From the front...
There’s no denying climate change is here. The past month has been so abnormal from the northern to the southern hemisphere, I’m finding it difficult to reconcile what normal is any more, other than the volatility of this weather. It’s in the face of this volatility that we need some new thinking. Recently I’ve been searching out how change is implemented and found wonder in this quote:
“You will observe with concern how long a useful truth may be known, and exist, before it is generally received and practised on”. (Benjamin Frankin, 1786)
It was from there I viewed Carl Sagan’s testimony before the United States of America Congress on the greenhouse effect in 1985, where he predicted the mess we’d be in 37 years later. We’ve known an ‘inconvenient truth’ since 2006 but collective, meaningful action since has only just begun.
Abley is motivated to do things differently – we always have been. Just replicating the same doesn’t move the dial, and it is moving the dial that enables us to inspire positive change. Our speed management work not only protects vulnerable road users but encourages a more forgiving road environment that promotes sustainable travel. Our product CarbonWise is a useful tool to help businesses measure and lower their employees’ commuting emissions. We’ve recently expanded our modelling offering to include Aimsun as a multimodal analytical tool to support integrated and sustainable transportation planning outcomes. Our location data products help in much the same way.
We hope to see you at the upcoming Australasian Road Safety/Trafinz conference – another opportunity to share and inspire positive change. We are looking forward to it so please reach out to connect. As always, enjoy this edition of Street Smart.
New rules for speed limits around schools
A new regulatory framework has been introduced for setting speed limits on New Zealand roads. The Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2022, was consulted on by The Ministry of Transport and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency in the first half of 2021, and became operative on 19 May 2022. There are some great developments such as the streamlined consultation process and the coordinated speed limit setting procedures, but the most significant initiative brought in through the new rule is the emphasis on school speed limits.
All schools completed by 2027
The new rule takes a highly proactive approach towards improving road safety around schools by setting clear timeframe targets for Road Controlling Authorities (RCAs) to implement safer speeds – an initial 40% of the changes to be completed by 30 June 2024 and all schools nationwide by the end of 2027. This timeframe was brought forward by two years as the submissions showed a strong appetite for shorter timeframes – an encouraging testament to increasing awareness among our community on the importance of speed management.
Better alignment with Safe System
The new rule also supports better alignment with Safe System by setting the default school speed limit to 30km/h either as a variable or permanent limit. There is well established research showing that the likelihood of death and serious injury for active road users increases nearly exponentially with impact speeds beyond 25 – 30km/h.
The new rule requires schools to be classified as Category 1 or Category 2. Category 1 schools must have a speed limit of 30km/h and Category 2 schools a maximum speed limit of 60km/h. Classifying a school as Category 2 will require RCAs to take active steps to justify why a speed limit higher than 30km/h will still achieve Safe System outcomes.
Overall, the new speed limit setting rule is a significant step towards achieving Vision Zero. It sets a robust framework to protect our most vulnerable road users. Safer speeds around school will also contribute towards more sustainable and better public health outcomes by making walking, cycling, and scooting more appealing to children and their parents.
Australasian Road Safety Conference
The Australasian Road Safety Conference 2022 (ARSC) is set to be held in Ōtautahi Christchurch at the newly built Te Pae convention centre between the 28th-30th of September. Many leading industry professionals will take the floor to present at this conference.
Abley is taking on an active role as Platinum sponsors. Paul Durdin is the co-chair of the organising committee and Dr. Shane Turner is the chair of the scientific sub-committee. Paul will host three presentations, ranging from discussing the (recently published) Aotearoa speed management guide, improving road safety benefit calculations, and using “Vision Zero” modelling to transform New South Wales’ road network. Shane also hosts three presentations and will share an extended focus on area-specific analysis, delving into road safety priorities and analysis tools in Indonesia and speed management evaluation in Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula.
Situational safety is the core theme of Dale Harris’ presentations. She is preparing a poster on proactive methods for assessing safety at rural crossroads and is presenting on the national assessment of safety around schools in New Zealand. She will also present the findings of a research project into alcohol-related crash data and crash trends in New Zealand.
Four more Abley presentations are on the agenda: Jeanette Ward will talk about prioritising pedestrians in a Safe System; Lewis Martin will look at the Auckland Transport Safe Speed Programme; and Aini Fayaz Mansoor and Amanda Pullen are presenting on urban street speed predictions and potential applications of SafeView, respectively.
This year ARSC 2022 will feature a hybrid in-person and online format. Our road safety experts are looking forward to catching up with clients and industry peers. Register below for the Australasian Road Safety Conference, we hope to see you there, and look out for our booth!
CarbonWise can help cut emissions
The Government’s recent Emissions Reduction Plan highlighted that transport is responsible for 17% of Aotearoa New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions. The Plan outlined three key action areas for the transport sector.
One of these is to reduce the reliance on cars and support people to walk, cycle and use public transport more. The daily commute is an integral part of transport emissions, yet its impact is rarely measured. Abley launched CarbonWise in March 2022, a tool to easily calculate and help reduce commuting emissions.
Proactively enabling employees to reduce emissions
Reducing transport emissions is at the forefront of climate leaders’ minds. Recently, the Climate Leaders Coalition, a group of businesses responsible for almost 60% of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, announced their new statement of ambition. The statement includes a new minimum requirement of member organisations, including to be proactively enabling their employees and suppliers to reduce their emissions. This is a significant change, confirming the responsibility of employers in leading behaviour change. CarbonWise is one of the ways Abley supports large organisations to accelerate efforts to reduce community emissions.
Influencing employee travel behaviour with CarbonWise
Emissions from commuting are often a large part in an employee’s carbon footprint. Organisations which provide the right tools, facilities and incentives can greatly influence employee travel behaviour. The CarbonWise tool is cleverly designed to take the guess work out of commuting emissions and allows employees to calculate their own emissions with a simple survey. CarbonWise helps individuals to see the environmental impact of their commute while allowing organisations to report on commuting as part of their environmental reporting. Seeing and understanding the amount of emissions can be the trigger to change behaviour. With a national target to reduce total vehicle kilometres travelled everyone needs to make a change towards low emissions transport and CarbonWise can support this change.
Click here to set up a meeting with one of our experts to find out more about CarbonWise.
Abley expand modelling offering to include Aimsun
Exciting news for modelling nerds (and modelling non-nerds of course)! We recently expanded our transportation modelling offering to include Aimsun Next software. This complements the existing suite of software we use for meso (or mesoscopic) modelling projects. Our team consider Aimsun to be leading edge software which provides a lot of flexibility to model a range of scales and complexities as may be required for most modelling applications. This includes traditional strategic modelling through to simulation capability and everything in between, hence the ‘meso’ tag.
Transportation modelling helps us understand the impact of changes in a real-world transport system. Changes in land use, network infrastructure, public transport provision, travel demand management and mode shift can all be modelled and analysed to support planning for growth. Our modelling solutions include strategic modelling, microsimulation, meso modelling, intersection modelling, and corridor signal optimisation. Our full suite of software now includes Aimsun, Sidra, Cube, Paramics Discovery, Tracks and Linsig.
Recent examples of work our team have delivered include the delivery of transportation modelling in high-growth urban areas including the Auckland Region, Christchurch City, Selwyn and Waimakariri Districts, Queenstown-Lakes District, and the Nelson-Tasman Region.
Plan better using TomTom data
You may know we’ve partnered with TomTom to facilitate the distribution of TomTom’s Traffic Analytics Products in New Zealand and Australia. Their products offer an easy to use suite of traffic analytics tools based on reliable historic and real-time traffic data. The TomTom tools provide insights to help you plan and test traffic scenarios without the hassle of leaving your desk. For instance, you can determine the impact of speed limit changes on congestion, evaluate temporary road closures, test new cycle lanes, or even assess the most used routes to study flow dynamics between popular points of interest. It also reduces the need to install and maintain costly traffic measurement stations.
TomTom MOVE Portal for Traffic Analytics
TomTom MOVE features five distinct traffic products, each with unique benefits, that leverage archived big data over the last several years. In addition, TomTom provides a suite of API’s for developers to create web applications to use the historical and real-time traffic data.
Traffic Stats – for granular reporting on historical traffic speeds for road segments and routes
O/D Analysis – for origin / destination analysis for regions and road segments
Route Monitoring – for live traffic monitoring
Road Event Reporter – enabling organisations to publish planned and real-time traffic disruption events
Junction Analytics – for monitoring and optimising traffic flow through junctions
Get in touch with Jacob Pescini to discuss your requirements and set-up your trial access to the Traffic Analytics tools.
Meet the team: Rebecca Teal-Ireland
Based in Northland, Rebecca is a Principal Transportation Data Analyst and experienced project manager who works closely with clients to understand their requirements and deliver transport/safety solutions using spatial data.
Rebecca has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Physical Geography (Hydrology) from the University of Victoria. She started her career working for Environment Waikato in their hydrology and coastal geomorphology teams. In 2009 she joined the Northland Regional Council, before moving to Opus (now WSP) one year later. At Opus/WSP Rebecca worked with clients including local government and community trusts, analysing cycleway feasibility, and completing business case projects. After nine years as a data analyst, Rebecca accepted a role as a team leader in operational asset management at WSP.
Recently, she was a project manager for several notable jobs, including reviewing geotech reports and datasets to capture assets laid out by Waka Kotahi, investigating a potential viable cycle route between Mangawhai and Langs Beach, and leading the WSP Whangārei team in developing tools, methodologies, and systems for the Road Resilience Management System (RRMS) supported by a web-based Road Resilience Information System (RRIS).
Rebecca shares a passion for active modes of transport, such as cycling, both within her professional work and in her personal life. She is an advocate for recreational cycling and is re-exploring her passion for mountain biking. Within the industry, Rebecca is also advocating for recreational cycling, applying her project management and GIS skills to establish connected recreational cycleways across Northland.
Contact Rebecca to discuss transport and data.
New starters add valuable skills and experience to our growing team
Donna Portman (Business Process Lead) joins our Auckland office. Donna has 20+ years of administrative, people management and leadership experience. Donna has been involved with project administration, health and safety management, quality management and process development and improvement. Outside of work, Donna is a podcast junkie and enjoys word games such as Wordle, Quordle, Squardle and Heardle.
David Robinson (Associate Director Transportation Planning) joins our Strategy & Planning team. David has 30+ years experience in Christchurch and the UAE working for local and central government and the private sector. David moved back to Christchurch in early winter from the heat of Abu Dabhi and has settled in well with his family.
Reender Buikema (Spatial Business Analyst) joins us from Stats NZ where he worked as a Senior Geospatial Consultant. Reender’s ten years of experience covers strategic and business analysis, data collection, data analysis and visualisation, imagery analysis, along with the use of ESRI suite and FME.
Erin Da Silva (Senior Transportation Engineer) recently moved to New Zealand from South Africa and joins us from Hatch Africa. Erin’s four years’ experience covers transport planning, geometric and pavement design, active mobility planning and design and financial modelling. She has also worked on civil water projects. Outside of work, Erin enjoys trail running, mountain biking, swimming, dramatic arts and is a keen foody.
Logan Copland (Senior Transportation Planner) joins us from the Dunedin City Council. Logan has four years of transportation experience covering transportation planning, resource consent applications, evidence for Environment Court, plan changes and assessments of subdivisions and land use developments. Outside of work Logan enjoys golf, rugby and is an active gym member.
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.
Do you know someone planning a return or relocate to Aotearoa New Zealand? We have just launched a series of videos, featuring our people telling their story about why Abley is a great place to work in New Zealand. View two of these videos below and feel free to share them with your international contacts.