMR AfPA Strategic Alliance to revolutionize road pavements in the state. For over two decades, the Alliance has been dedicated to driving improvement in flexible pavements, delivering safe, sustainable, and innovative solutions for Queensland.
As the industry looks ahead, the next decade presents an opportunity to propel the next generation of flexible pavement solutions and shape the planning, delivery, and management of roads to address the possibilities and challenges facing the sector.
To guide their collaborative efforts, the TMR AfPA Strategic Alliance has developed a new strategic plan, outlining how TMR and AfPA will work together to achieve success in this changing environment. This article provides an overview of the journey undertaken thus far, along with a consolidated summary of the outcomes from the Working Group discussions.
Recognising the importance of collaboration, the Alliance acknowledges that working together is crucial to meeting the needs of road users, communities, and stakeholders. By adopting a collaborative approach, they ensure the continued delivery of road infrastructure that benefits the community, embraces new ideas and technologies, and fosters a robust industry known for its performance.
The Alliance Board identified five strategic pillars that will underpin its collaborative endeavours over the next decade.
These five pillars include: Safety and Wellness – to reduce and eliminate injury to our people and the community, and improve their wellbeing. People and Inclusion – Make the industry attractive to all people from diverse backgrounds, ethnicity and gender. Sustainability – Ensure industry leads in decarbonisation and progress towards zero emissions. Delivery – As Alliance partners, meet the challenge of a record program; and Future Technology – Continuous improvement through adoption of innovations, new technology and techniques.
Each pillar represents a shared imperative and sets the stage for concerted efforts to drive progress. To support these pillars, a comprehensive five-year roadmap has been devised, capturing a series of initiatives that will be pursued to achieve the desired outcomes.
To facilitate the identification of key focus areas within each pillar, Subject Matter Expert (SME) Working Groups were formed for each pillar and included representatives from TMR and AfPA. The purpose of these working groups were to help the Alliance to identify the main challenges and opportunities in working towards the pillar ambitions and identify areas of collaborative work.
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These groups played a crucial role in helping the Alliance determine the significant areas of work necessary to support the ambitions of each pillar. Between June and October 2022, SME workshops were held, allowing experts to discuss and develop roadmaps for proposed initiatives. Through the SME workshop process a series of initiative roadmaps have been created. These roadmaps provide an aspirational view of the five-year target for each initiative and the key steps to get there. SME workshops were held online and used MIRO digital whiteboards to capture the conversations and planning.
At the conclusion of these intensive workshops 17 focus areas were distilled from the five Strategic Pillars providing direction across critical focus areas. These focus areas represent the important spaces where TMR and AfPA are seeking to collaborate, each supported by a series of initiatives and activities.
Critically this process also confirmed many of the initiatives which were needed were already in practice under existing TMR and AfPA programs. While these initiatives continue to be progressed under their respective programs, they have been incorporated into the strategic planning to provide a comprehensive summary of the collaborative work.
The shared strategic pillars, focus areas and proposed initiatives identified through the SME workshops now form the foundation of roadmaps that have been developed for each of the proposed initiatives to show the forward steps towards the desired five-year target state.
The roadmaps that have been developed set out the indicative activities and steps for each of the proposed initiatives. These roadmaps are aspirational and aim to draw a focus on the future and the steps to get there so even if priorities shift or resources don’t permit their implementation, they remain in place to guide future action. It is also recognised there are connections between the pillars, with some initiatives contributing to success across a number of pillar ambitions.
It’s important to remember that none of this is intended to be set in stone but should remain flexible. Roadmaps are high level and intended to facilitate dialogue amongst stakeholders by providing a view of the forward intent. This will be a living document that is routinely updated to reflect progress. While many of the activities are already in planning or being progressed in some form, the roadmaps are still subject to funding and resourcing.
The development of these road maps was also important in driving further dialogue around what would be a realistic number of initiatives for the Alliance to drive. Given the number of initiatives what are the highest priorities for the Alliance and how might the governance of the implementation work. Also important was bringing the shared stakeholders along so the question was asked how the industry wanted to socialise this work to a broader stakeholder group.
The TMR AfPA Strategic Alliance stands as a testament to the power of collaboration in driving innovation and progress within the road pavement industry. By pooling its expertise, resources, and ideas, TMR and AfPA are poised to shape the future of road pavements in Queensland. Through their commitment to safety, sustainability, and the well-being of both road users and industry professionals, this alliance will undoubtedly have a profound impact on the state’s transportation infrastructure.
In the years to come, industry can expect significant advancements in flexible pavement solutions, guided by the Alliance’s strategic plan. With a steadfast focus on sustainability, the integration of future technologies, inclusivity, safety, and efficient delivery, the TMR AfPA Strategic Alliance is paving the way for a brighter future for road pavements in Queensland.