This year's Engineering New Zealand Transportation Group Conference was held in Christchurch from 11-13 March. Two hundred delegates from both the private and public sectors descended on the newly restored Town Hall. Massive thanks to the conference committee, Harding Consultants, and all the sponsors and speakers who organised this excellent conference.
This conference covers all things transportation: ranging from how to better plan for pedestrians to how to accommodate the relocation of Ports of Auckland. I was delighted to see this year’s theme, Equity in Transportation, discussed in such a wide range of transport issues. I really appreciated how almost every presentation embraced transport equity – I sensed that our industry is indeed committed to understanding and tackling the important issue of transport equity.
For me, a few speakers stood out and helped me broaden my understanding of transport equity, including:
Overall, the conference had an incredible diversity of speakers. We heard the perspectives from Dementia Canterbury, Volvo, and an inclusive tourism company, Makingtrax.
While I do believe this conference pushed a few boundaries, I think we still have a little room for improvement. I heard a lot of great ideas around the idea of reallocation of road space for pedestrians and bikes. However, I didn’t hear a lot about how to implement or push for those ideas to happen. While the industry itself seems to be in agreement, we will still see push back outside the conference from those who prefer the car. I think our conference could benefit from encouraging people to share ideas and results from implementation and how to promote and create change.
During the conference, I had the opportunity to present a poster I created on 'Cycling Deserts', which are areas with less access to cycling infrastructure. It was a real pleasure to share and discuss this research with everyone, and it was rewarding to see some of the equity statistics being used the next day by another presenter! I was thrilled to receive the Best Poster award.
The most impressive moment from the conference for me though was the number of delegates who dressed up in the 'Roaring 20's' theme and hit the dance floor at the conference dinner. I’d have to put it at ≥65%. A fun night was had by all who attended!
And finally, well done to Abley's other award winners at the conference:
Matt Allan - 3M Young Professional of the Year (presentation on Cycleway tactiles, what is best practice?)
Safer Journeys Risk Assessment Tool (Mega Maps) - 'Finalist' 3M Safety Award
Jeanette Ward - Best Paper (Raised intersections)
Shane Turner - Highly Recommended Paper (Managing the downstream effects of the Christchurch Northern Corridor)
Matt Allan (right) receiving his Young Professional award.
Haris Zia & Paul Durdin (right) receiving the Finalist 3M Safety Award for Mega Maps
Blog written by Ben Jassin, Senior Transportation Engineer