The 2016 event, held at the Pullman Melbourne Albert Park from November 16 to 18, is the first time both conferences have been run in parallel with one another.
The joint conferences provide a platform for road and transport professionals from around Australasia to share and explore the latest ideas, knowledge and technologies influencing the economic and social impacts of road infrastructure. It also provides some key opportunities to gain insight from different government and industry perspectives.
ARRB Group Board Chair Peter Duncan and Gary Dolman, Head of Bureau at the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, Policy and Research Division, Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, welcomed attendees to the conference and introduced its keynote speakers, both of whom were quick to recognise the significance of Australia’s road and transport infrastructure for the future.
Michel Masson, CEO of Infrastructure Victoria began his keynote speech by discussing the role of the organisation and the process it took in putting together its 30-year infrastructure plan, the draft of which was released at the beginning of October.
Mr. Masson also explained that a key challenge for road and transport infrastructure in Victoria was about managing demand. He highlighted concepts such as increases in densities in established areas and the need to invest more in social and affordable housing so that the people may live closer to where they work. These different concepts are ones that Infrastructure Victoria has aimed to take into consideration in mapping out demand for road infrastructure in its plan, and provided some thought-provoking questions that set the tone for the rest of the day.
VicRoads CEO John Merritt followed on from Mr. Masson by talking about how to best equip the road customer with the right infrastructure for them and utilising the network the best we can.
The technical sessions for the first day followed on well from both keynote speakers and covered a wide variety of topics and key papers that provided valuable insight into some of the research and knowledge emerging from different sectors of the Australasian road and transport infrastructure sector.
From in-depth studies into active transport, pavement treatments in Queensland’s flood recovery phases, safe systems, and linking mobility and safety, the technical papers provided a strong cross-section of discussions.
Charles Karl, National Technical Leader and Manager, Congestion Freight and Productivity at ARRB, said the first day of the conference provided a comprehensive array of topics, and agreed that Mr. Masson’s emphasis on managing demand was a key recurring theme throughout the event.
He said that the combination of both the ATRF and ARRB conferences showed that industry is working together and recognising that a combined approach is needed for the future of the nation’s road and transport infrastructure, particularly under a safe systems concept.
“It’s not just one size fits all anymore, overarching all of that is a safe system approach.”
Day two of the conference is anticipated to raise yet more thought-provoking ideas and questions around the latest ideas, concepts and technologies shaping the future of Australia’s road and transport infrastructure sector.