In May 2003 the Austroads Council approved the establishment of a Technical Research Program with a commitment of core research funding to ARRB. Significantly, the primary objective was to rebuild expertise and experience within ARRB which would then be available to Austroads members to assist in responding to current and emerging issues.
The following four core areas of research within the Technical Research program were identified. The key criterion was that they were areas where ARRB was the key source of significant research expertise in the region:
- Asset Management research involves development of decision tools to assist road agencies. Key areas include assessment of the effects of incremental increases in axle group loads on the road network in terms of road condition and road agency costs, predicting dynamic wheel loading and its effects on the network and long-term pavement performance monitoring to develop consistent performance models.
- Bituminous Surfacings research aims to improve the ability of road agencies to manage their surfacings assets in response to the emerging freight task and community expectations. The program includes work on optimising the performance of bituminous binders, sprayed seals and asphalt surfacings including use of polymer modified binders.
- Pavement Technology research continues to focus on improving understanding of the response of flexible pavements to changing vehicle loads and new-generation heavy vehicles. Emphasis is being placed on unbound granular pavement materials.
- Road Safety Engineering research focuses on ways to improve the road environment in order to reduce road safety risk as part of the Safe Systems approach. A number of projects covering areas of road safety and speed and roadside safety are underway. Other projects include road safety engineering measures to address fatigue, improving safety of heavy vehicles in urban areas and program development and trials of a national risk assessment model.
This research is critical as Austroads members are responsible for road assets valued at over $200 billion with recurrent expenditure of over $6 billion on maintenance.
The program continues to develop and sustain a national capability for technical research and knowledge so that this can be available to meet the future requirements of the Australasian road industry.
Results of the research programs are disseminated through numerous workshops and training courses, and the presentation of papers at international and Australasian conferences.
In addition to the four core areas, ARRB also undertakes Austroads research in the areas of network operations; road user behaviour; traffic management; freight registration and licensing.
ARRB hosts an online road research register designed to foster knowledge of research activities and provide the opportunity for collaboration and non-duplication. Visit roadresearch.com.au for more information.
For further information on Austroads please visit their website austroads.com.au
For further information on the Austroads Technical Research Program please click here