Gateway Motorway Services – Australia’s First Motorcycle Traffic Response Unit

1. Summary of the project, product, framework

GMS is responsible for the operations and maintenance of one of Brisbane’s largest iconic pieces of infrastructure – the Gateway Bridge.  GMS must manage 64km of motorway and 88 bridges, responsible for the safe passage of over 320,000 Brisbane motorists per day. It is our goal to connect communities of Brisbane with confidence. Confidence that they will reach their destination safely, confidence they will reach their destination timely, and confidence they receive value for money for their toll journey. To achieve excellence in asset management GMS introduced Australia’s first Motorcycle Traffic Response Unit. An innovation in “congestion busting”.

Gateway Bridge – Brisbane, QLD

Australia’s first Motorcycle Traffic Response

2. Description of project or framework addressing the assessment criteria

Use of Best Practice Asset Management Principles

Department of Transport & Main Roads, QLD Police, Brisbane City Council and GMS

GMS adopted an integrated approach in terms of asset management. Key elements that contributed to the success of the project was stakeholder engagement, robust risk assessments and operator training and competencies. Integrated stakeholder support was vital for the success of the project. Stakeholders included large profile entities such as Queensland Department of Main Roads, Brisbane City Council, Transurban, Queensland Police Service (QPS), Queensland Public Safety Bureau, Ventia and Lendlease. To support this claim QPS volunteered to design the motorcycle in such a way that it would meet legislative requirements but still act as a deterrent for speeding motorists. DTMR executed an exemption clause to allow the use of a motorcycle as a dedicated TIMS fleet member.

   MTRU Service Delivery Capacity

Service delivery needs formed the basis of all practices and decisions. A project review revealed that congested traffic queues impeded response times when responding in Incident Response Vehicles such as truck mounted attenuators, utilities and tilt trays. These vehicles were not conducive for lane filtering or shoulder egress. There were also significant number of areas along the network that consisted of reduced shoulder width inhibiting response options.

The team demonstrated strong leadership of asset management at the highest corporate planning level which was critical to ensuring all parts of the organisation work together effectively in the pursuit of responsible asset management. The use of motorcycles as response vehicles in high speed motorway environment was not an easy sell at a corporate level. The business case planning for the project had comprised of 10 revisions alone before being accepted. The risk journey included; 5 x external individual risk and hazard identification sessions; 2 x internal group risk review forums;1 x external SARS; 2 x desktop scenario sessions;3 x Senior executive briefings and 50 lead/engage/discussion activities.

MTRU Risk Matrix

Discounted Asset Management Suggestion

Asset management decisions were informed by evaluation of alternative means of service provision, full life cycle costing, and performance measurement and monitoring. Critical success metrics were identified before project implementation. The team took full control and accountability of risk management and reporting requirements for assets which was clearly communicated and implemented. The team were brave enough to discount some client requests as some suggested Asset Management projects were not considered to be value adding.

In terms of sustainability the MTRU units averaged 20,000km each, averaging 10 litres of fuel per day. Reduced the carbon footprint of the business by 15%. The project eliminated in lane work activity for the first responder. Whilst police averaged three tyre punctures a week GMS only encountered one puncture in 12 months due to the puncture resistant trial tyres.

Degree of originality and ingenuity of solution

Historically the use of motorcycles was not palatable to stakeholders. When researching the words “risk” or “dangerous” 50% of search engine images include a two wheeled vehicle. The level of complexity in treating perceived bias and risk associated with the use of a motorcycle was very challenging. There has been no previous TIMS provider that has been able to introduce motorcycles into the industry in Australia. In the TIMS industry this project is very significant and has generated national and international inquiries from Western Australian Department of Main Roads and Caltrans from United States.

The MTRU project is the first of its kind in Australia and is an innovative tool to ensure excellence in Asset Management. It helps support optimum “safe lane availability”. The project conceived other ingenuity innovations such as;

  1. New Hi Vis Load Bearing Vest that is compliant to ASNZS 1906/4602
  2. New Bridgestone puncture resistant tyre
  3. Electroluminescent vehicle livery

Program and project management

The program commenced on 17th December 2018 and concluded 17th December 2019. Chief program deliverables included;

  1. Concept Adoption
  2. Project Plan Adoption
  3. Asset Selection
  4. Staff Selection and VOC training
  5. Livery design and communications installation
  6. PPE acquisition
  7. Funding
  8. Media & Marketing
  9. Project Launch
  10. Midterm Evaluation
  11. Final Evaluation

  MTRU Asset shoulder egressing and lane splitting

The project consisted of ex-police motorcycles being deployed upon the open road network to respond to traffic incidents that occur within peak periods that consist of congested traffic queues.  The motorcycles possess the advantage of being small enough to safely attend the scene via the use of carriageway shoulders and lane filtering manoeuvres.

The project devised contingency plans in the infancy of the project lifecycle at a business case level.  Preventive action plans were then authored at the project plan stage, and corrective measures then introduced from lessons learnt during review stages of project implementation phase. The three top risks were identified as;

  1. Travel from the staging point to the end of the congestion queue in 100km/h zones
  2. Exposure to live traffic when working at the scene without a traditional style of cover vehicle
  3. Rider behaviour potentially described or observed as “Cowboys”

The project management of the innovation won the National AIPM Awards 2019 for best Professional Services and Project Manager of the year.

Project Management Excellence Award

Benefit/Value of the project or service to the community or organisation

The following community and organisational benefits were achieved and recognised at the 2019 Brisbane Lord Mayor Awards;

  • Provided employment tenure for mature age staff (>50yrs)
  • Provided an employment transition conduit for military staff to civilian workforce (RSL)
  • Improved road user compliance to reduced posted speed limits by 90%
  • Improved commuter travel times by 30% improvements in on scene response times and incident clearance times
  • Attracted >300 written public compliment testimonials in 12 months of operations.
  • achieved 99% KPI Benchmarking and successfully managed over 8000 traffic incidents whilst maintaining zero lost time injury record.

3. Opinion as to specific contribution made by the nominated individual/team /organisation

The following stakeholder opinions have been extracted from written public compliment testimonials. There is no better way to demonstrate contribution levels than thru raw uncensored feedback.

“My full name is David Allen. I am the Road Operations Manager for Transurban Queensland (TQ). GMS is a contracted service provider for TQ. The contract scope includes the provision of asset management services of the original Gateway Motorway. It is my expectation that all contractors seek to introduce their projects to the market faster, lower their cost base and deliver their products more effectively. I can honestly report that Simon and his team has achieved excellence in project scoping, planning, implementation and final delivery with the MTRU project. I am completely satisfied of the project outcomes and the standard of project management undertaken by the team.

I am very happy to verify these claims as the team deserves recognition for their efforts to deliver the MTRU project quickly, safely and efficiently but most importantly it is their excellence in ensuring stakeholder confidence in asset management that is most impressive. I can report they have operated within the approved project plan and budget constraints.” – Mr. David Allen, Road Operations Manager, 10th October 2019

“Hi, I really want to thank you for saving us on the highway. I Really appreciate your fast reaction, proper safety processes and professional solutions to fix our problem. Even after you guys fixed everything, you lead us back onto highway and showed us the right direction to go. We really appreciate that and thank you again. You are the true heroes on the highway to save people. Regards.” – Jian Mars, Road User, 12th December 2019

“For the first time in almost 60 years I broke down yesterday. So, I find myself on the Logan Motorway, and in a less than ideal position. Mitch turned up with a beaming smile and zero judgement and not only explained that he was going to give me 10 litres of fuel for free to get me on my way but asked how I was in the extreme heat and whether I needed a drink. Embarrassed, but on my way in no time and now reflecting on the great service. I work in the service industry and couldn’t help but think that I had just experienced what should be the benchmark for all customer interactions.” Mr Jim Haywood, Road User, 12th December 2019

“The danger that these workers put themselves into to help others on the freeways – I’m lost for words and cannot comprehend as to how I can show my appreciation. Thank you!! You went over and above your regular duties, even sticking around until we were under way. I used to complain about the amount that we pay for tolls – but am happy to continue to pay if Linkt provide and emergency service like this on their roads. Kind regards”. Ms Gina Lewis, Road User, 5th December 2019

4. General comments

MTRU Riders: Barry Sullivan, Darren Nolan, Paul Hillman, Chris McLean

The client notified GMS after only one month of operations that they had the confidence in GMS to safely project manage Australia’s first Motorcycle Traffic Response Unit. They wanted a motorcycle response capability to be fully qualified and trained ready to commence deployment on the road by mid December 2018 and evaluated by December 2019. It was decided that two motorcycle assets required to be designed and constructed for fit for purpose to perform the following tasks;

  • Refuel vehicle with 10 litres of diesel and 10 litres of unleaded
  • Battery jump start a V8 vehicle
  • Possess tyre changing tools
  • Offer medical support with first aid kit including defib
  • Small compartmental firefighting tools including extinguisher.

Channel 7 news report about MTRU project

One of the key risks to the success of the project was recruiting staff that had a “cowboy” approach to their duties.    GMS ensured the motorcycles are operated by TIMS staff with a minimum of 20 years riding experience. They have undergone a recent QPS facilitated motorcycle rider theory workshop, which the team designed themselvesand have attained a position of Supervisor. The riders have a clean licence and have undergone a VOC process with a commercial riding school. They are mature and purely focussed on the safety of the road user.

Members of the project team are either ex-emergency service personnel or ex-military. As a result, this brings a certain style of leadership which is marketable and transferrable to the road safety industry.  Their command and control skills are exemplary and a key driver to the success of the MTRU project achieving the following actual results:

Maintain >1500 days Zero LTI recordMaintained >2000 days Zero LTI record
Receive 100 public compliment testimonialsReceived >300 public compliment testimonials
100% increase in customer compliments200% increase in customer compliments
Successfully manage 2,000 traffic incidentsSuccessfully managed >8,500 traffic incidents
Average response time on scene 15 minutesAverage response time on scene 7 minutes
Average road network clearance time 20 minutesAverage road network clearance time 15 minutes
First alternate TIMS provider in the state of QLDFirst alternate TIMS provider in the state of QLD
Client satisfaction rate 80%Client satisfaction rate 98%
Contract renewalAdditional 3 contracts obtained
>95% KPI benchmarking>99% KPI benchmarking
Imitation of business model by other stakeholdersWA Department of Main Roads
Higher company profile in National Safety Award ForumsWinner 2018 QLD Work Safe Awards AIPM Awards QLD Road Safety Awards
30% improvement in KPI response times (Total combined) during peak congested incidents40% improvement achieved.
20% – 30% Improvement in road user reduced posted speed compliance90% achieved.
Travel time of 6 minutes through 3km of queued trafficTravel time of 6 minutes through 3km of queued traffic

As GMS is always trying to be leaders in the Asset Management industry and seeking continuous improvement, it is the intent of the team to introduce an all-female MTRU team for June 2020. Selection will still be based on merit due to the high-risk working environment however roster patterns will be more family friendly and should attract single parent demographics.

As a closing supportive statement for this submission the final demonstrated evidence of the level of excellence in Asset Management that GMS possesses is highlighted in the fact that in December 2019, as a result of  the previous 12 months service delivery, the asset owner (Transurban) authorised another three year contract extension to be awarded to GMS, due to the confidence they have in GMS being valued custodians of their multiple billion dollar infrastructure and bringing industry leading innovation to the table.

Assorted Project Photographs

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