The first day of the Temporary Traffic Management (TTM) conference – there are around 150 delegates, and I am realising that this is very much an audience of practitioners. These are the people who design and implement the NZ version of “Chapter 8”, known here as CoPTTM. Chapter 8 is pretty much a bible for those who layout the cones and associated signing as contraflows, lane drops etc. Over the years, the NZ guidance has been updated, moving towards being an interactive tool, rather than a hefty tome. Similar updates are being made in the UK – one of our current simulator studies is trialling new signage to improve drivers’ comprehension. I’ll be presenting some of that work in my second presentation tomorrow…..but back to today….
The brief for my keynote today was to provide an overview of driver behaviour issues pertinent to TTM. I covered issues of speed management, driver workload and distraction, as well as referring to our ability to multitask as we age. I wanted the audience to appreciate the interface between behavioural sciences and engineering, in a TTM context. My slide which started “Roads are designed by engineers, but are used by humans” raised a few eyebrows! They were a friendly audience and I had lots of questions to field in the coffee break.
Dr Fergus Tate, ITS alumni and well respected in his field, provided an entertaining overview of how data should inform policy, not myths. This was delivered in his usual colourful and down to earth style.
The afternoon was a mix of presentations ranging from a study that evaluated speed feedback signs, perspectives from a road operation control room, and an overview of the TTM strategy implemented after the earthquake that devastated Christchurch in 2011.
Time to relax at the end of the day was welcomed, the jet lag has kicked in…..but have to keep going as its the conference dinner tonight. The program has promised “Networking over a Mulled Wine” – I’m not sure how I will feel drinking something that’s usually reserved for Christmas in the UK, but I have to keep reminding myself its winter here. Hard to comprehend when Murray has just won Wimbledon is the sweltering London heat! I have just noticed that the program also states that “Floro jackets and hard capped boots are not required” at dinner tonight. Phew, I’ve left mine at home….