Deputy PM opens ARRB’s new HQ

Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, has officially opened the National Transport Research Centre – the Australian Road Research Board’s (ARRB) new national headquarters – in front of more than 250 guests at Port Melbourne.

McCormack, who is also the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, paid tribute to ARRB’s work as the National Transport Research Organisation, which will be furthered by the state-of-the-art research facility.

“Our transport future is on us now,” said McCormack.

“The George Jetson philosophy and visions of the future are happening right before us, and you at ARRB are front and centre of that.

“This facility is going to be front and centre of everything our nation is relying on (in roads and transport) with your world-class facilities,” he said.

ARRB Chief Executive Officer, Michael Caltabiano, has earmarked the Fishermans Bend precinct, where the new facility is situated, as a possible new test-bed for driverless vehicles.

“We need an urban test platform, and that is Fishermans Bend,” he said.

While it will need government commitment to make that happen, ARRB’s new multi-million dollar home offers the potential to be home base for a driverless vehicle test-bed to benefit all Australians and help shape Australia’s connected mobility future.

Created in partnership with workplace consulting specialists, Amicus, the National Transport Research Centre features world-class research labs and more than 100 staff working on everything from driverless vehicles and road safety to new smart pavements and what smart cities of the future should look like.

The opening day’s activities included displays of autonomous and electric vehicles from Holden, Tesla, Volvo, Jaguar and Mercedes, a hydrogen-powered Toyota, plus a look at one of ARRB’s current projects – a road safety drone.

The drone is engineered to deliver emergency equipment through traffic to accident victims who need it.

Millions of tyres could soon be used in Australia’s roads

New national specifications for Crumbed Rubber Modified (CRM) asphalt could see millions of waste tyres being used in Australia’s road infrastructure.

The Australian Asphalt Pavement Association (AAPA), Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA), Main Roads Queensland, Main Roads WA, Sustainability Victoria and the Australian Road Research Board have worked together to develop and analyse research and development data to achieve cohesive national standards.

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The new national specifications could see nearly 10 per cent of the accessible feedstock for Australian tyre-derived crumb rubber used in domestic road manufacturing, which adds up to almost 4 million end-of-life tyres every year.

The document was published by the AAPA national technology and leadership committee to facilitate the construction of demonstration trials of CRM gap graded asphalt (GGA), and to promote the use of CRM open graded asphalt in Australia.

The crumb rubber binder technology is based on the technology used in the US, with the first demonstration section of CRM GGA in the Gold Coast placed in late June.

CRM Asphalt can offer better drainage, reduced noise, improved rut and crack resistance and reduced maintenance cycles.

Engineers and road contractors are now able to work within parameters of the new national specifications to take advantage of CRM asphalt and spray seal.

TSA Market Development Manager Liam O’Keefe said reaching a national standard has been a critical part of increasing the potential market for crumb rubber use in Australian roads.

“To fully realise this potential for that use we must continue to work with industry partners to ensure the delivery of better roads and better environmental outcomes for all,” Mr O’Keefe said.

“The important next phase of the task is ensuring that the new specifications are used. As utilisation of the new specifications grows, so too will the benefits to the end- of-life tyre industry.”

AAPA Director of Technology and Leadership Erik Denneman said this is a great outcome that has come from the close collaboration between industry and road agencies in Australia.

“For AAPA this initiative fits our objective of encouraging the efficient use of available resources and promoting the use of sustainable products,” Mr Denneman said.

The new national specifications can be found here.