Last week I took a step outside my comfortable world of spatial and attended the annual Trafinz conference in Hamilton with my transport colleagues from Abley. The theme of this year's conference was ‘Smart, safe and accessible places’ and was attended by 250+ transport planners and engineers from across the country. I was keen to attend because I wanted to identify opportunities where spatial analysis could be used to help solve transportation-related challenges and add more value to solutions.
Many serious and fatal crashes in urban areas occur at traffic signals. Despite this, traffic signals are usually the preferred control type at major intersections on arterial roads when there are a mix of road users. Often, exclusive right turn phases are added, or left turn slip lanes are removed to improve safety. This may improve safety for some users. However, research shows that improving safety for one road user may make an intersection less safe for other road users.
This whole GIS/Geospatial/Location/Spatial Analysis thing can be quite confusing. Just when you think you understand it, something else comes along and what you thought you knew is now out-of-date, or called something else, or has been replaced by something new. This makes it pretty difficult to explain what exactly it is that you do. Recognising this, the leading global GIS provider Esri, also our partner, has recently undertaken a world first and have launched an advertisement on television across the United States. At first glance this isn’t much of a story, but dig a little deeper and actually it’s very exciting, especially if you work in the spatial industry or indeed understand very little about it.
This year’s social club weekend expedition was to Kaikoura, around 150km north of Christchurch. Kaikoura was devastated by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on 14 November 2016, which killed two people, lifted the seabed and caused several massive slips, closing road and rail links for over a year. Today Kaikoura seems to be getting back to its old self, with just the odd closed bar and an earthquake exhibit in the town’s museum hinting that the wildly successful tourist town was virtually shut down due to a lack of tourist trade. A lot of hard work has got the town back on its feet. This included dredging the harbour, the floor of which was raised by the earthquake until it was so shallow the whalewatch boats could no longer berth. In addition, several major construction projects to re-open the road and rail links to the town which were closed after massive slips are still underway.
Congratulations to Becky Tuke who was awarded Highly Commended for the Rising Star Award at the annual Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport NZ (CILT) awards on Friday 18th October 2019.
The Spatial Glitterati were out in force at the 2019 New Zealand Spatial Excellence Awards (NZSEA) held at Te Papa in Wellington on Thursday 17 October. The annual awards, now in their 6th season, were attended by Hon Eugenie Sage, Minister for Land Information, Conservation and the Environment and Andy Foster, the newly elected Mayor of Wellington, for whom this was his first official engagement.
Recently I had the opportunity to be on the Future Transport panel at the Innovation Expo held in Christchurch. In preparing for the panel, we were asked to consider the future developments in transport. My first consideration was for the highly publicised fully autonomous vehicles driving around on the roads without an actual driver. Then there’s the idea of ‘flying cars’ which propose to have us moving around like the Jetsons! While these are exciting and promising views of the future, they are just that, the future – they are not ‘here’ now.
Last week, several of us at Abley were lucky enough to attend the Australasian Road Safety Conference in Adelaide. Adelaide is a beautiful city, being surrounded by parks and with trams bustling through the main city streets. Directly north of the Adelaide Conference Centre is the River Torrens, the riverbanks of which provide excellent views of the city skyline and Adelaide Oval. The city has an easily navigable grid layout, very similar to Christchurch (apparently designed by the same city planner!). We were lucky enough to experience some of the excellent South Australian wines and cuisine on offer through the various social and networking activities held during the conference.