The effective and efficient management of roads, bridges and other road assets is critical for Australia’s economic prosperity and local government plays a Key Role in this, writes Nigel Powers from the Australian Road Research Board.
The Australian economy has certainly been bruised and battered over recent months with COVID-19 sweeping the world. Businesses have shut down and others have been limited in their operation due to the necessary government measures to limit the spread.
Operation of the road network is critical to Australia’s economy as there is a heavy reliance on road freight and commuting via road. The transport logistics industry contributes over $100 billion each year to Australia’s GDP and this is expected to grow significantly over the next decade.
Local government plays a very important role in the management of the road network as it is responsible for over 80 per cent of Australia’s road network. The construction and management of road assets is challenging considering the significant and diverse assets local governments are responsible for, while often being under pressure to obtain better value from their budgets.
Understanding this critical role, the Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, and the Federal Government provided the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) with $2.6 million to deliver four Best Practice Guides for Local Government.
The role of the guides are to assist local government and other organisations that manage lower volume roads across Australia, oversee their road assets effectively and fulfil their obligations to the community, while also improving mobility and safety.
The guides aim to expand the understanding and capacity of local government to manage road infrastructure.
The four guides cover road materials, sealed roads, unsealed roads and bridge management, which are key assets across the local government road network. They were released in April 2020 and the response from local government and the broader industry has been significant.
At ARRB, we have been excited to see the level of engagement from local government, the broader industry, and also internationally around the guides.
There were over 5000 downloads of the guides in the first two weeks. We also had over 1200 people attend webinars that provided an overview of the guides and their use, and we’ve had people from every continent in the world download them.
Local government will play an important role in Australia’s recovery from the current economic downturn. This will be through numerous means from programs to support the community and local businesses to facilitate development within the area and through the management of the road network.
This will be made a little easier now with the four guides providing additional tools for local government to maximise their efficiency and effectiveness in the management of their road assets.
Find out more about ARRB and the Best Practice Guides by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting our website.