High tech R&D tackles transport problems

La Trobe University and the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) have announced a new partnership to help boost the safety and efficiency of Australia's transport system through greater use of new technology.

'With the rapid growth of our cities, there is urgent need to apply the latest developments in information and communications technology to manage road safety and traffic congestion,' said the project's co-leader, Dr Aniruddha (Ani) Desai.

'Known as Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (CITS), these technologies can also help deal with ballooning freight, travel and environmental costs,' he said.

Dr Desai leads a team at La Trobe University's Centre for Technology Infusion in the School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences.

The Centre has already had one of its key innovations, designed to reduce level crossing accidents between cars and trains, trialled by the Victorian and Queensland governments.

Dr Charles Karl, the ARRB's National Technical Leader and Manager (Congestion, Freight and Productivity), says the ARRB has had 50 years experience on a range of road transport projects in Australia and New Zealand.

Demonstrated expertise

'By joining with La Trobe, we now have a strategic partner with demonstrated technology expertise in bringing new Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems projects to fruition,' he said.

La Trobe staff and postgraduate students will join with the ARRB to work on a wide range of industry and community related R&D projects, gaining, in turn, additional real-world industry experience and skills.

La Trobe Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Keith Nugent, said the ARRB was a trusted advisor to Australian and New Zealand road authorities.

'It is an ideal partner for La Trobe's Centre for Technology Infusion and scientists from other areas of the University to help target their expertise so that our work can directly benefit Australia's transport industries, road users and regulators.'

ARRB's Managing Director, Mr Gerard Waldron, said working with La Trobe would allow ARRB's member agencies access to even more talented researchers and innovators than before, and would help La Trobe to showcase its capabilities nationally. 

'In addition, ARRB staff find working with universities intellectually stimulating and professionally rewarding due to the different perspectives they bring to the table,' he said.

Areas for collaboration

Initial areas targeted for collaboration include:

*          Further research and pilot trials for collision avoidance and pedestrian safety

*          Congestion management, including alleviating heavy vehicle traffic and routing issues in residential areas

*          Disseminating research findings to industry groups, and state and federal road and transport authorities

*          Enzyme and polymer stabilisation of soils and the use of geosynthetics in pavement engineering for better road surfaces – and fewer pot holes.

For further information please contact:

Dr Ani Desai, 03 9479 1242, Dr Charles Karl, 03 9881 1533, or Ernest Raetz, Media and Communications, 0412 261 919.

See also:

Award for carbon reduction technology

Greener factories, better transport systems

La Trobe technology incorporated in Australia's first Zero Emission House

Photo: Simon Forsyth

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