Network Management of Low Volume Local Roads in NSW

Franzen, Thomas (2018) Network Management of Low Volume Local Roads in NSW. [USQ Project]


Low Volume Roads (LVRs) make up a significant component of the road network in New South Wales. However, with less traffic volumes these roads are often treated lower in priority. Limited funding combined with many issues afflicting local governments in NSW has led to a substantial annual funding gap for this part of the road network. This funding gap and the overall ageing road network in NSW has meant that innovative and best practice network management strategies must be adopted to ensure the safety, productivity, social equity, sustainability, and resilience of these LVRs.

This paper investigated the current strategies being used in NSW to manage LVR networks and makes recommendations for improved best practices. This includes both sealed and unsealed LVRs with a focus on those strategies used by local councils in rural and regional NSW. After reviewing the current literature, this study examined the strategies used by Eurobodalla Shire Council (ESC) as a case study. Then the practices adopted by other organisations were investigated by using a survey that was participated in by 38 different local governments, including over one quarter of all NSW councils. The research found that enhancements to the current practices were possible with nineteen different recommendations for improvement. Also, a further eight specific recommendations were made to enhance ESC’s current practices after benchmarking these against other organisations.

The study was successful in determining definitions for both sealed and unsealed LVRs in NSW. This was important as there was a wide variation in definitions found within the literature. The research also identified ways to improve the level of service provided by LVR networks, planning, design, and construction practices as well as lifecycle management and renewal strategies. It was found that further information specifically relating to LVRs needs to be collected, recorded, and made accessible to asset managers in a formal system so that key renewal decisions backed by sound evidence can be made. Also, it was found that further awareness of the specific guidelines covering LVRs in NSW is required. It was determined that there was a significant opportunity to increase the level of road safety reviews or audits undertaken on LVRs. This research verified that inadequate funding and an ageing road network were the largest perceived challenges facing the management of LVRs in NSW. Leveraging state and federal grants, ensuring new LVRs meet future traffic demands, and continuing to investigate best practices for asset management and preservation were found to be the most successful strategies to deal with these challenges.

Recommendations were made to ESC’s current practices in relation to the inspection frequency and renewal works for its unsealed LVRs and its adopted design life for various LVR asset components. Additionally, it is recommended that ESC should continue to monitor, review, and benchmark its practices against the best practices performed by other organisations and this should be done on a routine basis to ensure its network management strategies continue to denote best practice.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Thorpe, David
Qualification: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Civil)
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2022 22:38
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2023 01:33
Uncontrolled Keywords: low volume roads; New South Wales

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