Improving road safety performance is a priority for all levels of government in Australia and an iMOVE project is leading the way on innovative approaches to capturing road feature data for road safety Star Ratings.

The initiative is being led by Transport for NSW (TfNSW) and includes the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) and Australian geospatial data experts, Anditi.

The project, funded by the iMOVE Cooperative Research Centre, will deliver 20,000km of road attribute data for the State road network in New South Wales using TomTom’s MN-R data, as well as prove feature extraction techniques and machine learning for LiDAR data. The project aims to prove rapid, scalable and repeatable methods for road data extraction as part of iRAP’s global ‘AiRAP’ initiative.  The initiative will ultimately open up existing and emerging data sources for network-level road safety assessments throughout Australia and worldwide.

The project comes at an important time for Australian road agencies. The 2018-2020 National Road Safety Action Plan set targets for 90% of travel on national highways and 80% of travel on state highways to meet a 3-star or better safety standard by 2020.

The Australian Government is linking infrastructure funding to ‘measurable improvements in safety’ and state agencies are setting network and project-level Star Rating targets to support the full range of road safety safe system action.  The Parliament of Victoria has also recommended that Star Ratings are published regularly across the road network.

Over 280,000km of AusRAP Star Rating assessments have already been undertaken by road agencies and mobility clubs across Australia. The assessments involve identifying and recording more than 50 road attributes to the iRAP global standard every 100 metres. To date, assessments have been done using video survey footage and manual recording methods.

The project’s manager, Monica Olyslagers, said the automation of data capture being developed through the iMOVE project has the potential to make routine, large scale safety assessments an integral part of the road asset management process.

In recent years, between 1,100 and 1,200 people lose their lives to road crashes on Australian roads each year, and more than 40,000 suffer lifelong, debilitating injuries. “AusRAP data is used to inform policy, investment and design decisions across the country,” Ms Olyslagers said, “Making faster and more affordable data collection possible means that safety assessments can be done on an annual basis across the whole road network.”

“This initiative is a significant opportunity for Austroads who have now taken on the programme lead for AusRAP reflecting the widespread use of the Risk Mapping, Star Rating and Investment Plan protocols by State and Local Governments across Australia to more cost effectively manage their safety performance and support achievement of their National Action Plan Targets,” she added.

The iMOVE Cooperative Research Centre is a consortium of 44 industry, government, and research partners engaged in a concerted 10-year effort to improve Australia’s transport systems through collaborative R&D projects.

For more information:

  • Monitor project progress at https://imoveaustralia.com/project/accelerated-and-intelligent-rap-data-collection/
  • To speak to someone about the project:
    Renae Leeson, Programs Manager at [email protected]
    Monica Olyslagers (Project Manager), iRAP Global Innovation Manager at [email protected]
  • For information on AiRAP, visit https://irap.org/project/ai-rap/
    AiRAP refers to the ‘accelerated and intelligent’ collection and coding of road attribute data made safer by the iRAP Global Road Infrastructure Safety Standard. It captures advances in AI and Big Data, including the use of machine learning, vision systems, LIDAR, telematics, road asset data and other data sources, to inform the benchmarked safety of data to deliver critical information on road safety, crash performance, investment prioritization, and the Star Rating of roads for pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and vehicle occupants. iRAP is working with global innovation partners to develop the evidence-based initiative which has the potential to reduce the time and effort required to undertake road safety assessments, reduce costs and improve accuracy. Big data and artificial intelligence can play a lead role in building the social and economic business case for safer roads and create the scale of change needed to save millions of lives.
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