Innovation is a strategic objective key to the department’s continuing success in identifying research and development opportunities that create value. TMR continually looks for technological innovations that offer the potential to deliver more cost-effective solutions for infrastructure and customers.
Design solutions that create value
TMR’s Innovation Council (the Council) meets every two months with the two clear drivers of building a culture of innovation in TMR and creating a forum for coordinated discussion of transformative technologies.
The Council is chaired by the Deputy Director-General, PPI as Innovation Champion for TMR, with membership comprising of 10 Senior Leadership Team executives from all divisions. The Council was repurposed during 2018–19 with revised terms of reference, expanded membership and a shift towards a more strategic focus. It also placed renewed emphasis on the discussion and evaluation of major innovations and new technologies and how they might impact TMR as an organisation (including regulatory, technical, policy, commercial, and operational functions) as well as Queensland’s transport system more broadly. Presentations to the Council during 2018–19 covered drones, electric vehicles, big data, next generation traffic systems and critical projects such as Customer Orientated Registration and Licensing and TransLink’s technology roadmap. The Innovation Council has proved to be a key mechanism to maximise connections across key players in a fast-moving environment.
Cooperative vehicle testing at Mount Cotton
Delivering higher levels of driver and pedestrian safety by having roads talking to cars, and cars talking to roads is in our near future.
The department took the next step towards that future with Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) technology demonstrations at the Mount Cotton Driver Training Facility in July 2018 for senior departmental staff and key project stakeholders.
The demonstrations showed how vehicles and roadside infrastructure can ‘talk’ to each other using cutting edge C-ITS technology to share safety related messages for drivers in real time.
Two real life scenarios were successfully carried out during the demonstrations, which were well received by the audience, including:
- giving the driver a warning if they are at risk of running a red light
- warning the driver that a pedestrian is crossing the road at lights ahead.
Following the successful demonstration, which showed how roadside and vehicle C-ITS stations can communicate with each other, TMR will include these two scenarios, along with four others, in the Ipswich Connected Vehicle Pilot, Australia’s largest trial of C-ITS technology which will commence from late-2019.
For more information on CAVI
Ipswich Connected Vehicle Pilot (L to R) Mike Stapleton, Andrew Wheeler, John Oppes, Dennis Walsh, Amanda Yeates, Neil Scales, Andrew Mahon, Tracy O’Bryan, Matt Longland, Ray Simpson.
Go everywhere connect online
Go Everywhere, Connect Online (GECO) is a mobile solution used by the department to digitally capture information on the go. GECO has been operating now for two financial years and has seen a steady growth across all forms. In 2018–19 there were 27 active forms being utilised which is half of all forms (54) available for data capture. There was an 18 per cent decrease in the number of mobile users. This has had no real impact on the number of forms completed, with a total of 16,881 for the 2018–19 financial year. GECO continues to see utilisation and growth over the old paper-based system, reducing or replacing paper forms. Some of the key forms completed in GECO includes:
- Safety interactions – Used to capture photos and discussions between a manager/supervisor/safety leader and a worker or group of workers about safety issues or behaviour.
- Safety inspection report – Used for site inspections, allowing users to add pictures identifying any hazards.
- Environmental inspection report – Used to record details on fortnightly/monthly project site inspections to adhere to environmental guidelines.
- Damage street light and traffic signals – Allows the user to geotag pictures to a specific location.
- Traffic signal operation check – Allows teams to identify, geotag and report on the condition of traffic signals.
- Street lighting LED replacement – Provides the project team and customer with images and geotag locations for street lights upgraded with LEDs.
- SMPC checklists for Culverts, Steel, Concrete and Timber Bridges.
- Verification of Competency (VoC) - Observations performed on authorised person.
GECO in action - collecting data real time to support the identification of TMR assets that may be asbestos containing material.
Currently there are a number of transformative technologies and changes in service delivery models that will shape the transport system of the future. We need to proactively drive their uptake for social and economic benefit.
In TMR, we define innovation as doing things differently and better to add value. As TMR’s Innovation Champion, I am focused on building a culture where staff feel supported to take calculated risks, to look for opportunities for collaborative partnerships both within the department and more broadly, and to showcase our successes and problems worth solving.
Julie Mitchell, Innovation Champion
Apply a repeatable and adaptable innovation process
Director-General Neil Scales launched his second DG’s innovation challenge ‘TMR Hack’ in 2019, building on the success and energy created by the inaugural TMR Hack two years ago.
TMR Hack is an innovation challenge open to all staff, who are invited to form cross-divisional teams and put forward ideas - big or small - that will make a positive difference to our customers. It encourages collaboration and uses the creativity and wisdom of our people to do things differently and better.
TMR Hack 19 posed the challenge question ‘How can TMR make active transport more accessible and appealing so that people use active transport more often?’. The challenge question was aligned to BikeHack19 to enable staff working on TMR Hack to take advantage of the workshops, mentors and subject matter experts at the weekend hackathon without registering as competitors.
Up to four TMR Hack teams will be selected to pitch to the Executive Leadership team in July 2019.
Bruce Highway Link Flood Study
The department has completed a flood study for the Bruce Highway (Brisbane to Cairns). This study quantifies for the first time the actual flood performance of the Bruce Highway by section including how often and how long each section is closed due to flooding.
This is achieved using an innovative hydrologic technique called ‘continuous simulation modelling’, which enables computer simulation of the Queensland climate over the last 100 years to estimate flood closures at every significant crossing along the Bruce Highway. The resulting delay times are fed into an economic model which enables the economic impact of flood closures to be estimated.
The final part of the study looked at what upgrades were necessary to achieve reduced delays and the indicative costs associated with upgrades were estimated. This economic assessment provided a recommended flood standard for future works. Simulation modelling tools will enable on-going assessment of flood performance as the highway is upgraded in stages.
Problems worth solving
TMR participated as exclusive collaboration partner in AECOM’s CityHack18, demonstrating the department’s commitment to working innovatively with industry to design for the future and meet our customers’ needs.
A total of 60 participants (30 from each organisation) hacked over two days in August to develop and pitch solutions to three TMR challenge questions:
- The future without herbicide for roadside vegetation control - looking toward a future where vegetation control is undertaken by safe, efficient, innovative technology practices that prevent the use of chemicals
- Predicting incidents and their impacts on the network - enabling TMR to predict when the crash risk profile along sections of the M1 between Brisbane and the Gold Coast will change based on the prevailing travel speed, volume and weather conditions
- Incentivising sharing of travel data - how can we encourage more active information driven behaviour, to get better transport outcomes for our customers? Can we incentivise more informed travel decisions through some form of gamification?
Each team comprised a mix of TMR and AECOM staff, with the department’s participants drawn from the graduate program cohort of the past three years as well as subject matter experts across a range of disciplines. The judging panel, made up of TMR and AECOM senior staff, heard pitches from all 10 teams and awarded an overall prize as well as four category prizes. TMR winners received their prizes as in-kind contribution to training and development opportunities.
Participants at AECOM’s CityHack18 being briefed in on how the hackathon works.
Innovation hack on growing bicycle riding
TMR hosted Queensland’s first ever bicycle riding hackathon in Brisbane in May 2019 to unearth new solutions that could make a big impact on growing bike riding in Queensland.
The event fulfilled an action in the Queensland Cycling Action Plan 2017–2019 to hold an innovation challenge seeking smart, innovative and low-cost solutions to grow cycling across Queensland.
From 79 participant registrations on Friday night, teams formed and evolved over the 3-day hackathon, with 13 groups presenting their pitches to a panel of four judges on the Sunday afternoon. The judges selected the winners of the overall prize, sponsored by Aurecon, and three challenge prizes sponsored by 99 Bikes and Deloitte, with individual prizes presented by Queensland University of Technology.
The winning pitches included both fun and innovative products as well as initiatives to get future bike riders connected and confident in jumping on a bike.
Participants at BikeHack19.
For more information on BikeHack19
Retina Vision (Proof of Concept)
RoadTek, the commercialised business unit of the department, has completed a trial of automated deffect logging technology to improve worker safety and increase the efficiency of normal operations. Working with Queensland-based tech start-up, ‘Retina Vision’ dash-mounted cameras were installed into the existing deffect logging vehicles in Brisbane. Video captured by the cameras was later analysed to identify deffects in the road surface, curb and channelling, line markings, signage, and barriers.
The technology captured detailed and accurate data that compared well to the data collected through traditional, manual processes. Collecting the data in this way significantly reduces the need for multiple deffect logging activities and allows data to be collected while driving at normal speeds, which has benefits for worker and road user safety as well as the efficiency of operations.
The department is now working on a roadmap for introducing the technology into normal operations.
Vehicle-mounted camera capturing any potential deffects on the road network as the vehicle drives by.