Street Smart (Summer 2023)

From the front...

Summer 2023

Kia ora, 

New Zealand is currently undergoing policy change, and even if you don’t agree with it, it’s happening and happening fast.

For transport and technology that means stopping things such as Auckland light rail, blanket speed limit reductions and Let’s Get Wellington Moving. It also means starting new things like infrastructure funding, redistributing GST, finding a new technology method of charging vehicles for fair use of the roads, introducing congestion charging in Auckland, and building new roads.

Even if work stops, the need for safer roads and alternative transport options to relieve congestion and address climate change remains. Solving these issues might require a different method.

Fortunately, New Zealand has the experience of other countries to lean into for new work and great domestic talent for planning and implementation. Therefore, although different, the demand for great professional advice remains as pertinent as ever.

Abley and other infrastructure consultancies remain a critical means to achieve these changes. Abley continues to support decision-makers with the best possible advice.

On other matters, earlier this year I visited the Auckland Islands on a working holiday. Te Papa has just released a series of blogs on our botanical survey and if you are interested, you can learn about my favourite plant Brassica oleracea here.

As we head into Christmas, I wish you and your families the very best for Christmas and the New Year. Happy holidays and drive safely from me personally and everyone at Abley.

Noho ora mai from all of us.

Steve Abley 
Chief Executive

Abley enjoy another Australasian Road Safety Conference

In September, several of our road safety experts attended the Australasian Road Safety Conference in Cairns, where Abley was a gold sponsor.

It was inspiring to have our team connect with such a large group of professionals from around the world with a broad range of expertise, who are all working hard to improve road safety globally.

Congratulations to Paul Durdin on winning the “Best Conference Theme Submission” award, and to all the other ARSC’23 winners. It’s fantastic to be able to recognise the talent and passion these individuals contribute to inspire positive change for road safety. 

Insights that particularly resonated with our team during the conference include:  

  • It is important to design roads to be self-explaining. Roads that are not self-explaining can confuse road users and result in crashes occurring. This is especially the case for inexperienced (and elderly) drivers, riders, and walkers.  
  • If we want to get to Vision Zero, we should focus on eliminating unsafe road user interactions as part of safer roads pillar. We can record where these commonly occur across a road network by using video analytics of near-misses and using predictive crash analysis tools. 
  • The emphasis on road safety at a local government level is expanding, with a range of interesting presentations pitched at local government professionals. This included showcasing new methods for assessing road risk, like the WALGA LG Stars project, as well as presentations on pragmatic and effective low-cost safety treatments such as urban compact roundabouts and rural junction activated warning systems.  

Saving lives on our roads and achieving Vision Zero is a global issue that requires a collective effort. Abley is committed to achieving this in New Zealand, Australia and internationally, and we are feeling more inspired than ever to achieve safer roads for all users and a more sustainable future. We hope you are too and look forward to accomplishing great outcomes together. 

Solving Queenstown Lakes District’s transport woes with travel demand management

The latest data from Stats NZ shows that the resident population of the District grew by around 10,000 people between 2018 to 2023.

For context, this is almost the entire population of the Gore District. In addition to resident population growth, the area is anticipating high growth in domestic and international tourist numbers, which are expected to increase the average day population to 120,000 by 2051. This growth is putting pressure on the District’s transport network – such as State Highways 6 and 6A, which are already exceeding capacity at certain times of the day.

These challenges cannot be easily solved by adding additional capacity to the transport network, given the topography of the District. The Queenstown-Lakes District Council, in partnership with the Otago Regional Council and NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi, have recognised the need for travel demand management (TDM) to not only take pressure off the transport network, but also to achieve social, cultural, environmental, and economic goals. To do this, TDM will help to better inform and influence people’s travel choices to achieve a sustained change in travel behaviour across the District.

If you are heading to Queenstown over the Christmas/New Year’s holiday period, have a think about others ways of getting around, which don’t rely on using a car. This might mean getting a Bee card to take advantage of the District’s public transport network, or hiring a bike.

Abley is working with Queenstown-Lakes District Council and its partners to recommend a TDM programme, which we hope will make it easier for residents and visitors to travel around Queenstown and enjoy all that it has to offer.

To learn more, contact Matthew Noon.

Assurity aim to future-proof their commuting emissions with CarbonWise

Assurity supports government agencies and businesses with digital projects. From smoothing the path of digital change, to developing more successful digital products, they help organisations thrive in our digital world.

Recently, Assurity committed to becoming a more environmentally sustainable organisation. Part of that included reducing their carbon footprint from commuting. We take joy in witnessing organisations embrace environmental sustainability, and we are delighted to be part of Assurity’s journey with CarbonWise—a tool that effortlessly measures and reports commuter emissions for organisations.

Data is power. Getting visual commuting data from CarbonWise has been really powerful because data by itself is fine, but if it is visualised, people go, wow! Everyone reads data quite differently, and visual data is more accessible and engaging for many people.”

– Tina Burns, General Manager of Business Services, Assurity

If you’re interested in learning more about CarbonWise and Assurity’s experience using the tool, click here to read the case study

LGWM engagement

Growing consultation and engagement capacity at Abley

Abley’s Consultation and Engagement (C & E) team recently welcomed Jack Sargentina to the Wellington office as a Communications and Engagement Specialist.

Jack joins us from KiwiRail where he was involved in project and public communications for Interislander services. Jack brings his customer-focused skills and passion for transport to a growing C & E portfolio at Abley.

Jack is working with Cath Jacobs, Associate Director based in Wellington, and Vanessa Sears, Communications and Engagement Advisor based in Christchurch.  

Abley’s C & E team partners with government and private sector clients in New Zealand and Australia on regional and national programmes. From speed consultation, road safety, and travel demand management to parking management, the team works with partners and clients to shape and deliver consultation and tactical engagement strategies in a planned and effective way. From community consultation to technical stakeholder engagement, we test concepts and plans with stakeholders and the public for evidence-based narrative, buy-in, and investment. 

Learn more about our C & E work here.

Are you facing challenges with your communications and engagement?

We help our clients engage meaningfully with the community and project stakeholders meeting project outcomes. To help us understand your needs, please complete a quick 1-minute surveyAll entries go into the draw to win one of two $50 prezzie cards.

Alternatively, contact Cath Jacobs.

Improving road safety in Brunei with iRAP

Abley’s Road Safety Team continually strives to make a difference and do more work in South-East Asia to improve road safety outcomes in the region. 

Brunei is a small country (population 450,000) on the island of Borneo in South-East Asia. It shares this island with two Malaysian States (Sabah and Sarawak) and with Indonesia to the south (Kalimantan). The country has a well-developed transport network, compared with other parts of South-East Asia, with uncluttered urban arterials and modern freeways, including the Temburong Bridge, which opened in 2020. This new 30 kilometre-long bridge enables citizens to cross between the main population centre of Brunei with the province of Temburong, without having to travel through Malaysia.

iRAP assessment

In 2015, Shane Turner was part of a team that undertook the first International Road Assessment Program (iRAP) assessment of the principal road network in Brunei and developed a star rating. The star ratings range from one-star (poor) to five-star (excellent). Abley will complete the second iRAP assessment in 2024 with local firm JSY Systems, which will cover the previous routes and some extra routes, including the Temburong Bridge. In addition to the star rating assessment, the re-assessment will include performance tracking to see how safety has changed on the network over the last decade. As with the earlier assessment, recommendations for safety improvements are likely to include infrastructure improvements and better speed management (lower speed limits and improved enforcement).

Get in touch with Shane Turner to learn more about our work In SE Asia.

Business systems and the importance of integration

In today’s business world, efficiency and cohesive operation are vital to success, thus we rely on a multitude of tools and processes to keep everything running smoothly.

One key element that often goes unnoticed but expands the crucial role of business systems is the integrations connecting them.

Business systems are the backbone of an organisation – an intricate web of components, processes, and functions designed to achieve specific business objectives. Think of it as the central nervous system that ensures distinct parts of a business work together in harmony. These systems are categorised into various types, depending on their purpose.

While each system is valuable on their own, their true potential is realised through integration. Business system integration is the process of connecting and coordinating various technologies, systems, and applications within an organization to work together seamlessly. It’s the magic that happens when your customer relationship management system (CRM) talks to your financial system, and your inventory management system communicates with your sales automation tools.

One way to achieve this integration is by using FME (Feature Manipulation Engine), a powerful data integration platform. With FME, you can connect hundreds of business systems, databases, and file types, including HubSpot and ProjectWorks. This level of extension allows limitless data transfer and communication between these two (and many additional) systems. For example by combining CRM data with your resource planning system, you can streamline project management, track customer interactions, and enhance resource planning. 

In a recent FME Fireside chat instalment, members of our Digital Engineering team discussed how this integration benefits your business. We also share lessons learnt from previous projects and how to use the newest features included with FME:23.    

If you are interested to learn more about business systems and the importance of integration, click here to read Gavin Jeter’s recent blog. 

TrafficFlow -Data Products

Discover Abley TrafficFlow - your gateway to revolutionary traffic insights

Prepare to revolutionise your approach to transport and traffic analysis with Abley TrafficFlow.

This groundbreaking suite of transport and journey data products is set to redefine how you perceive and manage traffic-related challenges. 

Abley TrafficFlow doesn’t just offer solutions; it presents a new era of innovation tailored precisely to meet the intricate demands of collecting and analysing vehicle speed and journey data. Our suite transforms traditional traffic data collection methods, empowering you with unprecedented insights and efficiency. 

What sets Abley TrafficFlow apart: 

  • Tailored solutions: Choose from seven carefully curated products, each designed to address specific needs. 
  • Flexible pricing tiers: With three tiers for each product, aligning with diverse budgets and requirements is seamless. 
  • Powered by TomTom: Leveraging TomTom’s extensive Historical Traffic Analytics database across 80+ countries. 
  • Effortless ordering: A streamlined process ensures swift access to analysis-ready data right on your desktop. 

A glimpse into our product offering: 

  • JourneyChange: for tracking long-term variations in vehicle travel times and speeds. 
  • TrafficSeasonality: for analysing seasonal fluctuations in vehicle travel times and speeds. 
  • HolidayImpact: to assess the impact of holiday periods on travel times and speeds. 
  • SpeedMonitor: for comprehensive current vehicle speed profiles. 
  • ModelValidation: for data to validate transport models. 
  • ODMatrix: to explore and quantify origin/destination patterns. 
  • LinkFlows: for understanding route preferences to and from specific road links. 

Tailored to you: 

Our product suite perfectly caters to transport planners, engineers and related professionals who need data on vehicle travel trends and patterns to meet project objectives. 

The launch of Abley TrafficFlow is only the beginning of our journey. Our roadmap involves expanding the suite with more innovative products while enhancing the user experience for our customers. Stay tuned for the full project launch and embark on a transformative journey with Abley TrafficFlow! 

For more details, click here or connect with the Abley TrafficFlow Team at . 

Meet the team: Mat Collins

Mat recently joined the Abley team in our Christchurch office, as an Associate Transport Planner in our Land Development team.

Mat started his career as a firefighter in the Royal New Zealand Airforce and with Fire and Emergency NZ. After graduating from the University of Auckland with a BEng(Hons) in Civil Engineering, Mat spent several years in various transport planning roles at Auckland Transport and Auckland Council, prior to becoming a consultant.

Mat has a well-deserved reputation in public and private sector organisations for his pragmatic approach, holistic thinking, and ability to balance the often-competing needs and desires that come with urban development. Some of Mat’s most rewarding projects involved taking a “debate and decide” approach to urban development, which considers “how would we like the world to look” rather than just “how do we minimise travel delay”.


We asked Mat five questions about his first few months at Abley. 

What was your first impression of Abley and the environment when you started? 

I’ve worked “across the table” with several Abley people over the years and have always been impressed with their professionalism and unbiased approach. It’s been great to find that my impressions were well founded, and that these ethics are carried throughout the company. 

Can you share a bit about your onboarding experience? 

It’s been a good balance between checking the boxes and providing practical guidance on how things run and who does what. It’s been great having inhouse experts like Sam, Victoria, and Joel who have been super helpful bringing me up to speed.

Are there any specific Abley values or initiatives that you’ve found particularly appealing? 

End of month lunches for the win! 

Could you describe your perspective on the industry you work in and any trends or changes you foresee? 

In land development, relationships and reputation can mean the difference between a fast resource consent approval or a protracted and even adversarial downward spiral. Spending a little more to put your best consultant team together can save you money in the long run. 

What advice or insights would you offer to potential new hires or anyone considering a career at Abley? 

For me, being able to act as an independent expert without bias is a non-negotiable, which is one of the reasons I chose to join Abley. In my view, company values can have a big influence on your career, particularly when you’re starting out, so ideally find a company that allows you to be you. 

Abley Client Satisfaction Survey to launch in 2024

Over the past few months, we’ve been reviewing where we can further improve our service to you.  

One area is client satisfaction. We want to ensure we have more frequent feedback from clients across three key areas of our business:   

  • How satisfied you are with our service or product offering, our work and our expertise
  • Your perceptions of the Abley brand  
  • Client advocacy, measured as a net promoter score  

We will continue to participate in the annual Beaton Survey to help us understand our position within the wider industry. We will complement this with our own client satisfaction survey, to take more frequent, tangible steps to ensure we provide you with the very best client experience, every time.  

We’ll be launching our survey in the first quarter of next year – please keep an eye out for this and we look forward to receiving your feedback! 

If there’s anything we can help improve for you currently get in touch via your Business Delivery Manager, or email us at  


New starters add valuable skills and experience to our growing team

David Bruner

Full Stack Developer


Jacqui Cottam

Marketing and Brand Manager


Jasmine Zhao

Finance Administrator


Tigs (Victoria) Slegers

Graduate Transportation Engineer


Simon Andrew

Senior Transportation Planner


Renee Dirkze

Project Coordinator


Sam Morgan

IT Support Analyst


Jack Sargentina

Communication and Engagement Specialist


Mat Collins

Associate Transportation Engineer


The Abley team at the NZ EUC 2023

Join our team

We are always on the hunt for talented professionals to join our award-winning team. Keep an eye on our careers page for our current vacancies.