Street Smart (Winter 2023)

From the front...

Winter 2023 

Kia ora, 

It is a great honour to celebrate Abley’s 20th birthday this year.  A big thank you to everyone who has been part of Abley’s journey so far. It was fantastic to bring our whole team together in May for a day of reflection, inspiration and celebrations, and we are excited to consider what the next 20 years will bring! For more about our story over the years and some classic photos, see my recent blog.

Many of you will know I am a fan of continuous learning, coupled with adventure. In June, I sailed from Fiji to New Zealand. That’s roughly a 2,500 km journey, which took us 9.5 days. This is the second time I’ve done this trip, but this time on a catamaran (that has two hulls). 

It was quite an experience with very rough weather (unsurprising given it was winter).  Nevertheless, it was still a surprise when a wave ripped our life raft from the yacht. The only thing that was left was the knock knock knocking of a life raft remnant on one of the hulls. 

It made me wonder about the relevance of a Plan B when our Plan A was so capable. Personally, I’ve always planned for and backed Plan A and put little to no faith in the backup plan, perhaps because Plan B never really existed.

Abley is also firmly working towards Plan A. We’re accelerating our work towards better outcomes for all. We’re working on some interesting projects that are being delivered differently, because the world is different. Are you ready for a new challenge? We’re always looking for talented people to join us on this exciting journey.

Sailing with Steve
Steve with remnants of the life raft.

This is the last of my sailing adventures for a while. Next up, something different but still adventurous – watch this space!

It’s not long until spring arrives here in Aotearoa. Stay safe on the roads and enjoy this edition of StreetSmart.

Noho ora mai from all of us.

Steve Abley 
Chief Executive

Abley SafeCurves™ launches in the US

Abley is excited to announce that we have developed a proactive, data-driven approach for road safety practitioners to identify high-risk curves across entire highway networks.  

Abley SafeCurves™ is a spatial dataset that is now available nationwide in the USA. 

SafeCurves addresses the main cause of deaths on US highways – roadway departures on curves. Statistics show traffic fatalities have been increasing across the USA, with 2020-2021 having the highest level of fatalities at over 42,000 per year since 2011.  

It is a network evaluation tool that identifies and classifies all horizontal curves on high-speed roads into risk categories. The risk assessment process is independent of crash data and based entirely on road geometry, terrain, and operating speeds. In saying this, SafeCurves has a very strong link between curve risk categories and crash risk, which allows road safety practitioners to target countermeasures at curves with high-risk attributes, following the systemic approach recommended by the Federal Highway Administration. 

Gavin Jeter and Paul Durdin recently attended the ATSIP Traffic Records Forum in Nashville, USA with two presentations: SafeCurves and Safety Performance Indicators. It was a great opportunity to make connections and it’s exciting to see strong interest in SafeCurves across several states. 


We will be returning to the US in August where Steve Abley and Gavin Jeter will be attending the Joint ITE International Annual Meeting and Exhibition in Portland to promote SafeCurves.  

To learn more about Abley SafeCurves, visit:

Outdoor charging stations

Faster charging, better service

The transport sector is one of the largest sources of emissions in New Zealand. The government has set a target to reduce emissions in the transport sector by 41% by 2035. A vital aspect of this programme is to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) which produce no tailpipe emissions.

As part of this programme, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) is delivering various projects to help business and the community make the transition to EVs. One of these projects is supporting the roll out of larger EV charging stations (more like traditional fuel stations with 10 or more ‘pumps’) across Aotearoa. With the increasing uptake of EVs, consumers will be reassured that they can take their EVs on longer journeys across the motu without worrying about recharging options.

Abley is working with EECA to provide specialist advice on where these should be located and how they operate. Combining our transport planning and engineering skills, with our access to in-depth traffic data from TomTom, we have delivered insights to help EECA and their partners to better understand the requirements and opportunities.

For more information about EECA’s EVs programme, visit:

Waka Kotahi Pedestrian Network Guidance training course

Planning and designing for pedestrians training course

Recently, Jeanette Ward and Ann-Marie Head delivered the inaugural Application of Pedestrian Network Guidance training course in Christchurch. This one day interactive course draws on best practice guidance provided in the Pedestrian Network Guidance (PNG) also developed by Abley as part of a multi-consultant team for Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. Building on introductory content provided in several multi-modal webinars published in the last few years, the training course focusses on application of the guidance in practice. Participants undertook group exercises using real examples of pedestrian environments from towns and cities around New Zealand. The challenge was to apply the fundamental walking principles to identify shortcomings and improvements to real world crossings and intersections which tend to be the most challenging and risky parts of pedestrian journeys.

Participants came away with a better understanding of how to prioritise the needs of all pedestrians in our urban environments so we can reap more of the benefits that walking contributes to our health, environment and communities.

Look out for more of these courses coming soon or get in touch with Ann-Marie Head to be notified when course dates are confirmed.

Unveiling the Power of Origin to Destination Analysis for Transport Engineers

As the world becomes more connected and urbanised, the role of transport planners and engineers in delivering efficient and sustainable transportation systems is increasingly critical. Among the tools at their disposal, origin to destination (O/D) analysis stands out as a powerful technique for understanding travel patterns and unlocking numerous benefits.

Understanding Travel Patterns

O/D analysis provides transport engineers with invaluable insights into the origin and destination points of travel within and between regions. By collecting data on trip origins, destinations, and routes, engineers gain a comprehensive understanding of travel patterns, including peak travel times, preferred modes of transport, and common routes. This knowledge enables them to identify congestion hotspots, optimise existing infrastructure, and make informed decisions about future transport investments.

Efficient Infrastructure Planning

Transport engineers armed with information generated from O/D analyses can optimise infrastructure planning to enhance efficiency and reduce congestion. By identifying the most heavily used corridors and routes, they can allocate resources to alleviate bottlenecks, improve traffic flow, and enhance overall network performance. Moreover, O/D analysis helps determine the need for additional transportation modes or services, such as public transport services, cycle lanes, or ridesharing programs, ensuring that investments align with actual travel demands.

Data-Driven Decision Making

O/D analysis enables transport engineers to make data-driven decisions based on accurate and up-to-date information. By integrating O/D data, such as that provided by TomTom, with other datasets such as demographic and land-use data, engineers can develop comprehensive transportation models that reflect the complexities of the real world. This empowers them to evaluate the impacts of different policy interventions, such as road pricing schemes or transit expansions, and assess their effectiveness in meeting the community’s transportation needs.

If you need to understand travel patterns, sign up to the free 90-day trial for TomTom Origin/Destination Analysis or get in touch with Jacob Pescini to learn more about how TomTom Traffic Analytics can benefit your transport planning and engineering activities.

Road safety training for South-East Asia

Death from motor vehicle crashes is more than three times higher (per 100,000 population) in low-and middle-income countries in South-East Asia than in high-income countries like Australia and New Zealand. This trauma burden falls disproportionately on vulnerable road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death globally for children and young adults aged 5 to 29.   

Death and severe trauma

Abley has worked in South-East Asia since 2020. Given the tragic number of deaths and severe trauma in the region, we are delighted to bring our expertise in strategic road safety (including iRAP and development of safety performance indicators), crash investigation, development of road safety programmes, and training to a part of the world that has far fewer skilled road safety practitioners (per million residents) than high-income countries. As with all our road safety work, we bring a passion for making a difference and an optimism that change can occur to address the road safety crisis, especially among young people.   

Focus in Indonesia

Our key focus is Indonesia, where we have been working with the Indonesia Australia Partnership for Infrastructure (also known as KIAT). This is a joint organisation between the Indonesian and Australian governments, focused on improving infrastructure in Indonesia, including safer roads. In this project, we provided road safety training on treating crash blackspots and developed risk maps (based on crash prediction models) for the national highway network. We are passionate about making a difference and doing more work in this region.

Seminars and webinars

Abley employees have given seminars and webinars for this region, including the Asia Pacific Road Safety Observatory dialog on the safety of powered two-wheelers hosted by the Asian Development Bank.

Dr Shane Turner was also a headline presenter to the Indonesian Youth Coalition Road Warrior Seminar (talking about the safe system) and for a University of Philippines webinar on designing safe roads for motorcycles. Later this year, Shane will also attend and present on the Indonesia project at the EASTS conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.      

2023 Australasian Road Safety Conference

Our team members are looking forward to catching up with everyone attending the Australasian Road Safety Conference (ARSC) in Cairns, Australia from 19-21 September 2023. As Gold sponsors, Abley has an Exhibition Booth and welcome you to visit us there or contact any of our presenters below to meet up during the conference.

Our presentations include:

  • Spatial mapping of injury claims data to safety barrier locations – Rebecca Teal-Ireland
  • The road safety and multi-modal impacts of on-street parking – Jeanette Ward
  • A Safe System aligned fatal crash reporting management system – Lewis Martin
  • Alcohol-related crashes in NZ – Dale Harris
  • Evaluating the Impact of Victoria’s Road Infrastructure Treatment Policies – Paul Durdin
  • Safety performance indicators and measuring what we value – Paul Durdin
  • Incompatibility of traditional economic appraisal methods + Safe System outcomes – Paul Durdin
  • Pedestrian and bicycle safety performance functions for segments and intersections – Shane Turner

Meet the team: Reender Buikema

Reender Buikema joined Abley in July 2022. He splits his time working as a Business Analyst on geospatial and software development projects and working as the Business Delivery Manager (team leader) of Abley’s Location Solutions team. Reender stepped into the team leader role in early 2023 to continue developing his leadership skills.

Reender has worked for a decade in various geospatial roles in the private, public, and non-profit sectors, while training to become a Business Analyst. He started in the oil and gas industry, before joining the New Zealand Defence Force in a civilian role, and then moving to Stats NZ. Reender also volunteered with NZ GIS in Conservation for several years.

Reender works on business analysis and product delivery for Abley clients. His technical geospatial background allows him to support clients with the use and administration of Esri geospatial software, including ArcGIS Enterprise, ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Pro.

Reender enjoys helping solve business problems by understanding what clients really want – whether that is a process, web map or web application. This requires understanding the client’s business and processes, gathering product requirements, and documenting these for the geospatial and software teams to deliver the best solution for our customers.

Outside of work, Reender can be found spending time with his family, running, tramping or with a camera in hand.  Feel free to reach out to Reender to chat about your next geospatial solution, be that a simple web application or a complex enterprise GIS deployment.

New starters add valuable skills and experience to our growing team

Abley Athul Harris

Athul Harris (Senior Transportation Engineer, Vision Zero team) joins our Wellington office.  Athul is an experienced and valuable addition to our team with seven years of council and consultancy experience in Wellington and Christchurch. Outside of work, Athul enjoys mountain biking, snowboarding and watercolour painting. 

Cara Kim (Payroll Administrator, Shared Services) joins our Christchurch office. Cara is also currently employed as a realtor at Ray White and has professional interests in process efficiency and administrative excellence, which lend themselves well to her new role. Outside of work, Cara enjoys playing squash, badminton, and the piano. 

Elena Pihera (Graduate Transportation Engineer, Strategy + Planning team) joins our Auckland office. Elena holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Geography and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in International Relations and Development Studies from Victoria University Wellington – Te Herenga Waka. Elena’s professional interests include public transport, mode sharing, and the visualisation of information. Outside of work, Elena enjoys running, yoga, walking her dog and watching movies. 

Liam Burkhardt (Senior Transportation Engineer, Land Development team) joins us from Auckland Transport and brings valuable skills in land use planning, report writing, transportation and urban planning, zoning, and policy analysis. Outside of work, Liam enjoys running and heading up north to the beaches. 

Josh Norton (Spatial Solution Architect, Location Solutions team) joins our Auckland office. Josh joins us from New Zealand Defence Force where he worked for 13 years as a GIS Developer and Senior Geo Systems Developer. Josh is an experienced geospatial professional who finds innovative, fit-for-purpose solutions to problem sets and customer requirements. Outside of work, Josh enjoys getting outdoors with his family and surfing on Auckland’s west coast. 

Olivia Heer (Senior Transportation Engineer, Vision Zero team) joins our Auckland office. Olivia has seven years of experience in overseeing teams and managing complex transportation projects. She specialises in project management and the design of transportation and stormwater projects. Outside of work, Olivia enjoys cooking, running and swimming.

Carlos Gaona (Transportation Engineer, Strategy + Planning team) joins our Wellington office. Carlos joins us from WSP and has skills in transportation engineering, planning, and modelling. He has worked on traffic assessments and intersection modelling. Outside of work, Carlos enjoys board games, cycling, improv and walking. 

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.               

We are currently looking for: 

Principal Road Safety Engineer

Sustainable Transportation Professionals