The winners of the National Transport Research Awards, hosted by the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), have been announced, celebrating excellence across the transport sector.

The annual awards recognise the great work that has been done in Australia’s roads, transport and mobility sector during what has been a challenging year.

Winning one of these prestigious awards reflects talent across the transport industry and leadership in shaping our transport future.

The judging panel included:

  • Julia Page, Managing Director and CEO of the Victorian Endowment for Science, Knowledge and Innovation (VESKI)
  • Dr Mary Lydon, immediate past Director of the Centre for Automotive Safety Research and former general manager of research at ARRB
  • Dr Gary Dolman, PSM, immediate past Head of Bureau, Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development
  • Praveen Reddy, Executive Director, Freight Victoria, Department of Transport
  • Awards Convenor: Dr Mike Shackleton, Chief Research Officer at ARRB 

The award winners are:

Lifetime Contribution Award

Winner: Lex Vanderstaay from the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads.

The adjudicators noted that as always, this was the hardest category to judge as all four nominees meet the criteria for the Lifetime Award. 

They selected Mr Vanderstaay on the basis of his dedication to excellence and innovation throughout his career of over 50 years. He has been responsible for many initiatives to improve the transport system and has also inspired others to continue to look for the next improvement.

Research Rising Star Award (joint winners)

Winners:

  • Dr Amy Killen of Monash University
  • Dr Negin Zhalehjoo of the Australian Road Research Board

The judges said that Dr Zhalehjoo stood out because of her ability and willingness to embrace both the rigour of scientific research and the adaptation required to use that research in practice.

They also felt that Dr Killen’s effort to tackle an issue that that many would regard as low-profile, but which causes millions of dollars in unnecessary expense, was in its own way revolutionary. This was designing the urban rail network to reduce vandalism.

Sustainable Transport Infrastructure Award

Winner: East Boundary Road Crumb Rubber Asphalt Demonstration Trial – ARRB, the Department of Transport Victoria, Tyre Stewardship Australia & the Australian Asphalt Pavement Association.

This involved the trial of different mixes of crumb rubber asphalt on a well-trafficked road in Melbourne’s south-east – East Boundary Road in Bentleigh. 

The judges felt that the crumb rubber demonstration asphalt trial is a perfect example of what can be achieved when a group of diverse organisations work together to challenge established methods. 

The results have the potential to produce major environmental and economic benefits and also encourage others to look for even more innovative solutions.

Research-Industry Partnership Award

Winner: Mobile Phone Detection Camera – Transport for NSW, technology providers.

Transport for NSW are the winners of this award because the Transport for NSW-led team did not let diverse legal, political and social barriers get in the way of trying to minimise the impact of a growing social and road safety problem – mobile phone use by drivers. 

The judges said they were also unafraid to contemplate and adopt significant technical innovations. The solution they have adopted has great potential for implementation in other jurisdictions. 

Local Government Innovation Award

Winner: Edge sealing of asphalt repairs – Gold Coast City Council.

This entry shows that innovation can be both simple and effective; the vital ingredient is just having a go, as Gold Coast Council have done. 

Whilst the improved method for edge sealing asphalt repairs will be largely invisible to the travelling public it will have significant benefits in improving the safety and comfort of travel, reducing costs and reducing the frequency of roadworks.

Guest speaker at the virtual awards presentation was Madeleine McManus OAM – the Director of Industry Engagement for the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of IT at Monash University. 

Other speakers included Michael Caltabiano, Chief Executive Officer, ARRB, and Neil Scales OBE, Deputy Chair of ARRB, and Director-General of Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads.

This is the second annual National Transport Research Awards hosted by ARRB, with hopes that the awards will return to a full-scale in-person event in 2021.

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