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Research Report

AP-R553-17

Current Practice and Developments in


Concept of Operations across Road Agencies
in Australia and New Zealand
Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and
New Zealand

Prepared by Publisher

Mark Rowland, Paul Carter, Alexa Delbosc, Geoff Rose Austroads Ltd.
Level 9, 287 Elizabeth Street
Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
Project Manager Phone: +61 2 8265 3300
austroads@austroads.com.au
Iain McAuley
www.austroads.com.au

Abstract About Austroads


Though network operations planning is growing, there is a perceived Austroads is the peak organisation of Australasian road
disconnect between those who work at the strategic end of the transport and traffic agencies.
process and those involved in the tactical or operational day-to-day
end. Austroads’ purpose is to support our member organisations to
deliver an improved Australasian road transport network. To
Roles and responsibilities are not always clear and defined, feedback succeed in this task, we undertake leading-edge road and
loops not always transparent, and stakeholders seem to have transport research which underpins our input to policy
relatively low visibility of what goes on at each end of the process development and published guidance on the design,
and the respective challenges faced by those people who operate construction and management of the road network and its
the road network. associated infrastructure.
A Concept of Operations (ConOps) document would bridge the gap Austroads provides a collective approach that delivers value
and provide a best practice resource for all those involved in network for money, encourages shared knowledge and drives
operations planning. consistency for road users.
These guidelines do not attempt to give detailed instructions on Austroads is governed by a Board consisting of senior
developing a ConOps, rather they set out several principles to be executive representatives from each of its eleven member
considered in developing a ConOps. organisations:
• Roads and Maritime Services New South Wales
• Roads Corporation Victoria
Keywords • Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads
• Main Roads Western Australia
Network operations planning, SmartRoads, Concept of Operations,
road operations, transport planning, stakeholder engagement. • Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure
South Australia
• Department of State Growth Tasmania
• Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics
ISBN 978-1-925671-13-1
Northern Territory
Austroads Project No. NEG2079 • Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate,
Australian Capital Territory
Austroads Publication No. AP-R553-17
• Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and
Publication date October 2017 Regional Development
Pages 50 • Australian Local Government Association
• New Zealand Transport Agency.

© Austroads 2017
This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the
Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process
without the prior written permission of Austroads.

This report has been prepared for Austroads as part of its work to promote improved Australian and New Zealand transport outcomes by
providing expert technical input on road and road transport issues.
Individual road agencies will determine their response to this report following consideration of their legislative or administrative
arrangements, available funding, as well as local circumstances and priorities.
Austroads believes this publication to be correct at the time of printing and does not accept responsibility for any consequences arising from
the use of information herein. Readers should rely on their own skill and judgement to apply information to particular issues.
Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

Summary
Network operations planning is a fundamental reason why road authorities exist. Having well planned and
implemented processes in place to operate the road network is a priority for government.

Network operations planning has come a long way in a relatively short time and is now an integral part of
operating the road network in many jurisdictions. As confidence has grown in the process, several cities
throughout Australia and New Zealand are using it to assess network changes and understand the benefits
from proposed investments.

Though network operations planning is growing, there is a perceived disconnect between those who work at
the strategic end of the process and those involved in the tactical or operational day-to-day end. Roles and
responsibilities are not always clear and defined, feedback loops not always transparent, and stakeholders
seem to have relatively low visibility of what goes on at each end of the process and the respective
challenges faced by those people who operate the road network. A Concept of Operations (ConOps)
document would bridge the gap and provide a best practice resource for all those involved in network
operations planning.

The ConOps document describes, in easily understood language, the characteristics of each part of the
network operations planning process from the perspective of those people involved. It considers the key
stakeholders associated with the road system including those who operate, use, influence, or are affected by it.

These guidelines do not attempt to give detailed instructions on developing a ConOps, rather they set out
several principles to be considered in developing a ConOps. The ConOps document should be concise, to
the point and easily referenced otherwise it is un-likely to gain buy-in. For each jurisdiction, they may choose
to elect to have only one ConOps or alternatively have several, this needs be determined through a proper
and robust governance structure.

These guidelines have been developed in two sections and an appendix:


• Section 1 – What is a Concept of Operations: sets out the high level intension of the ConOps for
network operations planning and how it is a key enabler for translating key transport policy and guidance
into the network operations planning process;
• Section 2 – Developing a Concept of Operations: outlines and describes the principles that should be
considered in developing a ConOps.
• Appendix – Network Operations Planning in Australasia: outlines the status of network operations
planning in New Zealand and Australia

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

Contents
Summary ......................................................................................................................................................... i
1. What is a Concept of Operations? ....................................................................................................... 1
1.1 Purpose ............................................................................................................................................ 1
1.2 Context ............................................................................................................................................. 2
1.3 Concept of Operations - Possible Examples.................................................................................... 3
1.3.1 Auckland: ............................................................................................................................. 4
1.3.2 Victoria, Australia................................................................................................................. 5
1.4 Network Operations Planning .......................................................................................................... 5
1.4.1 Context ................................................................................................................................ 5
1.4.2 What is the Status of Network Operations Planning ........................................................... 7
2. Developing a Concept of Operations ................................................................................................... 8
2.1 Concept of Operations – Principles Summary ................................................................................. 8
2.2 Governance .................................................................................................................................... 10
2.2.1 Benefits of Good Governance ........................................................................................... 11
2.2.2 Current Examples of Governance ..................................................................................... 11
2.2.3 Establishing a Governance Structure ................................................................................ 12
2.2.4 Governance Summary ...................................................................................................... 14
2.3 Stakeholder Engagement ............................................................................................................... 14
2.3.1 The Stakeholders .............................................................................................................. 16
2.3.2 Ownership ......................................................................................................................... 16
2.3.3 Maintenance ...................................................................................................................... 16
2.3.4 Engagement approach ...................................................................................................... 16
2.3.5 Participation Spectrum ...................................................................................................... 17
2.3.6 Ongoing considerations ..................................................................................................... 18
2.3.7 Stakeholder Engagement Conclusion ............................................................................... 18
2.4 Accountability, Roles and Responsibilities ..................................................................................... 19
2.4.1 Accountability, Roles and Responsibilities – Program and Project Managers ................. 20
2.5 Defining Success and Measuring Performance ............................................................................. 21
2.6 The Customer (Road System User) ............................................................................................... 23
2.6.1 ConOps – Road Users (Customers) ................................................................................. 23
2.6.2 Customer Information ........................................................................................................ 26
2.6.3 Level of Service – Network Operation Planning ................................................................ 26
2.6.4 The Customer (Road System User) in the Centre ............................................................ 27
2.7 Integrated Transport, Land-use and Road Safety Planning........................................................... 27
2.7.1 Guide to Traffic Management Part 4: Network Management ............................................ 28
2.7.2 Safe System in the Planning Process ............................................................................... 29
2.7.3 Assessment of Key Road Operator Actions to Support Automated Vehicles ................... 29
2.8 Integrated Management of the Transport System ......................................................................... 29
2.8.1 Core Linkages ................................................................................................................... 29
2.9 Enablers - People, Guidelines, Tools and Technology .................................................................. 30
3. Conclusion............................................................................................................................................ 32
References ................................................................................................................................................... 33
Appendix A Network Operations Planning in Australasia ................................................................ 37

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

Tables

Table 2.1: Concept of Operations - Principles Summary .......................................................................... 9


Table 2.2: Concept of Operations – Principles ....................................................................................... 17

Figures

Figure 1.1: Where a Concept of Operations fits within Network Operations Planning .............................. 2
Figure 1.2: High Level Linkages with the Concept of Operations .............................................................. 3
Figure 1.3: ConOps example for Auckland, NZ.......................................................................................... 4
Figure 1.4: ConOps example for the State of Victoria, Australia................................................................ 5
Figure 1.5: Network Operations Planning Framework ............................................................................... 6
Figure 2.1: Governance ............................................................................................................................ 10
Figure 2.2: Plan Melbourne Regions ........................................................................................................ 14
Figure 2.3: Stakeholder Engagement Conceptual Approach ................................................................... 15
Figure 2.4: IAP2 Public Participation Spectrum ....................................................................................... 18
Figure 2.5: Key roles within the network operations planning process .................................................... 20
Figure 2.6: Benefits Hierarchy .................................................................................................................. 21
Figure 2.7: Benefits Management Framework ......................................................................................... 22
Figure 2.8: TfNSW Road Planning Framework Excerpts ......................................................................... 24
Figure 2.9: TfNSW Road Planning Framework Excerpts ......................................................................... 25
Figure 2.10: Transport for Main Roads - Customer Value Proposition ...................................................... 26
Figure 2.11: Putting the customer at the centre of network operations planning ....................................... 27
Figure 2.12: Movement and Place objective examples ............................................................................. 28
Figure 2.13: Linking Across Government ................................................................................................... 30
Figure 2.14: Enablers ................................................................................................................................. 31

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

1. What is a Concept of Operations?


The Concept of Operations (ConOps) document describes, in easily understood language, the
characteristics of each part of the network operations planning process from the perspective of those people
involved.

A ConOps considers the key stakeholders associated with the road network including those who operate,
use, influence, or are affected by it.

The operators are the staff and suppliers of the relevant authorities and jurisdictions, as well as many key
stakeholders – such as the emergency services, public transit operators and anyone else who helps keep it
functioning. The user of the system is the road user also known as ‘the Customer’. Those who wish to
influence the system include external stakeholders, for example those involved in land-use planning.

The following terminology has been used in these guidelines:


• The road network is what the customer sees and interacts with when undertaking their journey.
• The road system encompasses the people and processes that plan, design, operate and maintain the
network.

1.1 Purpose
The ConOps brings all relevant stakeholders together to set the aspirational vision of the road system, agree
on guiding principles, and establish a roadmap to classifying and operating the road network. It is used to
gain stakeholders agreement and understanding as well as to clarify their respective roles. The ConOps
exists to ensure all modes of transport are recognised for their unique attributes and the contribution they
provide through moving people and goods, and to ensure these modes operate in a complimentary fashion
as far as practicable.

The ConOps sets the aspirational intent and the footing for the key building blocks of the road system’s
operation. It provides a single, holistic view, defining operational philosophies and principles, objectives and
performance requirements. The vision should be a source of inspiration and guidance, representing a
common strategy for the jurisdiction, road users and service providers.

The process in developing the ConOps gives the coordinating jurisdictions and stakeholders a shared
platform to describe their proposed method of operation and desired experience from the viewpoint of their
customers. Ultimately, through this process a unified methodology should drive action for all stakeholders,
acting as a benchmark for people involved in the operation of the road network.

The ConOps is a catalyst to identify what steps, engagement and investment will be necessary to turn
operational concepts and strategic intent from paper to reality. The process highlights – at the outset – the
key questions and issues that need to be overcome and the next steps required to develop the concepts
further. The challenges, constraints and next steps should be included as part of a research, development
and implementation roadmap for the next phase of operational planning. It can be a springboard for further
exploration of ideas and to exploit the continued emergence of new technologies and innovations.

All senior stakeholders need to come together to encourage a customer-led approach, challenge old ways of
thinking and avoid organisational silos. There is a need for all people involved in operating the road network
to work in close collaboration, facilitate open workshops and carry out intensive stakeholder interviews to
generate the mix of principles, standards and ideas, and be cognisant of all strategies associated with the
road network.

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

Setting a formal structure and method to the process is critical. This ensures the management and working
groups are in place, demanding a high level of participation and commitment from key decision makers and
operational experts. It provides the forum to set the agenda, make key decisions and build engagement
across the management teams.

1.2 Context

Figure 1.1 illustrates a high level approach for where a ConOps


for Network Operations would fit within the planning, design,
operation and maintenance of a road network. It is acknowledged
that the development of a ConOps for each jurisdiction could look
quite different due to the different roles each jurisdiction may
need to perform. For this reason, the second part of the
guidelines has been developed to set out principles that one
would consider in the development of a ConOps rather than
prescribing a detailed methodology for pulling a document
together.

Further discussion and context of the ConOps role within the


Network Operations Planning framework is provided under
heading 1.4 Network Operations Planning.

Figure 1.2 highlights the key linkages the ConOps has within the
road system, this will be explored and explained in the second
part of these guidelines. What is important to recognise from the
Figure 1.2 is that the ConOps cannot be developed in isolation it
needs to consider other parts of the road system and has a
number of interdependencies to ensure the process is
successful.

It shows that the ConOps for network operations planning is a


document that delivers on the outcomes sought by government.
These outcomes are set through the documents identified at the
top of the process.

Importantly, it may not carry the name ConOps at all, for


example, the Transport for NSW (TfNSW) Road Network
Planning Framework (TfNSW 2016) covers several aspects of a
ConOps. The same situation applies to Victoria where the
SmartRoads framework (VicRoads 2014) covers a number of key
aspects of the ConOps. Therefore, for some jurisdictions it may
be more prudent to develop an accompanying document/process
that encapsulates the remaining principles. It is highlighted that
both of the frameworks above are very large documents that Figure 1.1: Where a Concept of Operations
cover a lot of ground, it may be of benefit to develop a concise fits within Network Operations
ConOps that can be easily read and understood by all people Planning
involved in Network Operations Planning.

Before developing a ConOps, it is recommended that jurisdictions take time to map out organisational
structures and linkages between decision making processes as well as operational processes. This will help
shine a light on silos and possible gaps and help ensure the road system is being coordinated as part of one
transport system.

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

Given that, the intent of the ConOps is to develop a unified vision for one road network it is strongly
recommended that the development of the ConOps be driven by the transport authority who can take a
holistic approach to transport planning. It would therefore likely “live” within a public body at either a national
or state/regional level, but mandated to include all organisations who make up and input into the road
network as a whole.

Figure 1.2: High Level Linkages with the Concept of Operations

Note: Explored in the second part of these guidelines.

1.3 Concept of Operations - Possible Examples


The following paragraphs and associated figures have been developed to highlight from a practical
application how a ConOps could sit within the following two jurisdictions: Auckland, NZ and the State of
Victoria, Australia. As discussed above what becomes apparent is the vast differences in how the transport
system is coordinated, therefore the role and application of the ConOps will be quite different. In some
jurisdictions, it may be a high level document no more than 20 pages, while in others it could be very
detailed. All jurisdictions should expect the political landscape to change over time, however what the
examples show below is the ConOps if flexible enough has a place within any well planned and operated
road system.

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

1.3.1 Auckland:

Figure 1.3 below highlights where the ConOps could sit in regards to the operation of the road network for
Auckland. The ConOps brings the two road authorities together to ensure that the operation of the road
network is grounded on a joined up one-network partnership approach between NZTA and Auckland
Transport. An important aspect for Auckland is the ConOps would have input from various sources including
stakeholders and the end user of the document, to gain buy-in into the process.

Figure 1.3: ConOps example for Auckland, NZ

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

1.3.2 Victoria, Australia

Figure 1.4 below highlights where the ConOps could sit in regards to the operation of the road network for
the state of Victoria. Of particular note is the position of Local Government with Public Transport Victoria
(PTV) and VicRoads. As the State road authority they are an integral part of developing a ConOps for
Victoria. In comparison to Auckland the ConOps is likely to be a higher level document in which the three key
transport implement. VicRoads would still be responsible for developing Network Operations Plans, however
strategic planning frameworks like Movement and Place would sit with Transport for Victoria, as these
frameworks go beyond the state arterial road network. In the structure below the transport authorities have
direct day to day contact with customers and key stakeholders, while Transport for Victoria would seek input
and consultation on key documents like the ConOps.

Figure 1.4: ConOps example for the State of Victoria, Australia

1.4 Network Operations Planning

1.4.1 Context

In 2009, Austroads released a research paper (Austroads 2009) setting out the Network Operations Planning
framework. The purpose of the report was to develop a high level reference document as a Framework to
assist Network Operations Planning. The framework was developed to assist network managers to monitor
the performance of road networks, identify gaps in performance and service delivery, and determine which
measures may best address those gaps most efficiently against the needs of a broad range of road users.
Since this document was released other papers and guides has been released as Network Operations
Planning evolves. The most recent of these is the Guide to Traffic Management Part 4: Network
Management, (Austroads 2016a) which introduces the concept of Movement and Place to network
management. This guide is part of the evolution of Network Operations Planning.

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

Figure 1.5 on the next page illustrates the Network Operations Planning Framework set out within the 2009
research report (Austroads 2009). The framework is still relevant in creating, implementing and monitoring
Network Operation Plans (NOPs). The first two tasks in the framework have been highlighted in an orange
box to indicate areas where the development of a ConOps would assist jurisdictions in applying the Network
Operations Planning Framework. There is a substantial amount of work that needs to take place between
steps 1 and 2 i.e. going from high level government policy through to allocating out a detailed road use
hierarchy, developing user requirements and generating future infrastructure plans. As such, it is easy for
people involved in operating the road network to lose the line of sight between government policy and day to
day road network changes. The ConOps helps bridge that gap and create a clear light of sight right across
the Network Operations Planning process from broad government outcomes to specific operational changes.

Figure 1.5: Network Operations Planning Framework

The development of a ConOps


would significantly help in applying
the first steps of the framework

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

1.4.2 What is the Status of Network Operations Planning

As a part of developing this report a review of network operations planning was undertaken. The intension of
undertaking this review, summarised below and presented in Appendix A, was to provide background to the
reader on the outcomes of translating COPs into a Network Operations Plan (NOP).

While development of NOPs is progressing across much of Australasia, there are particular states and
regions that are utilising the approach much more than others. Additionally, there is some discrepancy in
what the different agencies involved in developing the NOPs include within them; some of the plans are
much more comprehensive and broadly applicable than others. As seen with the SmartRoads guidelines
from VicRoads, and the Dutch National Traffic Management Architecture from the Netherlands, the
development of a standard set of guidelines and model for analysis that can be shared across multiple
agencies helps to address this issue. The existing resources available from Austroads provide a key
standard for the development of NOPs in Australasian jurisdictions which is generally in line with approaches
adopted internationally.

The research undertaken in the preparation of these guidelines has highlighted the relatively small number of
specific NOPs at the tactical and operation level that have been published publicly in Australasia. While there
are already four Network Operating Frameworks at the strategic level in various states of Australia and two in
New Zealand, only 12 operational-level NOPs were identified in the review. Given that the original Austroads
framework for NOPs was published in 2009 (Austroads 2009), a wider adoption of NOPs might have been
expected by now.

From cities outside of Australasia it can be seen that coordination between various road network operating
authorities is a key component of using NOPs. The development of NOPs in Australasia currently appears to
have mixed levels of agency involvement, in particular from local government, ranging from a NOPs that are
co-authored by local, state and federal government agencies through to NOPs that have documented only
limited involvement of local government as part of the consultation processes.

Finally, the incorporation of the Movement and Place concepts into road management is trending across
Australasia and Europe. The integration of these concepts could strengthen NOPs by explicitly
acknowledging the important role that ‘place’ or amenity plays in the road network. Yet the Movement and
Place concept does not yet appear to have fully matured as a practical tool for road management. However,
when taken together the recently published Guide to Movement and Place Framework from VicRoads
(VicRoads 2016) and the updated SmartRoads Guidelines (VicRoads 2014) provide indications of how NOP
and Movement and Place concepts might be fully integrated in the future.

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

2. Developing a Concept of Operations


In this section, recommendations and guidance are provided for planning and preparing a ConOps for the
road system. This is intended to inform transport authorities and practitioners of the overall elements that
need to be incorporated when developing a ConOps for the road system. ConOps documents can be
developed in various different ways, but they usually share the same properties:
• Statement of the objectives of the road system;
• Strategies, tactics, policies, and constraints affecting the road system;
• Organisations, activities, and interactions among participants and stakeholders;
• Clear statement of responsibilities;
• Operational environment of the road system; and
• Processes for initiating, developing, and maintaining the road system.

The ConOps should create a narrative of the processes that are followed and considered in operating the
road system. It needs to define the role of stakeholders and offer a clear methodology to realise the
objectives for the road system, while not intending to be an implementation plan itself. When properly
developed, a ConOps for network operations planning will provide a clear definition of the responsibilities
within the road system for operating the road network and provide the objectives that the NOPs should aim
to achieve.

This section of the guidelines now presents a series of principles that have been developed to assist with the
planning and preparation of a ConOps for network operations planning. They build upon the common
properties listed above and presented elsewhere within the guide.

Please note: Each jurisdiction may not have a document specifically called: ‘ConOps for network operations
planning’ but instead the principles are incorporated throughout other strategies and guidelines – whatever
the arrangement it is important that processes are in place that fulfil the role.

2.1 Concept of Operations – Principles Summary


Table 2.1 provides a summary the principles that should be used to guide the development of a ConOps for
network operations planning. The remainder of the section goes onto to elaborate on each of the principles.

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

Table 2.1: Concept of Operations - Principles Summary

Principles Description
Governance Good governance structures, escalation and accountabilities need to be in place to ensure
there is oversight and a clear line of sight from the Head of the Transport Authority through to
the people who are operating the transport system on a day-to-day basis.
Stakeholder The ConOps needs to acknowledge the stakeholders who are involved with the road system.
engagement Gaining stakeholder input as early as possible is vital to the development of a ConOps.
Establishing a transparent communication structure with stakeholders both internal and
external is important. The relationship with stakeholders needs to continue from the ConOps
through to the implementation and evaluation of network operations plans.
An important aspect of stakeholder engagement is to maintain realism for road operations. A
considerable pitfall for strategic planning can be to focus too much on a top down approach.
Then when it comes time to implement the changes there is too much disconnect between the
strategic plans and the day-to-day operational needs. This can lead to adhoc reactive
decisions being made. For this reason, a ConOps must be developed equally from the bottom-
up to ensure it encapsulates the operational needs of the road system, this can only be
achieved by robust and transparent stakeholder engagement.
Accountability, Following on from governance and stakeholder engagement it will be important to establish
Roles and roles and responsibilities across the jurisdiction, within the ConOps. This should require that
Responsibilities processes be established for people to follow in the performance of their duties, including
interactions between staff and external organisations. The ConOps needs to clearly outline the
line of sight across authorities, departments and agencies – while not documenting every
person’s name and job responsibility it should clearly highlight key people and business areas,
and the reader should understand how they fit into the operation of the road system. Doing this
alongside good governance will ensure accountability throughout the road system.
The Customer (road Though the ConOps is developed from the perspective of those who are involved in planning
user) and operating the road system, the outcomes for the end users need to be thoroughly
considered and reflected throughout the document.
Integrated It is important to recognise that network operations planning is as much about land use
Transport, Land-use planning as it is about transport. This recognition is vital in breaking down the traditional silos
and Road Safety between the two areas and achieving an integrated planning outcome. This point is clearly
Planning articulated in Austroads Guide to Traffic Management Part 4: Network Management
In regards to road safety the Austroads guidance for the Safe Systems Approach in network
operations planning, puts forward guidance on integrating safety considerations and
operational improvements. Any ConOps needs to give careful consideration to road safety.
Integrated Network operations planning is generally concerned with the productivity and efficiency of the
Management of the existing road network, however network operations planning has a central role to play in
Transport System informing where increased supply is needed (new investments) and a key tool in the
management of demand on the road system.
Therefore, when referring to the line of sight for network operations planning it is important to
think about it vertically (strategic to tactical/operational) as well as horizontally across
government.
ConOps documents traditionally focus on detailing the ‘system’ from an operational
perspective. The ConOps for network operations planning provides an opportunity to illustrate
the operational environment, functions and overall architecture of the road system from a
simplified perspective.
Enablers - People, Potentially the most important point is the commitment required to develop the enablers of
Guidance, Tools network operations planning. Without the enablers, the process will never get beyond the
and Technology theory. The ConOps should state the commitment to the process to achieve the desired
outcomes. The most important of these are people from resourcing through to skills
development. Guidance and tools reflect on Austroads guidance and road network solutions for
network operations planning. The better integration of NOPs with technology the higher the
success rate of implementing the plans.
Defining Success To deliver on the vision, a successful ConOps will be reliant on a defined benefits realisation
and Measuring framework. Having the framework established enables a consistent approach to identifying,
Performance monitoring and evaluating the success of the investment in network operations planning. Like
the ConOps it provides a ‘line of sight’ from investment-level indicators to the benefits and
outcomes that the transport authority and ultimately government aims to achieve. Alongside
the overall ConOps outcomes and key performance indicators (KPIs), each NOP should set
out clear success criteria and measurements for use in developing, implementing, monitoring
and evaluating the plan.

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

2.2 Governance
Research undertaken in the preparation of this guideline indicated that network operations planning has the
most success where a government body with strategic oversight of the road network has established good
governance and taken a central and coordinating role. Network operations planning has the least success
where there is little or no buy-in across an organisation, across other transport agencies and/or across levels
of government.

Having good governance processes in place provides the strategic oversight to ensure the success of
network operations planning. It may not be visible to the average person, but its absence is usually apparent
when the task of network operations planning fails to reach its potential. Good governance will give a
jurisdiction the best chance to break down silos between organisations and business areas, and manage the
road system as part of one transport system.

Improved governance also provides a greater opportunity for whole-of-government support for network
operations planning, which provides crucial protection for longer-term planning against the ever-changing
sensitivities and requirements of the politics of the day.

It is beyond this guideline to provide specific guidance on setting up governance structures for network
operations planning. This is due to vastly different transport governing structures for each jurisdiction. That
said the following section provides key considerations in setting up the appropriate governance structures.

With network operations planning being a key function as to why a transport/road authority exists strong
consideration needs to be given to how senior industry and organisational leaders play a role in the
governance process. Figure 2.1 below conceptually highlights that governance goes from the top to the
bottom of the process, and in doing so creates a clear line of sight.

Figure 2.1: Governance

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

2.2.1 Benefits of Good Governance

The benefits of providing good governance for network operations planning include:
• Customers (road users) are more likely to have confidence in transport authorities if decisions are made
in a transparent and accountable way. This helps people feel that they will act in the community’s overall
interest, regardless of differing points of view. It also encourages practitioners to remember that they are
acting on behalf of their community and helps them to understand the importance of having an open and
robust planning framework.
• Politicians and senior bureaucrats will be more confident that they are across the road network
operational issues, that they can trust the advice they are given, and that the view of government will be
respected even if everyone does not agree with them. Government officers will feel more confident in
providing frank and fearless advice which is acknowledged and respected by senior industry and political
leaders.
• Decisions that are informed by good information and data, by stakeholder views, and by open and honest
debate will generally reflect the broad interests of the community. Key stakeholders and the community
are more likely to accept the outcomes of network operations planning if the process has been inclusive,
even if they do not necessarily agree with how roads are prioritised. Successfully implementing this
approach will likely mean that issues or misunderstanding leading to complaints and/or key operational
decisions from been stopped will be addressed before they become ‘road blocks' to a project. As a result,
even the decisions that seem the most difficult and controversial are more likely to remain in place.
• If decision-making is open and able to be followed by stakeholders, it is more likely that local
governments will support and implement network operations planning for their road network. They will
also be less likely to make decisions detrimental to the network operations plan.

2.2.2 Current Examples of Governance

New Zealand

Network operations planning in New Zealand has had the benefit of each jurisdiction having regular contact
with the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA). NZTA has played a central coordinating role to encourage
consistency and application of their ‘Network Operating Framework’, which is largely based on the VicRoads
- SmartRoads Framework. This has enabled several cities/regions around New Zealand to develop well
defined network operations plans, and in some cases network investment plans. The NZTA’s central
coordinating role has enabled a good degree of transparency although formal governance frameworks as
such are not in place.

Western Australia

Western Australia regularly reports (monthly) to senior management and tracks performance of the road
network against the network operations plan. A dedicated permanent person(s) is appointed to oversee the
network operations planning and day-to-day management for each of the key movement corridor across
Perth. This has created a sense of ownership over problems and operating gaps on the road network. This
has been seen as a very positive outcome from the perspective of key stakeholders as they now have one
‘go to’ person to talk to regarding the performance of the corridor. Though the role is primarily focused on
reducing travel time delays to general traffic, this structure comes the closest to formally allocating ownership
and responsibility for the ongoing performance of key movement corridors and sub-networks.

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

Other Jurisdictions

In a majority of jurisdictions, there are defined roles for real-time road management, such as in traffic
management centres, however there are limited dedicated roles to proactive management of designated
corridors. In a number of jurisdictions, it is considered that multiple people are responsible for delivering the
plan, and a single dedicated person is not required. However, clearer governance and roles contribute to the
most effective implementation of network operation planning.

2.2.3 Establishing a Governance Structure

In undertaking research for this report it became evident that across Australasia, there was little evidence of
a governance structure to provide oversight of network operation planning for each jurisdiction. Given that
the role of road authorities is to operate the road network in the most efficient, effective and safe manner, it
appears that the lack of regular reporting on network operation planning and performance to organisational
leadership and the broader community is a significant gap.

In developing the governance structure, it is worth asking:


• ‘Do internal and external stakeholders know who to contact to understand quickly how a particular
corridor has performed over the past month?’;
• ‘Who is tracking the current performance of the road network against the network operations plan?’
• ‘How regularly is the performance reported to senior management and key stakeholders?’

Discussed below is an outline of a governance structure that would provide oversight and direction for the
network operations planning process. While this is expected to vary by jurisdiction it is imperative that the
structure that is developed provides effective guidance, decision making and program management controls
for network operations planning.

Key governance groups should incorporate the following functions:

Program Board – provides strategic direction and decision making for network operations planning and
implementation. It would comprise senior representatives from key transport agencies and in some
circumstances may include key stakeholders from outside the transport portfolio and/or representative(s)
from the office of relevant political leadership. The Program Board should include the relevant person with
the decision-making authority to approve funding, approach, and delivery of the network operation planning
process.

This group would ‘own’ the ConOps document and be primarily concerned with the delivery of the outcomes
and principles outlined in the ConOps. This board should be established to review the ConOps and provide
strategic direction before recommending sign-off from either the Chief Executive or Ministers office. If
governance structures and committees are already in place that can play this role it may not be necessary to
set-up an exclusive ConOps Program Board. It would be expected this group would review the ConOps on
an annual basis and potentially have progress updates every quarter.

Steering Committee – provides technical endorsement and guidance to the program of work, and linkages
to other jurisdiction projects and initiatives that interact with network operations planning. It should comprise
of people that provide good insight into the workings of the transport portfolio and be in a position to give
technical input and direction. The Steering Committee could include representatives from the relevant
jurisdictions or independent experts.

This committee would take responsibility for the delivery of the ConOps and undertake monthly reviews of
progress. This should cover ongoing management of:
• Milestone delivery,
• Network Operation Plan development implementation progress,
• Integration of workstreams (discussed below),

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• Integration with relevant parts of the transport portfolio,


• Statutory and regulatory requirements,
• Issues management,
• Change management, and
• Cost and resource allocation.

It is important to have the right cohort of people on the steering committee, as this group would provide final
sign-off for NOPs and provide direction on ‘tricky’ issues that are encountered throughout the network
operations planning process. It is common for practitioners to feel they cannot actually implement the plan
due to the ‘political’ implications. Having a steering committee in place to hear and provide direction along
the development of a NOP will significantly increase the chances of the plan being successful implemented.

Lastly, the Steering Committee would sign-off on the updates to the Program Board and provide
recommendations for the annual review of the ConOps.

Industry and Network Reference Group – Consideration should be given to setting up an ‘Industry and
Network Reference Group’ which would provide a forum to engage, consult, share knowledge, and seek
guidance and direction from people and groups who have strong interest in the transport industry. Industry
and Network Reference Group would likely liaise with both the Steering Committee and/or Workstream
groups.

The group should comprise a large number of industry and government stakeholders across a wide range of
relevant domains. This group should be engaged to provide feedback on the development of the ConOps. It
is noted that this group is different from engaging key stakeholders in the development of NOPs. However,
there may be circumstances where NOPs are developed and presented to this group to inform them of the
outcomes.

Workstream groups - A workstream provides a distinct grouping of responsibility and tasks aligned to the
overall objectives of network operations planning. Establishing a clear workstream structure from the start of
the planning process will support open communication, timely and informed decision making and
governance. Each workstream will require a workstream lead; a single person may work across multiple
workstreams. The workstream is about coordinating the specific work tasks not actually undertaking the work
itself.

Workstream groups are the least defined area of network operations planning, however this is not due to the
lack of knowledge rather this is because of large organisational differences in each jurisdictions. It will be up
to the steering committee to sign-off on the need for each workstream. The Workstream group would likely
need to provide or coordinate relevant reporting and communications that would be fed back to the Steering
Committee and Program Board.

It is highlighted that a workstream may need to be set-up for the development of the ConOps and the
disbanded or their maybe merit in maintain the stream post sign-off by the program board and steering
committee.

It is recommended that the workstreams should be based on the Network Operations Planning framework,
outlined in Figure 1.5. However, for each jurisdiction developing workstreams will need to be done on a case
by case situation to enable the right people to be focused on the right things.

Figure 2.2 shows the Metropolitan Partnership Boundaries from Plan Melbourne (DELWP 2016), this type of
strategic planning document could provide the basis for establishing NOPs and the associated workstreams.

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Figure 2.2: Plan Melbourne Regions

Source: Plan Melbourne (DELWP 2016)

2.2.4 Governance Summary

Poor governance can be like vertigo: from the outside the organisation / business area seems to be fine,
however people will quickly notice the inability to balance and go in a coordinated direction. Network
operations planning has a much higher chance of success where a ConOps and a good governance
structure is in place to facilitate decisions and management.

2.3 Stakeholder Engagement


The ConOps should highlight the importance of stakeholder involvement in the network operations planning
process and document the stakeholders involved. This section provides high level guidance to the people
involved in Stakeholder Engagement and Communications in their planning, management and recording of
stakeholder engagement. The process will require engagement with internal stakeholders and external
stakeholders. The stakeholder engagement plan is to be used for planning, management and recording of
stakeholder engagement. This includes community engagement.

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The purpose of the plan is to provide a structured approach by which:


• Stakeholders are identified and classified based on their relationship to, and degree of influence over the
process (who and why); and
• A strategy is prepared, implemented and reviewed with activities to engage with each of the stakeholder
categories (what, how and when).

The objective of the stakeholder engagement plan is to provide a planned, consistent and collaborative
approach to stakeholder engagement.

An important aspect of stakeholder engagement is to maintain realism for road operations. A considerable
pitfall for strategic planning can be to focus too much on a top-down approach. Then when it comes time to
implement the changes there is too much disconnect between the strategic plans and the day-to-day
operational needs, as a result adhoc reactive decisions are made over and over again. For this reason, a
ConOps must be developed equally from the bottom-up to ensure it encapsulates the operational needs of
the road system. This can only be achieved by robust and transparent stakeholder engagement.

Figure 2.3 highlights that stakeholder engagement is not a once off ‘tick the box exercise’ but is integral part
of the planning and operation of the road network, from strategic planning through to operational
implementation. Stakeholder engagement goes hand in hand with good governance, resulting in a
transparent outcome.

Figure 2.3: Stakeholder Engagement Conceptual Approach

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

2.3.1 The Stakeholders

The road system looks quite different across the various jurisdictions, particularly in respect of their
overarching governance and regulatory structures. There are however, common attributes and stakeholders
of the systems, these typically include:
• National laws, polices and regulations and associated governing bodies, such as the Ministry of Transport
and Department of Infrastructure;
• National road authorities and agencies and their relevant policies and plans, such as the New Zealand
Transport Agency;
• State and/or local laws, policies, regulations, plans and associated governing bodies such as Local
Councils (land use zoning and strategic development, public space, parks, pedestrian plazas), State or
Local Transport Authorities;
• Private road operators (often for toll-roads), such as Transurban;
• Road and public space maintenance providers;
• Emergency Services (e.g. ambulance, fire, police);
• Public and/or Private Service providers (e.g. bus network operators, light rail operators, bike-share
operators, ride-share companies, taxis);
• Tourism operators e.g. sightseeing buses;
• Transport network users (i.e. people and goods); and
• Indigenous peoples e.g. Tangata whenua and local iwi in New Zealand

2.3.2 Ownership

It is important that a person be nominated the role of Stakeholder Engagement and Communications
Manager for Network Operations Planning within each jurisdiction, as they will be responsible for the delivery
of the stakeholder engagement plan. Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
• Creating and maintaining a detailed stakeholder management plan;
• Leading engagement with all internal groups to ensure appropriate involvement in all stages of network
operations planning;
• Creating and maintaining a detailed communications plan including community, political and media
engagement;
• Adapting the stakeholder engagement approach throughout the program to ensure continuous buy-in and
involvement from priority stakeholders.

2.3.3 Maintenance

The stakeholder management plan needs to be updated throughout the life of the ConOps with a detailed
revision made at appropriate points in the timeline of the ConOps, e.g. annually. This will ensure that all
stakeholders are receiving the right information at the right time.

2.3.4 Engagement approach

Stakeholder engagement is pivotal to the success of the network operations planning process. Early,
transparent, consistent and frequent engagement will be critical to successful planning and execution of the
plans. There are many stakeholder groups involved in network operations planning including:
• Internal stakeholders such as teams from Project Delivery, Transport Planning, Investment Planning,
Road Safety and Technology and Data.

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• External stakeholders such as public transport operators


• Direct Project Stakeholders such as workstream leaders, traffic management centre, traffic signal
operators
• Steering / direction stakeholders such as the Program Board.

In delivering the network operations planning process Stakeholder Engagement and Communication should
seek to engage each stakeholder group at an appropriate level. It should always be undertaken with the ‘end
in mind’. Recognising the process is focused on safety, road network efficiency and end-users, therefore
stakeholders should continuously be prioritised.

Table 2.2: Concept of Operations – Principles

Step No. Activity Description Tools


Early identification of stakeholders; recognition of distinct Stakeholder map; Stakeholder
individual roles and values of key stakeholders as sources Engagement List
1 Identify
of information, users, decision-makers and influencers
over the course of the process.
2 Analyse Analysis of stakeholder influence and impact of change. Stakeholder Analysis
Work up key messages based on the information from the Stakeholder Management Plan;
analysis. Communications Plan;
3 Plan Understand the available communication channels to the Stakeholder Meeting Tracker
process and frequency of distribution.
Develop a communications plan and timeline.
Appropriate engagement in line with key programme Communications Plan;
milestones and Communications Plan. Stakeholder Analysis
4 Engage
Continued analysis of stakeholder influence and support to
ensure changes are captured.
Continuous, open stakeholder feedback mechanism to Stakeholder Analysis;
inform the process and enable appropriate changes to be Regular Team and Stakeholder
Feedback made. This promotes healthy discussion, full inclusion and Meetings;
ultimately ‘buy- in’ from stakeholders. Lessons Learnt Log

2.3.5 Participation Spectrum

The International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) has developed a public participation spectrum
(Figure 2.4) (IAP2 2017) widely used to help groups define the public’s role in any public participation
process. Though based on public participation the spectrum can be utilised, for many forums, throughout the
network operations planning process. The spectrum helps clarify the goal of the participation and the
promises that can be made. It provides practitioners with a shared language for participation of stakeholders
greatly reducing any misconceptions.

Using the stakeholder analysis, it would add value to designate the participation goal of stakeholders both
internally and externally – are you just ‘informing’ them of the outcomes or do you wish to ‘collaborate’ with
them on developing the final plan? In the case of Local Council you may wish to ‘empower’ them to make
decisions for their road network, but only ‘consult’ with them on decisions for the state road network. It is
important to use and follow-up on the language in Figure 2.4 with stakeholders to maintain confidence in the
process.

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

Figure 2.4: IAP2 Public Participation Spectrum

Source: IAP2 (2017)

2.3.6 Ongoing considerations

The stakeholder analysis should be reviewed and re-visited regularly, at least each year, as part of the
update of the ConOps.

To maintain and update the Stakeholder Analysis the following questions can be used:
• What is their operational role related to network operations?
• What motivates them to be involved in network operation planning?
• What information do they want from the process? Is this information critical to their business / role?
• How do they want to receive communications? Are they only interested in electronic forms or do they
require face to face interaction?
• What is their opinion of the network operations planning process? Are they positive or negative towards
the outcomes or impacts?
• Who influences their opinions, and who influences their opinions of the process?

2.3.7 Stakeholder Engagement Conclusion

The ConOps needs to acknowledge who the stakeholders involved with the road system are and ensure
meaningful engagement and participation. Gaining stakeholder input as early as possible is vital to the
development of a ConOps. To do this a stakeholder engagement plan should be developed early and
someone should be assigned the role of coordinating the plan. The plan will drive how stakeholders are
engaged with and how much input and decision making they have in regards to the operation of the road
network. The stakeholder engagement plan needs to be regularly reviewed as it will be key to maintaining
relationships with stakeholders from the development of the ConOps through to the implementation and
evaluation of the NOPs.

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2.4 Accountability, Roles and Responsibilities


The ConOps needs to build upon the governance and stakeholder engagement sections by establishing
roles and responsibilities across the jurisdiction. This will require that processes be established for people to
follow in the performance of their duties, including interactions between staff and external organisations.

The ConOps clearly outlines the line of sight across authorities, departments and agencies. Though it will not
document every person’s name and job responsibility it needs to clearly highlight key people and business
areas across the Network Operations Planning process, to enable the reader/practitioner to understand how
they fit into the operation of the road system. Doing this alongside good governance will ensure
accountability throughout the road system.

The Section 2.5 discusses ‘Defining Success and Measuring Performance’ this is an independency with
setting accountability, roles and responsibilities. As a key component to achieving success will be to have
people designated and accountable for critical roles throughout the network operations planning process. It
is important that the ConOps gives direction, and people are accountable for its delivery. ConOps measures
are unlikely to provide detailed performance targets e.g. ‘bus travel times on a particular corridor will be
reduced by 20%’ but rather focus on the outcome e.g. ‘network operations plan are in place for the entire
road network and operating gaps will be generated and actioned’. NOPs are the best place for modal targets
to be recorded and monitored.

In addition to the above the ConOps is an opportunity to get agreement and remove ambiguity for many
jurisdictions, in terms of accountability, roles and responsibilities for network operations. It also assists the
jurisdiction in being proactive rather than reactive to network operation gaps.

A recommended way to develop and refine a ConOps document is to work through operational scenarios, an
example of one is provided below:

• ‘Who is responsible for investigating and monitoring public transport operating gaps?’

• ‘Who is responsible for investigating the causes of public transport gaps?’

• ‘Who will make site visits and monitor the site?’

• ‘Who is responsible for developing the solution(s)?’

• In the case it is determined that parking needs to be removed on the approach to an intersection to
improve bus services:
– ‘Who coordinates the removal of parking at the intersection?’
– ‘Who monitors the result and reports back’?

• Could all practitioners involved in network operations planning in your jurisdiction:


– ‘Clearly articulate the persons who are responsible for each of the above?’

• If so:
– ‘How quickly could they provide the top 20 public transport operating gaps and the people
actioning them?’

A well-defined ConOps may not necessarily answer each of the questions above but it will provide the
guidance and direction, to practitioners to find the answer.

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2.4.1 Accountability, Roles and Responsibilities – Program and Project Managers

Network operations planning has been the most successful when people have direct responsibility for
specific roads, corridors or NOPs for specific regions. It is suggested that this creates a sense of ownership
for the plan and responsibility for fixing the problem(s). It is suggested that there are project managers
assigned to each of the NOPs and program managers are responsible for the implementation and delivery of
the ConOps (see Figure 2.5 below). It is acknowledged a fundamental difference between the jurisdictions is
the scale and scope of NOPs, and because of this it may not be a simple task assigning roles. For example,
some jurisdictions have a framework that covers the whole road network while others develop plans on a
case-by-case scenario.

It is proposed by these guidelines that the ConOps sits above a series of NOPs that are developed across
the jurisdiction. The plans would be quite detailed and contain tactical and operational elements – it would be
the project managers job to implement and maintain the plans. The plans would be cantered on geographical
areas of the road network and developed to support the objectives of major activity centres and employment
hubs – see Figure 2.2 for an example of establishing scope boundaries for NOPs.

Figure 2.5: Key roles within the network operations planning process

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2.5 Defining Success and Measuring Performance


When it comes to network operations planning, it is essential to measure the performance of each mode
against the strategic plan: ‘if we don’t measure it, we can’t manage it’. By having a method to measure
performance, the network operations planning process is simultaneously strategic and operational. This not
only allows a better understanding of how the road network is performing, but also provides an insight into
the size of the gap between how each mode operates now and how it needs to operate in the future. Doing
this allows practitioners to be more objective when assessing proposed changes to the road network. This
element of network operations planning is called the ‘Operating Gap’. Changes to the road network can be
assessed as to whether they reduce or increase the gap, indicating their strategic fit – these are detailed
within the Austroads Network Operations Planning Guidelines.

Network operations planning is an integral function of transport authorities, the ConOps outlines why, what
and how success and performance will be measured. To attract sufficient investment to network operations
planning the ConOps needs to be developed with a clear line of sight to delivering on government priorities.
Though network operations planning has the ‘Operating Gap’, there is a need to translate the benefits
delivered from NOPs into how it contributes to the strategic intent of the transport authority.

Most jurisdictions will have a framework for how they measure benefits as this helps to give insight into what
the priorities are for the jurisdiction and what things they place most value on delivering for the community.
The framework also enables a consistent approach to identifying, monitoring and evaluating the success of
investments in network operations planning. Like the ConOps a benefits framework provides a ‘line of sight’
from investment-level indicators to the benefits and outcomes that a transport authority and ultimately
governments aim to achieve. Figure 2.6 illustrates conceptually how the Network Operations Planning
process delivers broader outcomes. The ConOps needs to clearly articulate what the objectives are for the
road system i.e. what are the actions that will deliver against the government’s desired outcomes.

Figure 2.6: Benefits Hierarchy

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

An example of Operational Objective from the Government of Sweden is stated below

‘Increase the reliability of the transport system: A robust transport system is to cope well with
both expected and unexpected events. The infrastructure is to be designed in a way that
minimises stoppages and disruptions resulting from accidents, congestion, vehicle faults or
infrastructure faults and damage. The effective operation of the road networks is an
important prerequisite for being able to make optimal use of available capacity. This involves
preventing disruptions by optimising traffic management and traffic information and
minimising the impact of unplanned disruptions using traffic management, traffic planning
and traffic information’. (Sweden Government 2017)

Figure 2.7 below highlights that a good benefit management framework is in place and forms the basis of
investment decisions made by the relevant road authority. It is fundamental that the process of network
operations planning provides benefits and outcomes for the community, otherwise it is difficult to justify
funding. Network operations planning as an idea may seem great but it needs to clearly deliver against
government priorities.

Figure 2.7: Benefits Management Framework

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

2.6 The Customer (Road System User)


It is common practice for transport authorities to focus significant energy towards customer and user
experience. In regards to Transport for NSW they state their mission is to put the: ‘Customer at the centre of
everything we do’. (TfNSW 2017)

While there are many perspectives on what Customer/User Experience entails it can be regarded as:
‘A person’s attitudes towards using the road network or service and their perceptions of road
system aspects, such as: utility (usefulness of the road system), ease of use and efficiency.
A person’s experience of the road system is dynamic over time due to changing conditions of
the network and different travel patterns. The experience people receive from the road
system is extremely varied from a pedestrian crossing outside a school through to a truck
driver delivering freight across a state.’ (TfNSW 2016)

It is important to differentiate how road users are considered within NOPs and what needs to be incorporated
within a ConOps.

2.6.1 ConOps – Road Users (Customers)

The TfNSW Road Planning Framework provides a good example of incorporating road users (customers)
into their framework. They went through an exercise in the development of the document to understand what
is important to their customers. The framework goes onto explain:
‘Improving our customers’ journey experience requires an understanding of their needs as
our customers’ needs are different depending on their mode of travel. We have identified the
key aspects of our modal customers’ journeys that they value most. These values are most
likely to encourage our customers to shift to a certain mode of travel or use that mode of
travel more often. Regardless of the mode of travel, our customers share similar objectives
in terms of safe, direct and timely journeys with minimum disruption. At times, however, our
customers compete for the same road space which results in conflict with each other,
particularly where our roads and streets are narrow, crowded or congested.’
(Transport for NSW 2016)

Figure 2.8 and Figure 2.9 present excerpts from the TfNSW framework highlighting what is important to
customers who choose to walk and cycle. These figures illustrate the transition from customer understanding
to planning principles and objectives for the road network.

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Figure 2.8: TfNSW Road Planning Framework Excerpts

Customer
Understanding

Road Planning
Principles

Source: Transport for NSW Road Planning Framework (TfNSW 2016)

The framework then goes on to set out a methodology to plan for modes based on the principles of
Movement and Place, and then illustrates the high level movement and place - road use hierarchy.

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

Figure 2.9: TfNSW Road Planning Framework Excerpts

Road Planning
Framework

Movement
and Place
Hierarchy
example

Source: Transport for NSW Road Planning Framework (TfNSW 2016)

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

While the above figures and explanation are a simplification of TfNSW Road Planning Framework (TfNSW
2016), they provide a good snapshot of how to incorporate the customer into the ConOps. This is an
example of how the ConOps can become as much a public facing document as it does a strategic guiding
document to those people operating the road system. Though it is recognised that different versions of the
ConOps may exist internally and externally. For this example, the ConOps creates a clear of sight between
the road user (customer) and the practitioner’s actions.

2.6.2 Customer Information

As shown in Figure 2.10 Transport for Main Roads (TMR) Queensland has developed the ‘Customer Value
Proposition’ (TMR 2017), which aims to put the: ‘customer at the centre of all we do’.

Figure 2.10: Transport for Main Roads - Customer Value Proposition

Source: Transport for Main Roads Queensland Customer Value Proposition’ (TMR 2017)

A key component of the TMR framework is to ensure information is timely and accurate, including having the
right information available on their products and services, and keeping customers informed on plans,
changes and delays.

The importance placed on providing real-time information and data to customers is becoming common
practice among jurisdictions. This enables customers to make the right choice for them and to help manage
road network demands. As initiatives such as ‘Mobility as a Service’ become a reality, information will be
even more important. In terms of the ConOps, consideration needs to be given to the objectives of customer
information and data. As discussed above it is likely that most jurisdictions have strategies and policies in
place to provide customers with the information they need, if not the ConOps is an excellent opportunity to
set out the jurisdictions objectives and actions.

2.6.3 Level of Service – Network Operation Planning

The concept of ‘level of service’ is widely used across jurisdictions to assess the operation of the road
network. Most jurisdictions have taken a holistic approach to their level of service ratings for each mode and
focused the measures on what are important user elements. In the case of general traffic and freight the
level of traffic congestion and/or number of traffic signal cycles it takes to get through an intersection are
seen as good measures of level of service. In the case of public transport ‘reliability’ is key, for pedestrians
crossing opportunities and delay are crucial, and for people cycling ‘levels of stress’ along a route is central.

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

Though this has occurred, there is little evidence to suggest that road authorities have linked Level of Service
metrics with user experience. The development of a ConOps should seek to embed user experience in the
way the level of service is measured and monitored.

2.6.4 The Customer (Road System User) in the Centre

Figure 2.11 conceptually illustrates the importance of customers’ journeys, it is not a secondary thought
rather a primary input into Network Operations Planning and therefore the development of a ConOps.
Understanding customer journey experience provides it which to interpret the application of legislation and
high level government strategies.

Figure 2.11: Putting the customer at the centre of network operations planning

2.7 Integrated Transport, Land-use and Road Safety Planning


It is difficult to deliver great community outcomes for the road system without considering how land is used or
is intended to be used. This ultimately determines why people and goods are moving around in the first place
and it is therefore critically important to have people who are involved in land-use planning help shape the
ConOps from the outset.

The movement function of the road network often conflicts with the place and/or road safety objectives.
However, what has become apparent is that through a well-planned and integrated road network they can
actually support each other. The ConOps should seek to bring the three together in a coherent manner to
develop an efficient and safe road system that supports the liveability of the community who use it.

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

There is a vast amount of information developed by Austroads and included in other related guidelines,
which details how to integrate land-use and road safety with network operations planning. Therefore,
extensive guidance is not provided here other than to highlight the importance, and to ensure due
consideration is given in the development and implementation of the ConOps to integrate planning
objectives. To assist practitioners with their understanding and decision making, three other Austroads
publications in particular have been developed that should be read in conjunction with this guideline:
• Guide to Traffic Management Part 4: Network Management (Austroads 2016a);
• Safe System in the Planning Process; (Austroads 2015) and
• The recently released Austroads research report: ‘Assessment of Key Road Operator Actions to Support
Automated Vehicles’ (Austroads 2017) which provides valuable insight into planning for the next
generation of road system.

These documents are further discussed in the sub-sections, which follow.

2.7.1 Guide to Traffic Management Part 4: Network Management

Network operations planning is a key component of a jurisdiction’s land use and transport planning task. This
is best evidenced by the recent update to Austroads ‘Guide to Traffic Management Part 4: Network
Management’ (Austroads 2016a) to include the Movement and Place framework. The framework reflects the
fact that a more integrated approach to the operation and planning of transport system is best practice.
Therefore, the ConOps needs to consider the relationship between movement and place objectives,
illustrated in Figure 2.12

Figure 2.12: Movement and Place objective examples

Movement objective: Decrease


travel time

Place objective: Increase (people)


dwell time

Source: VicRoads (VicRoads 2016)

The Guide to Traffic Management Part 4: Network Management describes the Network Operation Plan,
which provides a framework for defining the intent of operation of the road network, the priorities accorded to
the various road user groups, network strategies, and the action plan that defines how the road network is to
be managed, operated and developed.

It is highlighted that though network operations planning continues its move towards an integrated approach
to planning through the development of the Movement and Place Framework, it is still undertaken from a
movement perspective - e.g. ‘How do we manage movement to either reduce conflict and/or support place
values’? In developing the ConOps, it is important to be aware of this perspective and what mechanisms are
in motion across government to inform place planning e.g. ‘How are we planning great places without
causing detrimental effects to designated high movement corridors’?

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

Network operations planning has a key role to play in the development of land-use planning documents like
activity centre precinct structure plans, streetscape master plans and/or urban development frameworks
(UDF). It is important to discuss within the ConOps the benefits that network operations planning can provide
if embedded and considered through the land-use planning exercise.

In preparing the ConOps, it will be important to understand the government’s broader planning strategies
and frameworks. The ConOps will either need to be prepared to respond / deliver on the desired outcomes,
as discussed under the ‘Defining Success and Measuring Performance’ section, or the ConOps will be used
as a key input into the development of broader government planning

2.7.2 Safe System in the Planning Process

One Austroads report in particular that should be considered in developing and implementing the ConOps is
the ‘Safe System in the Planning Process’ (Austroads 2015) report.

The Safe Systems approach has the objective of eliminating deaths and serious injuries, with the guiding
principle that everyone shares responsibility for creating a safe road system. Good planning and design sets
the foundation for a safe road environment. One item of particular interest to the ConOps is the checklist
resource provided which can be adapted and incorporated into planning documents to prompt planners to
consider road safety issues (including Safe System principles).

The ConOps document needs to give careful consideration to road safety and the Safe Systems approach
needs to be reflected in the objectives and success criteria.

2.7.3 Assessment of Key Road Operator Actions to Support Automated Vehicles

The Austroads research report: ‘Assessment of Key Road Operator Actions to Support Automated Vehicles’
(Austroads 2017) highlights the importance of network operations planning stating:

‘Given the different nature of operation of highly automated vehicles (operating at SAE levels 3, 4 or 5), it is
important that we consider the impacts on “Place” as well as impacts on road networks to ensure optimised
outcomes from a whole of community perspective.’

With the arrival of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, strong attention needs to be given to how we want
the road network to operate. Getting the ConOps right will be even more of an imperative with Connected
and Autonomous Vehicles as this mode of transport is unlikely to be programmed to consider given place
values along streets it is moving.

2.8 Integrated Management of the Transport System


ConOps documents traditionally focus on detailing the ‘system’ from an overall architecture viewpoint. The
ConOps for network operations planning provides an opportunity to illustrate the core linkages and the
operational environment of the road system, from a simplified perspective.

2.8.1 Core Linkages

Network operations planning for many jurisdictions has mainly focused around improving the productivity and
efficiency of the road network. However, network operations planning has a central role to play in informing
where investment (increasing supply / capacity) is needed, and is also a key tool in helping to manage or
even reduce demands for the road system. Therefore, when referring to the ConOps as giving a clear line of
sight across network operations planning it is important to think about it vertically (strategic to operational) as
well as horizontally across the organisation. This element has strong linkages to achieving good governance,
having the right people with a good awareness of the road system and understand how road operations links
across the business, as illustrated in Figure 2.13

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

Figure 2.13: Linking Across Government

2.9 Enablers - People, Guidelines, Tools and Technology


Through the research and preparation for these guidelines, a number of people provided feedback on the
need to improve the tools, data and technology associated with network operations planning. Some of these
included:
• Web-based systems that provide access to live and historical data for all modes;
• Better linkages between GIS and network fit assessments; and
• Web-based dynamic network operations plans.

In respect of the ConOps it is highly recommended that the document sets out how the jurisdiction will
enable its people to implement the objectives and actions. Consideration needs to be given to training or
developing the right data systems. What processes, plans and guides need to be put in place to assist road
system practitioners.

The most important enabler, ‘People’, was also a major factor in the successful implementation of network
operations planning. This point was concerned with both training and the resourcing invested by jurisdictions
in network operations planning. The ConOps should either explain or provide a pathway for practitioners to
understand the operational environment of the road system.

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

The enablers for network operations planning also includes all the guidelines and technical documents
provided by Austroads and associated supplements from the relevant road authority, such as: Traffic Signal
Techniques and Bus Priority Provisions (Austroads 2016b). Figure 2.14 further illustrates how these enablers
relate to the overall road planning and operations functions discussed throughout this guideline.

Figure 2.14: Enablers

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

3. Conclusion
Network operations planning is a core reason road authorities exist. Therefore, it is fundamental that
transport authorities have well planned and implemented processes in place to operate the road network.

There is no detailed manual instructing every detailed step, rather Austroads has provided a series of guides
and research reports that outline frameworks and principles to be considered in developing the network
operations planning process. This of course will look different for each jurisdiction depending on priorities
and responsibilities for the road system in each jurisdiction.

Transport authorities across Australasia have come a long way with the framework and have developed a
number of NOPs. However, there is little benefit in having a process in place, if the people involved in
operating the road network have a lack of understanding or little buy-in into what is trying to be achieved.
Therefore, it became apparent that there was a need for a ConOps for Network Operations Planning to
create a clear line of sight not only from strategic planning to operations but across government as well.

These Guidelines set out several principles to be considered in developing a ConOps, noting jurisdictions
may wish to add to these or not consider some in their ConOps. Whatever shape the ConOps takes it is
important that the document describes, in easily understood language, the characteristics of each part of the
network operations planning process from the perspective of those people involved. It needs to consider the
key stakeholders associated with the road system including those who operate, use, influence, or are
affected by it.

The ConOps needs to be concise, to the point and easily referenced, otherwise if it is too large and hard to
engage with - it is likely to have low buy-in. There may only be one ConOps or several, within each
Jurisdiction depending on the characteristics of the road network, this should be determined through a
proper and robust governance structure.

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

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September 2017, http://www.government.se/government-policy/transport-and-infrastructure/goals-for-
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Euro Working Group on Transportation, EWGT 2015, 14-16 July 2015, Delft, The Netherlands

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Primer. Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC

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in Supporting Livability and Sustainability: A Primer. Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC

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frameworks/guidelines'. 24th ARRB Conference, 2010.

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

Appendix A Network Operations Planning in


Australasia
Building on Section 1 of these guidelines, this section describes the function of the Network Operation Plan
(NOP) within an Australian context. The intension of this is to introduce the structure and content of a typical
NOP and illustrate how this is supported by the work undertaken during the development of the COP.

A.1 Characteristics of Network Operations Planning


A Network Operation Plan (NOP) sets operational objectives based on the goals of policies from higher level
plans that outline how a road network should function under optimal conditions. The objectives within an
NOP outline specific strategies to address identified performance gaps where operations do not meet optimal
conditions (Wall 2007, Weeratunga & Luk 2010). Although the functional concepts behind network
operations planning have existed for quite some time, the development of comprehensive NOPs to
document an agency’s operational strategies is a relatively new practice in Australasia.

According to Austroads’ Guide to Traffic Management Part 4 (Austroads 2016a), a NOP “aims to guide the
operation and development of the road/transport network towards managing competing priorities.” NOPs
build upon higher level strategic plans by outlining how the road network should function under optimal
conditions and identifying key short-term initiatives that can help to achieve those conditions. Austroads
(2016a) recommends a one to five year planning horizon for NOPs, as opposed to longer planning horizons
typically used in higher-level plans, policies or strategies related to identifying major needed infrastructure
works.

The Austroads guide also emphasises the need for plans to discuss network operation objectives for all
transport modes, which it refers to as ‘user groups’. These include motorised vehicle users, transit users,
pedestrians, cyclists and freight transporters. By establishing a road hierarchy based on mode priority and
how/if this priority changes with time of day, NOPs make the function of each particular road section clearer
and more predictable for all users (Austroads 2016a). This can also improve road safety in line with Safe
System principles.

In summary, NOPs build upon high-level, policy-based planning documents by identifying short-term
operation strategies that can help improve the functioning of the road network. A key approach for NOPs to
achieve this goal is by prioritising modes for different roads within a road network and identifying operational
goals for each mode.

In this report, a distinction will be made between a Network Operating Plan and a Network Operating
Framework. A Network Operating Framework provides guidance as to how individual Network Operating
Plans should be structured. The Austroads Guide to Traffic Management Part 4: Network Management
(Austroads 2016a) provides national guidance for network operations, although some states provide their
own frameworks.

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

A.1.1 Existing Network Operation Plan resources

The majority of resources relating to NOPs in Australasia have been authored by Austroads and date from
2009 to present. By 2015 (updated in 2016), the key Austroads guidance Part 4 Network Management
(Austroads 2016a) adopted key components of the VicRoads SmartRoads framework (VicRoads, 2014) as
national guidance, noting VicRoads are planning to adopt a ‘Movement and Place’ framework as their
governing network operations planning framework, notably Auckland Transport are also currently considering
incorporating the movement and place function into their guidance. The Austroads (2016a) guidance
consists of frameworks for network operation planning, guides to traffic management practice and related
documentation and is applicable across all jurisdictions in Australia and New Zealand. Key resources related
to network operations planning in Australasia are shown in Table A.1 and the jurisdictional areas that these
key resources are most closely related to are also shown.

Table A.1: Key Network Operations Planning Resources

Author (Year) Title Jurisdiction


Wall (2007) Network operation planning - a new approach to Victoria
managing congestion
Government and Roads Network and Corridor Planning Practice Notes New South Wales
and Traffic Authority (2008)
Austroads (2009) Network Operations Planning Framework Australia and New Zealand
Austroads (2010) Guidelines for Selecting Techniques for the Modelling Australia and New Zealand
of Network Operations
VicRoads (2011) SmartRoads Guidelines Version 1.17 Victoria
Austroads (2013) The Application of Network Operations Planning Australia and New Zealand
Framework to Assist with Congestion Management
and Integrated Land Use and Transport
Austroads (2015b) Development of the Accessibility-Based Network Australia and New Zealand
Operations Planning Framework
Austroads (2015c) Level of Service Metrics (for Network Operations Australia and New Zealand
Planning)

A.2 Network Operation Plan Adoption in Australasia


This section examines the structure and content of examples of Australasian NOPs. Victoria, Western
Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and New Zealand all have state-wide Network Operating
Frameworks that describe how individual NOPs should be structured. These manuals, notes and strategies
perform a similar function to the Austroads Guides. It is understood Queensland’s Planning for Operations
(P4O) framework is currently under development – no further information was provided by Transport for Main
Roads.

Victoria’s SmartRoads framework is the only Network Operating Framework that provides mode priority
designations for all major road corridors across the entire state, and on this basis SmartRoads is the only
framework that also suggests a state-wide road user hierarchy. The SmartRoads Guidelines (VicRoads
2011) also provides some of the most comprehensive guidance for its organisation (VicRoads) and local
governments to analyse the impact of operational modifications through its Network Fit Assessment (NFA)
software.

The Northern Territory, South Australia, and Tasmania do not have state-wide NOPs or Network Operating
Frameworks. Instead the state-wide transportation plans are policy based and focus on outlining strategic
goals and identifying long-term infrastructure investments rather than the daily functions of network
management.

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

As network operations planning is a ‘living process’, documentation is not always widely available. Table 3.2
summarises Australasian NOPs where the procedures were made available at the time of writing these guidelines.
The table includes the year of the plan, the responsible agency, the type of agency developing the NOP, the
breadth of the NOP and the modes addressed. Some plans are not truly ‘network’ operation plans as they only
cover a route or corridor; however, they have been included in this table to make it more comprehensive.

Notably Table A.2 does not include the many network and corridor strategies that are typical in regions of
New South Wales and the general policy plans found in other states. These documents do not include
specific operational goals and strategies; rather they tend to focus on long-term infrastructure projects and
on this basis have been excluded.

Table A.2 highlights the small number of specific NOPs currently developed in Australasia that have been
published. Given that the original Austroads guide to NOPs was published in 2009, a wider adoption of
NOPs might have been expected by now. Several state jurisdictions (including South Australia and
Queensland) are currently in the process of exploring the potential for implementing more formal network
operation frameworks, meaning that NOPs will likely become increasingly more common over the next
decade.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads in Queensland is a prime example of this adoption process. In
2014 they began to develop the concept of ‘Planning for Operations’ (P4O) which was then heavily
influenced by the SmartRoads framework. Currently the first fully-developed pilot study of the P4O is being
rolled out in Ipswich. Results of the pilot are expected in late-2017, but the preliminary results are promising
and the intent is to roll out the framework across Queensland.

It is worth noting that a number of the individual NOPs in Table A.2 have built upon or adopted the
SmartRoads framework pioneered by VicRoads. This includes both Victorian based NOPs (Ringwood and
Nicholson Street) as well as New Zealand based NOPs (Christchurch, Wellington and Hamilton) and
Queensland (Ipswich).

Table A.2: Selected Network Operation Plans in Australasia

Based on
NOP SmartRoads Year State Agency Agency type Breadth
Framework?
Gold Coast Bikeway Gold Coast City Council Municipal
No 2008 QLD Local municipality
NOP (2008) network
Ringwood Activity Area Yes 2009 VIC VicRoads (2009) State road authority Area
Nicholson Street Tram
Yes 2011 VIC VicRoads (2012) State road authority Corridor
Priority
Tauranga Urban NZTA, Tauranga City National and local Municipal
Yes 2011 NZ
Network Strategy Council (2011) municipality network
Perth Managed Regional
Main Roads Western
Freeways Pilot Project No 2012 WA State road authority freeway
Australia (2012)
NOP network
Perth Airport and Main Roads Western
No 2013 WA State road authority Area
Freight Access Project Australia (2013)
Environment Canterbury Regional council,
Regional Council, Municipal
Christchurch Network national transport
Yes 2013 NZ transport
Management Plan NZTA, Christchurch City agency and local
network
Council (2013) municipality
Regional council,
Wellington Network NZTA, Wellington
national transport Municipal
Operating Plan (Version Yes 2013 NZ Regional and City
agency and local network
0.l Draft) Councils (2013)
municipality
Main Roads Western
Australia (Espada, I., K. CBD
NOP for Perth CBD No 2014 WA State road authority
Boddington, F. Faber and network
J. Li 2014)

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

A.2.1 Stakeholder involvement

The majority of NOPs in Australasia are developed by state government agencies. NOPs developed in
partnership between national, regional and municipal levels of government appears to be a legacy of
SmartRoads and adopted by Victoria, New Zealand and Queensland. In some cases there is extensive
documentation of the range of stakeholders involved in developing the plan.

The development of the Victorian SmartRoads strategic road use plans that are included in the SmartRoads
framework involved consultation with local government, as well as state government agencies and other
transport stakeholders (VicRoads 2011, VicRoads 2016). Local government was consulted as part of a
series of workshops to develop strategic road use maps for a municipality (VicRoads 2016), with the final
road use hierarchy maps being endorsed by local government as well as state government (VicRoads 2016).

The VicRoads SmartRoads Guidelines highlights the importance of local government as a stakeholder and
its function, along with other stakeholder groups, as a link between VicRoads and the community and road
users (VicRoads 2016). The SmartRoads Guidelines also place an emphasis on stakeholder workshops in
the review of proposals to alter or further develop the functional road hierarchy or NOPs (VicRoads 2016),
and it would be expected that local government would typically be represented as part of such a process in
most if not all cases. Having local government support and involvement in the process has been a significant
contributor to the success of SmartRoads to date.

The Wellington Network Operating Framework involved a similar level of extensive stakeholder involvement.
A series of six workshops included representatives from NZ Transport Agency, Wellington City Council,
Greater Wellington Regional Council and private consultants (NZ Transport Agency, Greater Wellington
Regional Council et al. 2013).

A.3 Structure of Network Operation Plans


Guidance on the structure of NOPs is provided within the Austroads Guide to Traffic Management Part 4
(Austroads 2016a). It highlights that a NOP should outline specific strategies that can be implemented to
work towards achievement of broader transport goals outlined in higher level policy-based plans. In order to
properly develop these strategies, the NOP should provide an analysis of current network performance to
identify specific parts of the road network where performance gaps exist.

The Austroads Network Operations Planning Framework describes seven phases of a NOP framework
(Austroads 2009). These are:
i. setting network operations objectives,
ii. defining the network and services,
iii. evaluating network performance,
iv. identifying management options,
v. developing the NOPs,
vi. implementing the NOPs, and
vii. evaluating the NOPs and network performance.

For further information refer to Figure 1.5.

Table A.3 shows an evaluation of previous NOPs to identify whether each contains components informed by
the seven-phase Austroads approach. These are whether the NOP:
• has a grounding in strategic policy objectives (Austroads phase 1),
• includes a gap analysis, referred to as the ‘operating gap’, of network performance versus defined
standards (Austroads phases 2 and 3),

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

• identifies tactical actions to resolve existing performance gaps (phases 4 and 5), and
• includes a process to evaluate the NOP and network performance post-implementation (phase 7).

Additionally, the evaluation in Table A.3 also includes an assessment of whether each of the reviewed NOPs
includes a road user hierarchy, addresses road safety related matters as an integral part of the NOP, and
whether the development process of the NOP is described in the NOP documentation.

It is noted New Zealand NOPs are all city based and currently cover five main cities, Australia NOPs have
been done at various scales from State based through to individual activity centres. New Zealand NOPs are
a partnership between the NZTA and the local government authority which generally covers the entire
metropolitan area.

Table A.3: Components identified in reviewed Network Operation Plans

NOP development
Australian State,

Road user/mode
Strategic policy

Tactical action

Description of
identification
Gap analysis

Integral road
Evaluation
objectives
NOP

hierarchy

process

safety
or NZ

Gold Coast Bikeway NOP QLD X X X X X

Ringwood Area Planning VIC X X X X X X

Nicholson Street Tram Priority VIC X X X X X X

Tauranga Urban Network Strategy NZ X X X X

Perth Managed Freeways Pilot


WA X X X X X
Project NOP

Perth Airport and Freight Access


WA X X X X
Project

Christchurch Network Management


NZ X X X X
Plan

Wellington NOP NZ X X X X X X

NOP for Perth CBD WA X X X X X

Wanneroo Road Corridor WA X X X X X

Route Operation Plan for Great


WA X X X X X X
Northern Highway (Pilbara Region)

A.3.1 Strategic Objectives

In accordance with the Austroads recommendations, the reviewed NOPs tend to begin by stating a set of
strategic, policy-based objectives of how the road network should operate under optimal conditions. A main
differentiator between the reviewed NOPs is whether the plans have a chapter outlining their own specific
strategic policy goals (Gold Coast City Council 2008, VicRoads 2011) or simply cite other plans that contain
broader goals for the wider region instead of goals that are specific to the road network or corridor being
analysed.

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

A.3.2 Road User Hierarchy

A key output from most of the reviewed NOPs are mode priority maps or a ‘road user hierarchy’. These maps
display which modes of transport are prioritised on each route of the road network and inform operations
improvement decisions made within the plan. The content of the maps varies depending on the focus of the
specific NOP. Motorway network NOPs display the priority split of freight, public transport, and general traffic
(Main Roads Western Australia 2012) whereas more comprehensive NOPs display route priority for general
traffic, freight, public transport, cycling, pedestrians, and others (VicRoads 2011, Espada, Boddington et al.
2014, Main Roads Western Australia 2015). Road hierarchy maps are not present in:
• the Gold Coast Bikeway NOP, which focuses on a single mode but does not break cyclists down into
different user groups (commuter, recreational etc.) as is typical in many bicycle strategies;
• the Perth Managed Freeways NOP, which specifically states that a road user hierarchy is not included
due to the NOP being for a freeway environment (Main Roads Western Australia 2012); and
• the Tauranga and Pilbara NOPs which are focused on general traffic routes and only develop a hierarchy
for traffic types (i.e. expressway, arterial and collector roads).

Specifically designating mode priority for each corridor along the road network seems to be the main
differentiator between NOPs and other more broad transport plans that are more commonly found in other
states and territories throughout Australasia (Tasmanian State Government 2010, Australian Capital Territory
Government 2012, Government of South Australia 2013, Tasmanian State Government 2013, Northern
Territory Government 2016). Experience has suggested that a key input into developing the road user
hierarchy is to ensure that mode principles, such as hierarchy definitions, are clearly defined prior to
development of the road user hierarchy.

A.3.3 Operating Gap Analysis and Tactical Action Identification

'Operating gap’, analyses are included in many of the reviewed NOPs. The key distinguishing characteristic
across the plans is whether or not they adopt a version of the SmartRoads (VicRoads 2011, VicRoads
2016a) methodology for determining the gaps between desired and actual performance of the road network.
The SmartRoads method uses the NFA software tool which creates a network of links and nodes and
populates them with network information (e.g. traffic volumes, bus frequency, pedestrian movements) and
level of service ratings. Combined with a road user hierarchy, the model can provide an indication of
‘operating gaps’ in network performance.

NOPs in Victoria adopt this NFA tool to measure gaps in network performance. The Christchurch Network
Management Plan similarly includes a gap analysis, although in this case the assessment is undertaken
using an adaptation of the VicRoads SmartRoads process and NFA tool (Environment Canterbury Regional
Council, NZ Transport Agency et al. 2013). However, the Christchurch plan remains an interim document
and does not yet identify or assess options to be implemented at the tactical level to address the ‘operating
gaps’.

Wellington’s CBD NOP, which is also undertaken using an adaptation of the VicRoads SmartRoads process,
is more developed than the Christchurch plan. As well as including an operating gap analysis the Wellington
NOP identifies existing networks strategies and new work needed to address gaps, and a process for using
and updating the NOP (NZ Transport Agency, Greater Wellington Regional Council et al. 2013). However,
the Wellington NOP lacks details on the frequency of NOP updates, or how the NOP may relate to day-to-
day operational management rather than more strategic network improvements such as programs of new
construction and signal optimisation.

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In contrast, the remainder of the plans adopt different strategies to identify network operating gaps. For
example, the Gold Coast Bikeway NOP (Gold Coast City Council 2008) includes a comprehensive
framework for determining the priority of different route sections for improvement, which feeds into a five-
year works program of tactical actions to improve the road network. However, this framework is not used as
part of the determination of maintenance frequencies across the bicycle network, which is instead based on
estimate (Gold Coast City Council 2008). In this sense, the Gold Coast Bikeway NOP is to a certain extent
similar to a traditional bicycle network improvement strategy document, with a focus on infrastructure
improvement rather than operational management.

The Perth Managed Freeways Pilot Study NOP includes a detailed operating gap analysis comparing current
and target performance levels. This informs the selection of tactical options to improve physical infrastructure
and/or use ITS and freeway management systems (Main Roads Western Australia 2012).

The Updated Preliminary NOP for the Perth CBD, while not based on the SmartRoads approach or network
assessment tools, is developed to a similar level as the Wellington NOP with a comprehensive operating gap
analysis informing an identification of links that require further review (Espada, Boddington et al. 2014).
However, the Perth CBD NOP, despite providing detailed recommendations and next steps, does not
explicitly detail the frequency at which the NOP will be updated and revised in the future or how the
outcomes of implementing the NOP will be assessed. Also like the Wellington NOP, it lacks detail of how the
NOP relates to day-to-day operational management and instead has a focus on network improvements.

The Corridor Operation Plan for Wanneroo Road (Main Roads Western Australia 2015) details a
comprehensive eight step corridor operation planning process which includes setting priorities and
objectives, analysing performance, developing an operation strategy and improvement plans, implementing
the plan and undertaking evaluation of the outcomes. However, the plan does not set specific measurable
targets. Instead the objectives are mostly about improving performance compared to the existing conditions.
While the third stated objective is to “Achieve target level of service for all road users consistent with the
agreed road use priority” (Main Roads Western Australia 2015), these level of service targets are not
specified in the plan. As such, the plan focusses on improving the worst performing locations within the
corridor and providing corridor improvement strategies rather than providing management plans for locations
where operational targets are not met.

A.3.4 Road Safety

Road safety was addressed by four of the reviewed NOPs. The Wanneroo Road Corridor Operation Plan, in
particular, provided a detailed analysis of the existing crash history throughout the road section (Main Roads
Western Australia 2015). However, none of the reviewed NOPs provided much in the way of plans for the
ongoing monitoring of road safety on the road network or how performance against road safety targets might
be assessed on an ongoing basis at the operational level. Rather, improving road safety tended to be an
objective of the NOPs, some of which then recommended specific tactical options to make improvements in
the form of road improvement projects. Using level of service based approaches to assess and monitor road
safety as part of a NOP, as shown in the Accessibility-based NOP framework developed by Austroads
(2015), does not appear to have been adopted into Australasian NOP practice.

Instead, most plans seem to adopt the implicit assumption that by clarifying the road user hierarchy, road
users will face less conflict. It may be assumed that only ‘safe’ interventions will be tested in the NOP
process; however because the degree of safety is not quantified, the process can under-value interventions
that are safer but may reduce mobility.

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

A.3.5 Development and Evaluation of NOPs

Although the high-level guidance for NOPs states that they should be developed in consultation with
stakeholders, the development process is not always documented in individual NOPs. Details about how the
NOPs were developed were provided by 9 of the 12 reviewed NOPs. Many of the NOPs used the VicRoads
SmartRoads framework and Network Fit assessment tool (Christchurch, Wellington, VicRoads, Ipswich),
while the NOPs developed in Western Australia used a range of methods including stakeholder workshops
(Pilbara NOP (Gaynor 2016) and Wellington NOP (NZ Transport Agency, Greater Wellington Regional
Council et al. 2013), an iterative processes including feedback loops and a stakeholder mapping workshop
(Perth Managed Freeways NOP (Main Roads Western Australia 2012)) and the Main Roads network
operation planning process supported by GPS probe data to assess travel speeds (Perth CBD NOP
(Espada, Boddington et al. 2014)).

Not all plans explicitly state that the NOPs should be evaluated, or when this evaluation should take place.
However some, like the Wellington CBD Network Operating Plan, explicitly demonstrated how the NOP is
meant to be used in a feedback loop (see Figure A.1) and that the plan is a “live document that will evolve as
there are changes in the strategic environment, new projects come on-line and new data or technologies
become available” (NZ Transport Agency, Greater Wellington Regional Council et al. 2013).

Figure A.1: Use of the network operating plan, Wellington

Note: JTOC: Joint Traffic Operations Centre, TP: Transport Plan

Source: NZ Transport Agency, Greater Wellington Regional Council et al. 2013

A.4 Summary
This section has examined the structure and content of examples of Australasian NOPs. In general, the
reviewed NOPs are in accordance with the Austroads framework when it comes to stating the strategic
objectives of the road network. However, measuring existing network performance against these strategic
objectives to identify gaps is not universal amongst the reviewed NOPs, and some NOPs are more focused
on identifying or describing proposed infrastructure solutions to existing problems rather than defining
strategies for managing the road network. Few of the NOPs provide much in the way of direction for day-to-
day operational management, although the Network Fit assessment tool included within SmartRoads and
used by other NOPs based on the SmartRoads framework provides a key resource for the ongoing
assessment of the operational impact of proposed changes to the road environment.

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

The setting of quantitative targets is also a notable feature of the NOPs based on the SmartRoads
framework, but other NOPs, particularly those developed for Western Australia, tend to have a qualitative
approach to the setting of objectives and targets as well as the assessment of performance gaps. The level
of service based approach to defining and monitoring road safety, as shown in the Accessibility-based NOP
framework developed by Austroads (2015), does not appear to have been adopted into Australasian NOP
practice. Road safety was only specifically addressed in four of the review NOPs, and only one (the
Wanneroo Road Corridor Operation Plan) provided detailed assessment of the current road safety situation
using detailed crash history.

In general, the NOPs examined tend to be focused on infrastructure solutions rather than strategies for
operating the road network. However, this may be more reflective of the age of the NOPs, which date from
2008 to 2016, in relation to relatively recent publication of the Austroads Network Operations Planning
Framework (Austroads 2009), Accessibility-Based Network Operations Planning Framework (Austroads
2015b) and Level of Service Metrices (for Network Operations Planning) (Austroads 2015c). As existing
NOPs are updated in response to the new Austroads guides, and new NOPs are developed, it is considered
likely that there will be a move away from infrastructure based strategies towards an operationally focussed
style of NOP in Australasian practice.

A.5 Agencies Responsible for Network Operation Plan Development


and Delivery
The development and coordination of NOPs can be complicated by the various responsibilities and funding
sources of the involved agencies, particularly since NOPs include often both arterial roads which are state
controlled and local roads which are controlled by the municipal government. For example, Figure A.2
summarises the delivery responsibilities and funding sources for actors involved in the transport planning
and operations processes of South Australia. Various levels of government and the private sector operate
and plan for different parts of the transport network in South Australia. This may complicate efforts to plan for
integrated operation of the network as a whole without deliberate, strategic coordination.

The issue of coordination was originally addressed in the Austroads (2009) Network Operations Planning
Framework. The framework details how network operations should be planned by identifying the key
elements required to establish network policies and objectives, conduct a performance analysis and
determine management options. The framework cites an increased focus on integration of infrastructure and
non-infrastructure based plans as a primary reason for needing “more coordinated interaction within road
agencies across planning, project implementation, asset preservation, and network management of traffic
operations to achieve greater efficiency of infrastructure use in the longer term.” (Austroads 2009)

The Netherlands has attempted to address issues of coordination by pulling together various stakeholders to
creating an agreed upon national set of guidelines called the ‘Dutch National Traffic Management
Architecture’, as well as a dynamic traffic assignment model which allows for operations analysis to be
conducted in a consistent manner across various levels of government and agencies (Taale 2006).

New Zealand cities that utilise NOPs address the issue of coordination through what they refer to as the
‘one-network’ approach. In this approach the NZTA and local authorities work together in drafting the NOP,
and also form a partnership team with members from both agencies that continue to work together after the
plan is finalised to properly implement, maintain and update it (Auckland Transport and New Zealand
Transport Agency 2011).

The VicRoads Network Fit Assessment Tool was created, in part, to improve communication between
VicRoads and stakeholders (including local government). The decision-making software enables
stakeholders to test how changes to network operations will affect various modes of transport (Wall 2011)
and this tool is used as part of the process of judging network improvement proposals (VicRoads 2011).
Although this tool uses a consistent framework at the decision-making stage, there may still be a
disconnection between setting the operation plan and implementing it.

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

Figure A.2: Delivery responsibilities and funding sources of transport planning and operations actors in
South Australia.

Source: Government of South Australia (SA Government 2013)

A.6 Movement and Place and Network Operations Planning


Discussion
Concurrent with the development and introduction of the Network Operation Planning approach has been the
introduction of the ‘Movement and Place’ framework of road hierarchies. This framework originated in the UK
as the ‘Link and Place’ model (Jones and Boujenko 2009) and differentiates between roads where
movement of vehicles is the highest priority and roads which act as destinations in and of themselves. Note
that the Movement and Place framework also has roots in the concept of ‘street plans’; however street plans
rarely focus on the movement function.

The Movement and Place concept is in contrast with previous hierarchical approaches to road management
where a street’s function is considered along a single continuum of movement priority ranging from cul-de-
sacs (low movement) to freeways (high movement) (Brindle 2003). These traditional hierarchical approaches
consider the access function of roads (e.g. parking, access management) as a function that conflicts with
movement; however they do not explicitly consider the ‘place’ or amenity function of a street.

Despite this legacy, there is an increasing focus on the amenity or ‘place’ value of roads in Australasia. The
strongest endorsement of this change in Australia is that the latest Austroads guide to network management
(Austroads 2016a) begins with an introduction to ‘Movement and Place’.

A.6.1 Description of Movement and Place

A major component of the Movement and Place framework is that roads and streets are classified along two
spectrums: their degree of movement function (defined much the same a traditional road hierarchy might)
and their degree of place function. This results in a classification matrix rather than a continuum.

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A simplified example of a Movement and Place matrix is shown Figure A.3, showing three levels of
Movement and Place functions. Under this approach the movement and place dimensions are considered
separately, and so a location with high importance as a place might be either a ‘City Place’ with low
importance for movement, a ‘City Street’ with moderate movement function, or a ‘City Hub’ that has high
importance for both movement and place.

Figure A.3: Transport for London’s Street Types Matrix

Source: Transport for London (TfL 2012)

The ‘movement’ function is almost always defined in terms of the volume of motor vehicles or ‘passengers’
that use the road. In contrast, the ‘place’ function is defined quite differently depending on the jurisdiction.
Usually the focus is on pedestrian movements, economic activity or the distance people travel to visit the
location.

The definition may be quantitative (e.g., number of people ‘staying’ within 100m visual range) or qualitative
descriptions (e.g. ‘moderate level of activity’ or a ‘place of national significance’).

Additionally, the movement and place designations of roads can be mapped in much the same way that NOP
road user hierarchies are mapped (see Figure A.4). Note that movement function is linked to the road space
whereas place function is linked to adjoining land uses.

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

Figure A.4: Example of mapping movement and place hierarchies

Source: Adelaide City Council (Adelaide City Council 2012)

A.6.2 Movement and Place in Australasia

The Movement and Place framework is gaining traction across Australasia, particularly in South Australia,
New South Wales, New Zealand and Victoria. One of the earliest examples outside of the UK was adopted in
the City of Adelaide’s ‘Smart Move: Transport & Movement Strategy’ (Adelaide City Council 2012). The plan
utilised average daily traffic levels to determine ‘link’ status and a survey of on-street activities to determine
‘place’ status for streets within the city centre. Analysis of this information resulted in specific strategies to
balance movement and place, such as a policy to remove left-turning slip lanes along corridor segments that
were determined to have high place significance and low movement significance.

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

VicRoads is also in the midst of exploring how Movement and Place may be adopted in Victoria (VicRoads
2016). Heavily influenced by the City of Adelaide framework, it advances on this framework by explicitly
considering that ‘movement’ function may be defined differently for different modes.

Auckland Transport outlines an appropriate balance between movement and place as one of the ‘Principles
of Land Use & Transport’ in their 2013 Code of Practice (Auckland Transport 2013). The agency is in the
process of developing a Movement and Place framework that will likely be finalised in the next year.

It does appear that the Movement and Place concept has not yet fully matured as a practical tool for road
management, in Australasia. In contrast, the NOP concept is an extension of established traffic engineering
and management practices based around delay, volume to capacity ratios and level of service measurement
approaches for assessing road and network performance. While the levels of service approaches used by
many NOPs to assess modes other than private vehicles may benefit from further refinement, the NOP
concept is firmly established on quantifiable principles, which helps to explain the relative maturity of the
NOP frameworks and the range of NOP guidelines and tools already in existence. Moving forwards further
work will need to be undertaken to bring the two frameworks together.

A.7 Network Operation Planning International Comparison


In preparing for the development of the Concept of Operations (ConOps) for Network Operations guidelines,
a review of international practice was undertaken. The following section provides further context in
developing a ConOps.

Europe and the United States are the main sources of international NOP frameworks and guidelines. In
particular, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) has released six guides that are
relevant to planning for operations. These guides, as well as some European examples, are documented
below in Table A.4.

Table A.4: International Network Operation Frameworks and Planning Guides

Agency NO Framework/Planning Guide Jurisdiction


Traffic management act 2004, network management duty
Department for Transport (2004) United Kingdom
guidance
Highways England (2015) Strategic Road Network ConOps United Kingdom
Developing and using a concept of operations in
Smith (2005) USA
transportation management systems
Nederland Ministerie van Verkeer Sustainable Traffic Management: Handbook; A Guide for
The Netherlands
en Waterstaat (2003) Users
United States Department of Statewide Opportunities for Linking Planning and
USA
Transportation (2008) Operations: A Primer
Advancing Metropolitan Planning for Operations – The
United States Department of
Building Blocks of a Model Transportation Plan USA
Transportation (2010a)
Incorporating Operations: A Desk Reference
United States Department of Statewide Opportunities for Integrating Operations, Safety,
USA
Transportation (2010b) and Multimodal Planning: A Reference Manual
The Role of Transportation Systems Management &
(United States Department of
Operations in Supporting Livability and Sustainability: A USA
Transportation 2012a)
Primer
(United States Department of Applying a Regional ITS Architecture to Support Planning
USA
Transportation 2012b) for Operations: A Primer

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Current Practice and Developments in Concept of Operations across Road Agencies in Australia and New Zealand

Similar to Austroads’ guidelines, “Advancing Metropolitan Planning for Operations – The Building Blocks of a
Model Transportation Plan Incorporating Operations: A Desk Reference” (United States Department of
Transportation 2010a) identifies the development of strategic, network-wide operations objectives as the
basis for linking operations and the planning process. The UK’s Traffic Management Act 2004: Network
Management Duty Guidance (Department for Transport 2004) goes slightly further by explicitly stating that in
addition to network-wide objectives, specific policies and objectives should also be developed for each of the
different roads within the road network. This is likely referencing the development of a road network
hierarchy based on mode priority, a key aspect of most NOPs. The Strategic Road Network ConOps
document from Highways England (2015) provides 10 key principles for the demand management,
utilisation, availability and understanding of their network as part of a high-level document providing
guidance to their staff and others who are involved in the day-to-day operation of their network. This
document provides network-wide strategic objectives, which may form the input to operational level planning.

European NOP guidelines place a particular emphasis on the importance of coordination between various
network management authorities and stress the need to acknowledge the interconnectedness of networks in
the planning process. The UK’s Traffic Management Act 2004 (Department for Transport 2004) requires
network management authorities to consider the effect of their actions on the road networks of other
jurisdictions to “prevent either results being achieved by moving the problem elsewhere, or conflicting
policies causing problems across administrative boundaries”. As mentioned in the previous section, the
Netherlands has attempted to address this issue through the development of its National Traffic
Management Architecture which culminated in the development of a Sustainable Traffic Management
Handbook (Nederland Ministerie van Verkeer en Waterstaat 2003) that is “used to develop and implement a
consistent and accepted set of traffic management measures” applicable to all transport networks across the
country (Taale 2006). The handbook also provides a dynamic traffic assignment model so that all network
operating authorities utilise the same model to analyse the effects of potential operational changes. This
approach to coordination between governmental agencies is similar to VicRoads’ Network Fit Assessment
Tool software, but at the national level instead of the state level.

Figure A.5: Dutch Sustainable Traffic Management Process Diagram.

Source: (Taale 2006)

The framework itself is very closely aligned with the framework outlined in Austroads (2009) and Austroads
(2016a). Unfortunately, the Sustainable Traffic Management Handbook itself is not publicly available, so the
summary from Taale (2006) is all that can be used to compare its differences to frameworks from
Australasia. However, one key difference is that the handbook lays out a process for NOP post-
implementation evaluation. If the process is laid out with strong detail, that would stand in contrast to
Austroads (2016a) which says that the network operations objectives and road use priorities should be
reviewed after implementation of the NOP, but does not provide details on what the evaluation process
should entail.

Overall, the network operations planning process in Australasia seems to be at or near par with global best
practices. Key areas for improvement include an increase in coordination between network operation
authorities, as well as better documentation of how NOP objectives will be evaluated in post-implementation
stage.

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