The Research and Guidelines Steering Group has the task to ensure that industry research and development of guidelines relating to road asset ownership are applicable and deliver best practice into the hands of practitioners. Current topics include establishing a working group on planning for, and funding, the cost impact of forestry harvesting on low volume roads. Continuing topics include supporting research to limit glyphosate resistance developing in New Zealand weed species, supporting research on issues around mobility scooters, and wider sector representation.
The Group has three key result areas:
- Review and update user requirements;
- Prioritise and manage development of research and guidelines; and
- Improve use of RCA Forum meetings and best practice guidelines by practitioners.
The group comprises representatives from the stakeholders of the RCA Forum and the convenors of the current working groups:
- Fiona Vessey (Matamata-Piako District Council),
- Warren Furner (Ruapehu District Council),
- Jamie Cox (Wairoa District Council) – convenor of the Special Interest Group on Low Volume Roads,
- Bruce Conaghan (Christchurch City Council) – convenor of the Road-Rail Working Group,
- Brett North (Wellington City Council) – RCA Forum representative on the board of NZUAG,
- Gerry Dance (NZ Transport Agency) and Wayne Newman (Cresmere Consulting Ltd) – co-convenors of the Active Modes Infrastructure Group.
Jim Paterson (Western Bay of Plenty District Council and RCA Forum Finance Convenor) and Don Cameron (Mayor, Ruapehu District Council and Co-chair of the RCA Forum) also regularly attend meetings of the group. The group records its thanks to Bill Greenwood (New Zealand Transport Agency), convenor of the National Level Crossings Working Group, who was a long-serving and tireless member of the Steering Group and retired in June 2014, Murray Hasler (Central Otago District Council, formerly Gore District Council) and Peter Bailey (Porirua City Council) as convenors of the group and long-serving members, and Fiona Knight, who was instrumental in establishing the RCA Forum and the long-time convenor of the National Stock Effluent Working Group.
Wayne Newman is the executive officer of the Steering Group (contact at [email protected]).
The Group provides regular update reports to the Executive and presentations to the Forum meetings. See also the Group’s Meetings page.
The future national vehicle fleet (particularly urban public and personal transport) is looking increasingly likely to be composed of low-emission or electric vehicles. Planning for the needs of this fleet is already occurring. One important aspect of this will be the potential provision of charging infrastructure in public places. The Steering Group coordinated a late submission from the RCA Forum on the potential provision of electric vehicle charging infrastructure within the road corridor in a recent consultation by MBIE. See submission on EV Charging Infrastructure.
Other responses to the future composition of the national vehicle fleet are contained in the Electricity Innovation (Electric Vehicles and Other Matters) Amendment Bill. This proposes a RUC emption for electric heavy vehicles until these form 2% of the total HCV fleet and amends section 22AB of the Land Transport Act 1998 in order to allow bylaws permitting electric vehicles to use special vehicle lanes. It also amends the Electricity Industry Act 2010 to define all secondary networks as distribution networks. Members have significant concerns around each of these proposals. See submission on Electricity Innovation (Electric Vehicles and Other Matters) Amendment Bill.
The Steering Group worked with the Special Interest Group on Low Volume Roads to make a joint submission on the review of the VDAM Rule at the start of 2016 and then again to make a joint submission from the RCA Forum on the Draft VDAM Rule when this was released for consultation. These submissions identified significant uncertainties around the assumed potential benefits and costs of the proposed changes. See submission on VDAM Rule review. See RCA Forum submission on Draft VDAM Rule. See Appendix 2 – Pavement damaged by single tyres.
Calls for guidance on issues relating to forestry, agricultural vehicles and heavy vehicles on rural or low volume roads have been repeated for several years. In particular, there is a recognised need for a consistent best practice response to accelerated pavement consumption from heavy vehicles associated with forestry harvesting. A working group appeared to be the best means to address this and develop such guidelines and a new working group was endorsed by the Forum meeting on 8 August 2014.
The Group supported and contributed to research led by the Foundation for Arable Research to prevent the development of glyphosate resistance within weed species within New Zealand. Glyphosate is better known as “Roundup”, but is the basis for the most commonly-used herbicides currently used in New Zealand. The development of resistance, as has occurred in Australia and many other countries, would impose substantial extra costs on arable agriculture, horticulture and viticulture, as well as every organisation currently controlling weed or vegetation growth here.
A new working group was established in 2012 to look at best practice for indicating cycle lanes, current signage and markings for cycles-only and shared lanes, and nationally consistant treatment of signage and markings. This group has overseen the preparation for national trials of new markings during 2014 and agreed that its scope needs to be wider than just cyling signs and markings, but extend to providing guidance on the provision of a wide range of infrastructure for all active modes.
While cycling is one aspect of the need for modern road design to take into account a wider range of personal transport modes than has been necessary traditionally, another aspect of this same issue is the increasing usage of mobility scooters on roads and footpaths. The Group has begun to investigate this issue and expects to continue to follow research around the potential effects of an aging population turning increasingly to alternative forms of personal mobility device.
Where cyclists and skateboarders share footpaths with pedestrians, the risk of injury to elderly pedestrians and those with impaired vision, hearing or mobility through falls or collisions is increased, often to the point where these pedestrians feel afraid. Accidents as pedestrians and fear of such accidents can deter elderly and vulnerable members of society from using their streets and roads. This drastically reduces their ability to remain active, socially connected and independent. A new working group was established early in 2016 to address these issues in light of New Zealand’s changing demographic character over coming decades.
The Shared Footpaths Group strongly supported the RCA Forum submission on the petition of Joanne Clendon to change the Road User Rule to allow cycling on footpaths by children under 14 years of age (and accompanying adults), seniors over the age of 65, or vulnerable adults; to make bells mandatory for any bicycle used on footpaths or shared use paths; and to allow local authorities to exclude, on a reasonable basis, certain areas of footpath from being used for cycling. See Submission.
Safe System Roads for Local Government
The group has supported the representation of New Zealand on this AARB project by Aaron Campion, and is grateful to GHD for continuing Aaron’s involvement in this project after he joined them. Aaron prepared a paper on Safe System Roads for Local Government for the Australian College of Road Safety, which he presented at the International Road Safety Conference 2015 on the Gold Coast, and which is available here.
The Group is also working to coordinate sector representation on steering and working groups set up by other agencies. The role of steering group members is to provide a contact for sector input, review and comment on draft documents and review final documents to ensure all comments have been addressed. With increasing restrictions on travel, attendance at meetings and workshops is increasingly by teleconference or video-conference wherever possible. Some budget assistance may be available from the Workgroup research and development budget for participation in workshops. What are your interests? What are you passionate about? Contact us and register your interests, if you are interested in participating in a steering group or working group.