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Research Report 623 Effects of land transport activities on New Zealand’s endemic bat populations: reviews of ecological and regulatory literature

Published: | Category: Environmental impacts of land transport , Research programme , Research & reports | Audiences: General, Road traffic engineers & consultants

Roading projects may have adverse effects on indigenous wildlife. In New Zealand the effects of roading on long-tailed bats (Chalinolobus tuberculatus) is an issue and projects have attempted to monitor and mitigate effects on bats populations. However, how to undertake monitoring and mitigation is unclear. The New Zealand Transport Agency commissioned Wildland Consultants, Landcare Research and AECOM to:

review the literature on effects and mitigation of roads on bats, and relevant statutory processes
research road effects on long tailed bats
develop a framework for managing these effects. Roads affect bats by severing their flight paths and depleting roosting habitat by removing trees. Most bat road research has quantified effects on behaviour rather than population survival, making prediction of effects difficult. No studies have demonstrated any mitigation options to be effective for bats.

Research Report 626 The long-term acoustic performance of New Zealand standard porous asphalt

Published: | Category: Activity management , Research programme , Research & reports | Audiences: General, Road traffic engineers & consultants, Roading contractors

Research was commissioned to investigate the long-term acoustic performance of New Zealand standard porous asphalt made to TNZ P/11 Specification for open graded porous asphalt (OGPA). The research findings should be considered applicable only to New Zealand OGPA laid in high-speed environments (speed limits of 80 to 100 km/h). A method for acoustic measurement was selected, developed and applied using drafts of ISO 11819-2 for guidance. Measurements were made of a set of OGPA sections of different ages from four regions of New Zealand. The oldest OGPA sections were around 8 to 10 years old, which matches current expectations of OGPA ‘life’. The measurements show OGPA acoustic performance deteriorating at a steady but slow rate over time, yielding about 2 dB(A) deterioration of acoustic performance over 8 to 10 years.

Research Report 627 Data standards for the NZ transport network

Published: | Category: Transport demand management , Research programme , Research & reports | Audiences: General, Road traffic engineers & consultants

As transport network operations become more and more time critical the requirement for knowledge of the performance and state of the network becomes more significant for decision support. Sensor technology is advancing quickly, particularly with respect to the ‘Internet of Things’, and there are significant amounts of data and information generated by a number of internal and external sources that relate to transport network and require processing. An inherent embedded component of the data sources is information about the transport networks themselves. Typically, this spatial attribute is developed to meet the specific needs of an application leading to diverse representations of the same transport network. There is a lack of transport specific data analysis platforms that are resilient to change, are lightweight and cost efficient to maintain.

Research Report 629 System dynamics investigation of freight flows, economic development and network performance

Published: | Category: Performance monitoring , Research programme , Research & reports | Audiences: General, Road traffic engineers & consultants

The purpose of this research was to investigate if and how systems dynamic (SD) modelling could be used for understanding traffic flows at an inter-regional (state highway) level, in the context of improving understanding of the relationship between economic activity, the demand for freight, and the performance of the rail and road network. We used the Auckland – Hamilton – Tauranga (AHT) triangle as a pilot case study. The research involved the design and construction of three models; two simple Bayesian vector autoregressive model to forecast economic activity and freight flows within the AHT region, and a high level SD model for simulating freight flows along the main roads in the region. The key strength, and hence the main reason for selecting an SD model for this latter task, is that time is explicit.

Research Report 622 Best practice guide for pavement stabilisation

Published: | Category: Activity management , Research programme , Research & reports

New Zealand pavement engineers, in collaboration with colleagues in South Africa and Australia, are recognised internationally as leaders in the use of stabilisation in highway, road, airport, port and industrial hardstand pavement applications. Stabilisation is used to rectify a deficiency in a soil, aggregate or surfacing material. Stabilised materials contribute to the strength and performance of pavements at all levels: subgrade; subbase; base and surfacing. Applied research into and development of leading edge testing and design knowledge, coupled with significant improvements in the capacity and effectiveness of stabilisation construction plant and work site processes now offer the wider transport industry in New Zealand relatively safe, efficient and sustainable pavement construction, rehabilitation and maintenance options incorporating stabilisation.

Research Report 624 Assessment of the value to end users of the NZ Transport Agency research programme

Published: | Category: Economic development , Research programme , Research & reports

This evaluation assesses the value to end users of research published by the Transport Agency between 2011 and 2016. ‘Value’ is defined as the importance of the research programme to individual end users as well as the transport sector more broadly. The evaluation also identifies barriers and enablers to the uptake and use of findings; and the extent to which the Transport Agency’s mechanisms for disseminating and promoting research findings work for end users. The evaluation is a follow-up to a study conducted in 2011. The findings show the research continues to be of substantial value to end users in all areas of the transport sector. Respondents value practical, innovative New Zealand-based solutions to their issues. There is more conceptual ‘use’ and less evidence of research being used to inform decision making, programme/policy formation and/or improvement.

Research Report 625 Use of technology to measure and improve freight movements

Published: | Category: Environmental impacts of land transport , Publication Category , Research programme , Presentations , Research & reports

The advance of technology has created several rich sources of data to analyse road network performance and freight patterns. New technology is also driving intelligent transport systems (ITS) designed to improve transport operations. This research used Auckland as a case study to explore how existing and real-time data sources could be used to manage network performance and improve journey predictability for urban freight using ITS solutions. Drawing on previous research and a wide range of international literature and case studies, the report presents an overview of the role of ITS and the innovative ways technology is being applied to measure congestion and manage infrastructure more effectively. Extensive industry stakeholder engagement revealed a high level of frustration and urgency to find solutions to improve network efficiency and an acknowledgement of the role of technology alongside infrastructure and regulatory measures to support efficient urban freight movement.

Research Report 618 Trialling best value delineation treatments for rural roads

Published: | Category: Activity management , Research programme , Research & reports | Audiences: General, Roading contractors

Providing a safe, comfortable, cost-effective visual environment to help drivers navigate rural roads requires a better understanding of the strengths and limitations of different delineation devices, materials and treatment configurations. An international literature review examined different options to test on low-volume rural New Zealand road settings, and an expert panel prioritised four of these options to be trialled.  

Four on-road trials were run to examine delineation configurations and materials that could provide better value for rural roads. The key aspects to deciding treatments were to do with targeted delineation (to assist drivers in intuitively signalling more difficult parts of the road network), consolidation (where one configuration with a new product might replace two traditional products), and better delineation in rain, which is arguably a common poor visibility environment (where crashes are over represented).

Research Report 621 Regulations and safety for electric bicycles and other low-powered vehicles

Published: | Category: Safety, security and public health , Research programme , Research & reports | Audiences: General, Motorists, Walkers & cyclists

This research report presents a review of overseas legislation, technology trends, market and safety analyses for low-powered, low-speed vehicles. These vehicles include electric bicycles, mobility scooters, self-balancing devices and other personal mobility or wheeled recreational devices. Current New Zealand LPV legislation is based only on motor power and how certain LPVs may be used. In all other countries reviewed, top motor-assisted speed is regulated. The report assesses various regulatory and non-regulatory options for improving safety while supporting technological innovation and mode choice options in New Zealand.

Research Report 613 Seismic design and performance of high cut slopes

Published: | Category: Activity management , Research programme , Research & reports | Audience: General

A review of the performance of slopes in historical earthquakes, a review of relevant literature describing recent research, consideration of New Zealand’s distinctive topography and seismicity, and limited numerical analyses have been carried out. Steep slopes have failed in past earthquakes, with the initiation of failures in the upper part of slopes indicating the contribution of topographical amplification of earthquake motions. Landslides have been concentrated in hanging wall areas relative to fault rupture, particularly in thrust fault rupture earthquakes. Past research and numerical analyses show that topographical amplification at the crest of a ridge and terrace slopes is likely, with the magnitude of the amplification being dependent on the frequency of the earthquake motions relative to the shape of the topography. The presence of weathered rock (or soil) overlying unweathered rock was shown to rise to larger amplifications of ground shaking.