Traffic and transport predictions for 2020.
Our team works with clients across all industries and geographies, offering them a global view of the many changes businesses are facing. Impact's annual end of financial year-round table brings together our team to talk about some of the trends we have observed and some of the scenarios we predict in 2020.
What will represent best-in-class transport planning in 2020?
Integrated transport outcomes
Plan Melbourne is guided by the principle of 20-minute neighbourhoods, and as this concept gains momentum, the transport network needs to be managed and developed in ways that balance the tension between movement and place making.
The movement and place framework provides transport and planning agencies with a tool to articulate their vision of a future-focused, multi-modal approach to network planning. This option will need to be developed collaboratively with the private and public sector and local community.
2020 will see this paradigm shift generate conversations that will expose convergent and divergent ideologies. The winners over the next decade will be those that best manage the divergent ideologies without compromising the vision of 20-minute neighbourhoods.
Logistics and freight networks
Urbanisation and e-commerce are driving up freight volumes in metropolitan areas. At the same time international shipping lines are moving toward 40 foot containers to improve efficiency. These factors are contributing to not only more commercial vehicles, but also larger vehicles on the freight network and in freight precincts.
In urban areas, the core of the conversation will be around the idea of freight consolidation centres supported by 24/7 operations. Conversations in freight precincts will converge on the need to enhance, protect and expand the existing principle freight network and high productivity freight vehicle network to accommodate longer and heavier truck combinations.
How have global trends affected the work we do, and what implications will there be for 2020?
More and more vehicles are being designed to reduce reliance on fossil fuels with a transition to renewable sources of electricity. There is also a growing trend in the use of electric powered bicycles and scooters.
This shift is requiring a different approach to how we design and future proof transport corridors and end of trip facilities. 2020 will see an increase in the number of transport corridors and end of trip facilities that will be designed to accommodate electric vehicles, in whatever form they take.
As we design for all road users to safely and efficiently pass a worksite, our work is evolving in response to growing cycling participation rates.
With competing demands for road space along worksites, innovative solutions such as delineated bicycle lanes on wide footpaths allow us to maintain a seamless path for cyclists of all abilities (alternatively they would have had to dismount or merge into the adjacent traffic lane).
2020 will deliver more of the same challenges. The positives are that we have invested considerably in developing collaborative working relationships between clients and transport agencies. This approach allows us to factor in key stakeholder considerations early on during the design process, and also encourages refinements during the implementation / operation phase.
What changes have you experienced in the way we work with clients and transport agencies and what do you foresee for 2020?
Renewed focus on safety
Traditionally, impact assessments have centred around a discussion on road network performance with a view to maintaining performance status quo. Whilst this is one of many important considerations, a shift in how we work is occurring with more and more authorities requiring a balanced approach with a renewed focus on safety in design.
The stage governments 'towards zero' vision and the release of assessment frameworks such as the safe system assessment guidelines, and updated guide to road safety audits will inform discussions and a renewed focus on safety considerations in assessment outputs in 2020.
Capacity constraints during the transport construction boom
A number of major road and rail projects are being delivered in VIC / NSW and development related construction is on the rise in inner city locations. These construction activities are reducing road network capacity, whilst concurrently increasing construction vehicles in the network.
The network is congested and mapping out access routes and staging points for construction vehicles is a challenge for clients and transport agencies. These challenges are changing the way we work with multi stakeholder coordination a growing requirement.
Over the next 12 months, I expect to see clients and transport agencies leveraging technology platforms to optimise construction material deliveries on the road network and improve communication between stakeholders.
Need for advanced tools to address complex challenges
We know that efficient and effective transport networks are critical for the economic and social function of cities, and that population growth is placing significant demands on road and other transport networks.
In this environment, dealing with rising levels of congestion, whilst optimising the network for multi-modal and integrated use as proposed in the movement and place framework will be a challenge.
Striking the right balance is complex and beyond the domain of conventional analytical modelling tools, especially in complex and or congested networks.
We are seeing an appetite from both clients and authorities to the use of complex modelling applications, such as microsimulation modelling packages that provide greater clarity, accuracy and flexibility to allow better decision making.
I expect that over the next 12 months microsimulation modelling will increase to assist with decision making when addressing complex challenges.
Senior Engineer / Transport Modeller
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