REAAA Newsletter 2021-01

113th and 114th Council Meetings and 16th REAAA Conference

The 113th and 114th REAAA Governing Council meetings were successfully held on-line on 27th November 2020 and 24th March 2021 respectively.

An important agenda item discussed at the two Council meetings was the 16th REAAA Conference and whether it would be held face-to-face (off-line), hybrid (on-line for international participants and off-line for national participants) or virtually (on-line). In consideration of the health and travel restrictions in the region, and following a request from the Philippines Chapter, the Governing Council decided that the Conference would be conducted virtually.

The 16th REAAA Conference will take place virtually on 10th to 15th September 2021. The YP meeting will be held on 10th September and the Business Forum will be held on 13th September 2021, and 115th and 116th Governing Council meetings and the 16th General Meeting will be held on 15th September 2021.

Message from the President

It has been more than four years since Bali, where I was elected the President of Road Engineering Association of Asia Australasia (REAAA) for the 16th term. Over this period, the Association has seen progress on many fronts while at the same time successfully overcome critical challenges in its endeavour to meet its vision and mission.

The 16th term faced a unique challenge that has never been encountered before. Since early 2020, the world has succumbed to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, I am thrilled to observe that our Association is very well adaptive to the pandemic situation. Since early 2020, the Association was conducting its activities online due to border and travel restrictions. Despite the new norms, the Association managed to organise ten (10) Council meetings (twice yearly), four (4) business forums, and seven (7) Young Engineers Professionals meetings. The Association had also organised two very successful webinars, one in November 2020 and another in January 2021. The theme for both webinars is “Scaling the Covid-19 Pandemic: Impacts on and initiatives by road and transport sector in your country”.

[Special Interview] New YP Members from Japan


Field Monitoring of Road Pavement Responses and Pavement Performance in Thailand

Recently, the impact of increasing, and overweight, truck traffic due to economic growth and climate change over the last decade on road and highway networks has been becoming a growing concern around the globe. A number of road pavements in Thailand have been deteriorating earlier than expected because of the continuing increase in traffic volume and traffic loads. The Department of Highways (DOH), Thailand, has adopted an empirical approach for the design of and rehabilitation of pavements based on the outcomes of the AASHO Road Test for decades. There was a need for a specific research initiative to assess the equivalent axle load factors of heavy vehicles used in Thailand and also the performance of DOH’s typical road pavements.

Zhongxiao East Road Pedestrian Environment Improvement Project:

Another Step Towards a More People-oriented, Resilient and Smart Taipei City

The Zhongxiao East Road Pedestrian Environment Improvement Project – completed at the end of 2020 – is part of Mayor Ko Wen-Je’s urban development vision of making Taipei a “livable and sustainable city of tomorrow”. The project, which extends from Section 1 to Section 3 of the road, has three main objectives: making the road and its pedestrian environment more people-oriented, creating a truly environmentally-friendly and resilient road, and equipping it with smart facilities. In the initial stage of the project, members of the City Council and the design team met with representatives of the surrounding communities, and held briefings to better understand the needs of the public.

Apart from enabling people and goods to move faster and safer through the city, roads can also have great cultural and symbolic significance. This is particularly the case with a thoroughfare such as Zhongxiao East Road, which connects Taipei’s east and west, as well as its past and future. As societal needs and global impacts change, the transport infrastructure must adapt to the new challenges. Through its road network improvements, Taipei has demonstrated its commitment to, and focus on, human-centricity, sustainability and smart applicability.

Future Transport and Mobility Environment

Transport and mobility management involves a combination of people, processes, systems, and technology. With significant changes occurring in technology and mobility services, there is an opportunity and need to capture the current paradigm and plan for the emerging future transport and mobility environment (FTME). In practice, new mobility refers to a range of existing and emerging transport modes, services and technologies that have potential to provide a compelling alternative to the motor vehicle. At its core, new mobility is about rebalancing the movement of both people and goods away from single occupancy, inefficient, fossil-fuel powered vehicles (Beard 2021).

The project undertook an investigation to explore and challenge traditional approaches to transport operations and mobility in the face of new technologies and communications, enabling greater integration of systems in the transport and mobility ecosystem.

The development of a clear understanding around the conceptual and functional areas of a future transport and mobility ecosystem also provides the opportunity to disseminate this knowledge to other areas outside of transport, for example, to areas such as aviation, defence, freight, Big Data, safety, research, and standards development.

Why Investigating and Gathering Information at the Scene of Road Crashes is Invaluable to Road Agencies – Why We Should be Doing More, Not Less!

While there is no mandatory requirement to investigate road crashes in Australia and many other countries, the authors believe that all severities of crashes deserve to be investigated. Only in this way can the enormous potential for learning and continual improvement in strategy, policy, designs, standards, guidelines, and practices be accrued across all of the elements of the Safe System. This leads to more positive outcomes than the more traditional focus on the conduct of investigations as part of criminal and/or civil proceedings (litigation), which tend to be solely to establish which party/ties was at fault.

A site investigation can still provide value by confirming long-standing items or features that may not have changed or helping to establish why changes have been made. Additionally, it is better to know what gaps in information are present and how a site has changed, such that any assumptions that do need to be made are reasonable and can be substantiated.

Establishing good practices in terms of learning from all incidents will ensure readiness in understanding the next generation of incidents, i.e. enabling road designers, network managers, road safety engineers, and maintenance practitioners to collect and analyse information as crash mechanisms and outcomes involving vulnerable road users, motorcycles and heavy vehicles evolve, and in future paradigms, e.g. where connected and autonomous vehicles (driverless vehicles) are involved.

Concrete Pavements: Challenging some Myths

Australia’s only engineering society for concrete pavements, the Australian Society for Concrete Pavements (ASCP), has released a number of key documents that challenge some long-standing myths about the value, performance, ride and sustainability of concrete pavements in heavy duty scenarios (e.g. highways and motorways). These ASCP Pavement Notes present findings which are each fully supported by extensive reference information.

It further highlights that improved surfacing techniques deliver a ride quality which meets or exceeds any other type of road pavement. Further commentary is made about the high production rates possible with this form of construction and lower labour intensity. Dispelling some of the myths around the apparent ‘high’ cost of concrete pavem ents, it concludes that concrete pavements are significantly lower in construction cost, maintenance cost and, consequently, whole-of-life cost than asphalt pavements, with the additional or enhanced benefits of ride quality, skid resistance, construction efficiency, labour reduction, durability, and more available in-service than asphalt pavements.

REAAA Updates

  • New TC Members from Korea
  • Pavement Technology Committee
  • Climate Change Committee
  • Road Safety Committee

[Special Interview] New TC Members from Korea

The REAAA Korean Chapter recently nominated eight new members of the three REAAA technical committees – Pavement Technology; Climate Change, Resilience & Emergency Management; and Road Safety. In order to gain a better understanding of TC activities, Mr Kieran Sharp, the TC Coordinator, and the Korean Chapter jointly organized an induction session with the chairs of the three committees on 28th April 2021. After their first experience with REAAA TC activities, the new members were asked to share their stories and expectations.

The Second Mino Best Project Award Winners are decided!

The REAAA Council endorsed winners of the 2nd Mino Best Project Award at its 114th meeting held on 24th March 2021 on Web.

Hwang Fund Award Update

The Hwang Fund Award Committee met on 12th November 2020 to select the very first winners of the Hwang Award 2021. From the four nominees, the Committee selected two winners: Tan Sri Dato’ Ir (Dr) Wan Abdul Rahman bin Wan Yaacob from Malaysia, and Mr Kieran Sharp from Australia. They are being recognised for their long and continuous service to the Association. The recommendation was endorsed at the 113th Governing Council meeting on 27th November 2020.

A trophy and prize money (US$ 5,000) will be given to the winners at the award ceremony, which will take place on 15th September 2021 during the closing ceremony of the 16th Conference.


IRF GRAA 2020 in Road Safety to Thailand’s Department of Rural Roads

The International Road Federation (IRF) has given Global Road Achievement Award (GRAA) 2020 in Road Safety category to Thailand’s Department of Rural Roads (DRR) for its consistent effort to enhance road safety.

Award for Dato’ Ir Haji Zulakmal

We are pleased to report that the Honorary Secretary-General of REAAA, Ir Haji Zulakmal, was conferred with the Darjah Setia Pangkuan Negeri (DSPN), which carries the title Dato’, by Yang diPertua Negeri, His Excellency Tun Dato’ Seri Utama (Dr) Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Abbas on the occasion of the state Investiture Ceremony 2020 to mark the 82nd birthday of Yang diPertua Negeri Pulau Pinang. The ceremony was held on 16th March 2021 at the Setia SPICE Convention Centre, Penang, Pulau Pinang.

What’s New?

Paving our Ways – a History of the World’s Roads and Pavements

Two Honorary Members of REAAA, Professor John Metcalf and Mr Kieran Sharp, have combined with Dr Maxwell Lay to write a book, “Paving our Ways – a History of the World’s Roads and Pavements”. It was published in England by CRC Press, the technical publishing arm of the international publishing house, Taylor and Francis, at the end of 2020. It provides a comprehensive international history of the world’s pavements, from the earliest human settlements to the present day.

REAAA Down Under: What’s happening in Austalia

The REAAA Australian Chapter commenced the year with the appointment of a new Chair taking over from the predecessor, Mr Kieran Sharp, who gave many years of valuable service chairing the Australian Chapter and looking after REAAA business.

The REAAA Australian Chapter going forward is looking to refocus its direction as there is a need for new ideas and approaches to attract membership and ramp up member activity. Its emphasis is also on collaboration and enhancing professional development and working out what members want.

Announcement for New Members

50% Discount on Entrance Fees for All Membership Categories in 2021

Membership Report

The membership of REAAA as at 26 February was 1,253. The REAAA Council and Chapters have approved the following 12 new members for the period between from 01 November 2020 to 26 February 2021.