Alan Tudge opens ARRB National Transport Performance Centre

Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge has opened the Australian Road Research Board’s (ARRB) new National Transport Performance Centre (NTPC).

Mr. Tudge took a tour of the ARRB facility and on-site lab, before watching a presentation on the NTPC’s data and analysis capabilities.

Also in attendance was Victorian Chief Engineer Collette Burke, Ernst Young Global Government Transport Leader Tony Canavan, former Queensland Liberal Party Leader Santo Santoro and Latrobe City Council Mayor Steven Piasente.

ARRB CEO Michael Caltabiano said the NTPC will develop, measure and benchmark national transport performance indicators, with the intention of informing government’s infrastructure planning and spending.

“We cannot shape our transport future if we do not fully understand the present,” Mr. Caltabiano said.

“For this reason, ARRB embarked on a mission to standardise and harmonise the data that defines how our roads are currently used, with a view of providing immediate support to get the best value out of new and emerging data and technologies.”

ARRB Strategic Enablers Group Principal Professional Leader Anthony Germanchev and Principal Technology Leader Brett Eastwood demonstrated the NTPC’s existing data sets and explained collection methodology.

Additionally, the two highlighted the centre’s extensive scope of data and said it was the most layered and comprehensive in Australia.

Mr. Germanchev and Mr. Eastwood also explained that the centre is working to develop transport solutions that would cut 35 minutes from daily commuter journeys.

Mr. Tudge said that if they could achieve that, Australia would elect the pair prime minister.

Mr. Caltabiano said the centre will address transport challenges by utilising the latest data sources to improve travel experience.

“The centre provides a unique national, independent and government owned source of transport experts, data and knowledge,” Mr. Caltabiano said.

“Through a process of benchmarking, measuring and forecasting, the centre can provide decision-makers with the evidence they need to support policy decisions and expenditure programs. ”

According to Mr. Caltabiano, NTPC’s range of unique datasets will provide insight on complex matters in a simple, easily understood and monitored way.

“The centre features an Australian first performance indicator called the Driver Frustration Index, to describe the level of driver frustration on our key routes around Australia,” Mr. Caltabiano said.

“The index considers more than just travel times, but other important factors such as how smooth the road is and how much space is available for drivers.”

In addition to monitoring performance and trends, the NTPC will use technology including artificial intelligence to develop next generation prediction models for transport usage and condition changes.

Mr. Caltabiano said the technology will be used to guide strategic rather than reactive transport planning and policy, to boost safety and productivity.

“These outputs will be made available to decision-makers with continual updates of performance to ensure promises are being delivered, and the community and industry can enjoy world class transport infrastructure,” Mr. Caltabiano said.

“Imagine an Australia in which ‘zero fatalities’ means exactly that, in which Australians have an extra 35 minutes a day to spend with their loved ones and in which we build schools, clinics, bicycle tracks and leisure facilities from the money we save from being smart with maintenance expenditure. This is our vision for this centre.”

Driver Frustration Index:

ARRB Chief Research Officer Mike Shackleton said the NTPC has embarked on a process of measuring and benchmarking the frustration Australian motorists experience.

“Speed alone has been discarded as too simplistic, 30 kilometers per hour on a small suburban street cannot be compared to 30 kilometers per hour on a motorway,” Dr. Shackleton said.

“We have deliberately moved away from simplistic proxy measures and used our data and expertise to develop a multi-factor measure index of frustration levels.”

The Frustration Index takes actual speed, posted speed limits, road space available and the overall physical condition of the road itself into account.

“Initial work with the model is uncovering huge potential to comprehensively map the entirety of the traffic congestion dilemma,” Dr. Shackleton said.

“The challenge now is to better measure and predict frustration levels on the whole major road network.”

Dr. Shackleton said the NTCP will be able to target road investment with precision to reduce frustration among commuters, while also improving economic return on road networks.

Highest Frustration Index routes:

  • Route 1: From Preston via High St and Brunswick St
    Frustration Index: 88 per cent
  • Route 2: From Narre Warren via Princes Highway
    Frustration Index: 60 per cent
  • Route 3: From Craigieburn via Sydney Rd and Citylink
    Frustration Index: 62 per cent
  • Route 4: From Doreen via Greensborough Bypass and Heidelberg Rd
    Frustration Index: 68 per cent
  • Route 5: From Vermont South via Burwood Hwy and Toorak Rd
    Frustration Index: 72 per cent
  • Route 6: From Berwick via Lower Dandenong Rd and Beach Rd
    Frustration Index: 54 per cent


Map courtesy of Here Technologies.

All routes finish at the National Transport Research Centre: 80a Turner St, Port Melbourne, Victoria.

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