The ‘push-pull’ approach to minimise jurisdictional supplements to Austroads Guide to Road Design

Austroads have reviewed jurisdictional practices of developing supplements to its Guide to Road Design and devised a process that will reduce the need for supplements. This includes a pathway for adding supplement material to the Guide.

The Guide to Road Design offers guidance to designers on how to create secure, cost-effective, and effective road designs. Although most components of the design process are covered by the Guide, there are some local factors and circumstances that call for additional assistance on occasion. The presence of multiple sources of information present a difficulty for road planners.

Michael Nieuwesteeg, Austroads Road Safety and Design Program Manager states that “there is a vast repository of supplementary guidance developed across Australia and New Zealand. We looked at how current supplements can be minimised and more efficiently managed to provide greater harmonisation of practices and reduce the need for practitioners to check multiple sources”.

The project classified the jurisdictions’ supplementary material and identified new content that can be considered in further updates of the various Parts of the Guide. The recommended changes were based on the relevance of the material, how significant it is for jurisdictions to have that material included in the Guide, and resources required to implement the inclusion.
With the objective to improve the management of content, a pathway was developed for including supplement material in the Guide. A ‘push-pull’ approach is used to identify new content for inclusion in the Guide. “With this approach Austroads looks to ‘pull’ information from the supplements, and the road agencies look for a means to ‘push’ information into the Guide,” said Michael.

Additionally , Nieuwesteeg has also stated that “Austroads strive to keep the Guide to Road Design contemporary, relevant, well researched and world-class. Jurisdictional supplements often include unique or innovative approaches to design, and that content needs to be added to the Guide so that it is available broadly and helps maintain the Guide as the principal road design document for Australia and New Zealand”.

This project recommends that new guidance be based on national and international research and practices, future needs, and supplement material. In any case, the background or evidence of new guidance should be documented for designers when there are design constraints. If a review demonstrates that existing guidance should be modified or eliminated, then this change should be justified and documented.

“While supplements are important and demonstrate a deep understanding gained through years of experience, departures from the Guide must be taken seriously, and jurisdictions should adopt the requirements in the Guide,” the statement continued.

For more information regarding the Guide to Road Design:  Download Recommended Changes to the Austroads Guide to Road Design

Download A Platform for Managing Supplements to the Austroads Guide to Road Design

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