Delegates at AusRAIL PLUS 2015. Photo:

AusRAIL: Artificial intelligence pitch wins young professionals comp

The Young Rail Professionals Pitching Competition, a feature of the final day of the AusRAIL PLUS conference in Brisbane last week, saw five newcomers present their ideas to innovate the rail industry.

This is the second time the competition has been held, after Aurecon engineer Michelle Doolan took out the inaugural prize at the 2016 AusRAIL event in Adelaide.

This year’s winner, announced at the 2017 Gala Dinner on the final night of AusRAIL, was Jamie Ross-Smith, the head of asset systems at UGL Limited.

Earlier that day Ross-Smith presented his concept of an “intelligent asset management system” (IAMS) – an innovation, he said, that would enable the rail industry to ride the wave of the coming “data revolution”.

The IAMS combines artificial intelligence capabilities – such as machine learning and pattern recognition and prediction – with the integration of data system networks. Such a system, Ross-Smith said, enables fast, data-driven solutions to a variety of incidents across the areas of asset condition and maintenance planning, network control and operation systems, safety management and logistics, and resource planning and scheduling.

According to Ross-Smith, the IAMS can take an incident, such as the failure of an asset, and compare the details of this failure with millions of historical data points, thus providing a list of previous incidents with the same features for the system’s probability and prediction monitoring functions. Once the system determines the incident’s causation, again by using the system’s historical data, it will then point technicians towards procedures for its rectification.

Another finalist in the competition who made her pitch at AusRAIL was Victoria Burke, a graduate engineer with Metro Trains Melbourne.

Burke outlined her idea of powering station facilities –  including lighting, ticket barriers, and wireless hotspots – using the kinetic energy generated by passenger footsteps.

This elegantly simple idea involves installing special energy-harvesting tiles into station floors, platform surfaces and stairs. Downward pressure upon the tiles caused by the steps of those walking over them stimulates rotations in electro-magnetic generators lying beneath the surface, converting the kinetic energy of the footstep into electrical energy.

Up to 20 watts per module can be produced in this manner, Burke said, and can either be utilised immediately for low-voltage applications or stored in batteries for later use.

Burke’s analysis of Melbourne’s busy Flinders Street Station determined that, on an average day, 5,600 watt-hours could be produced there using foot-traffic, “which is the equivalent to powering 20,000 mobile phones in a day”.

Indeed, one person can generate 5 watts of continuous power while they walk, producing enough power to light up an area of 15 square-metres. In this way, Ms Burke said, walkways featuring user-generated LED lighting could be established, providing safer journeys at night for passengers moving between station platforms and carparks.

With steadily increasing population growth and rising energy prices, this kind of pollutant-free, energy efficient electricity generation could be, Burke proposed, “the future advance we need to create a smarter approach to our stations by increasing sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint”.

Another finalist, Sydney Trains rolling stock engineer Oliver Lake, gave a compelling outline of how providing technicians with augmented reality glasses (AR) can improve asset maintenance strategies and procedures, and thereby enable rail operators to meet the demands of increasing passenger numbers and rising freight volumes.

AR glasses provide technicians with superimposed computer-generated images and text relating to precise data on rolling stock equipment, and can display procedural instructions in real-time for the safe and efficient repair and maintenance of this equipment.

This would therefore eliminate, Lake said, “the need to constantly stop and refer to procedurals and manuals,” and speed up the process of getting rolling stock back on to tracks to resume services.

Ross Anderson, an engineer with Frazer-Nash Consultancy, pitched his app-based approach to an integrated, multi-modal transport system that would help secure the future of rail by “reimagining” a more desirable commute for passengers.

After entering the start and end points of their journey into the “Corridors” app, the user would be presented with the various times and costs for the range of travel options – partly determined by user-data collection – for their journey’s completion. These would include a selection of privatised transport modes best suited to the “first and last mile” of the commute, such as short-term car rentals, e-bikes, and taxis, alongside public transport services such as rail.

Presented in this app-format, Anderson said, transport options can be integrated and available via single method of access and payment for the entire journey.

And finally, Tyler Plowright, a rolling stock engineer from Pacific National, guided the audience through the complexities of using dynamic brake batteries to save energy on heavy haul freight operations.

The fuel and energy wastage of diesel locomotives can be mitigated, Plowright said, by utilising batteries to store energy – generated by dynamic braking and currently emitted as heat – which can be used by the locomotive at a later point in time for auxiliary and traction power. Plowright said heavy haul services would be best suited to the application of these dynamic brake battery systems, despite the lack extensive testing so far.

Each year locomotive diesel locomotives use 84 billion litres of diesel, pumping out 250 million tonnes of C02 annually worldwide. And, as demand for diesel locomotives remains robust, Plowright said, it is therefore important for the industry to move towards dynamic brake battery technology and thus improve the sustainability and efficiency of freight fleets.

Metro Trains Comeng EMU. Photo: Zed Fitzhume / Creative Commons

AusRAIL: Predictive onboard diagnostics to help Melbourne trains meet rising demand

Data-driven onboard diagnostics technology can predict problems in Metro Trains’ fleet and asset management, and thereby deal with the challenges arising from rising passenger demand and higher performance targets, according to Neal Lawson, the operator’s deputy CEO.

Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) has been operating Melbourne’s passenger rail network since 2009 under the (soon to expire) MR3 franchise agreement with the state government.

The new MR4 agreement that the operator was recently awarded (to take effect on November 30) has established tougher performance targets, including monthly punctuality targets requiring 92 per cent (up from 88 per cent) of trains to run within 4 mins and 59 secs of their scheduled arrival time, and a new delivery target for timetable services of 98.5 per cent.

Lawson, who spoke at the AusRAIL conference last Wednesday, said that while MTM had effectively responded to the demands of patronage growth over the last 8 years, the expected increases in this demand over the next 10 years – almost 100 per cent on some lines – along with disruptions caused by massive government investment programmes to keep up with this growth, will place greater pressures on the operator to deliver high-performing passenger services on time.

“For the world’s most liveable city, public transport is going to be the lifeblood that keeps it there. Therefore, the transport system needs to stay safe and reliable under ever-increasing load pressure,” Lawson told the audience. “And asset management and user-data and moving from a reactive to a predictive maintenance regime is going to be absolutely critical to keep the people of Melbourne moving.”

Lawson indicated that improvements in infrastructure and rolling stock performance had been the “key driver” in providing the higher service reliability performances MTM has been delivering over the last couple of years. However, the tougher performance targets, and the disruptions that will be caused by the development of capacity and capital programmes, mean that data-driven technological change will be the best way to keep up with rapid transformations and changing conditions.

“It is fortunate that technology and data information is improving and growing at such an exponential rate, because I believe that it is the absolute breakthrough and what we’re going to need to harness really quickly to conform to these higher targets through the next seven years,” he said.

It is above all the installation of onboard diagnostics systems on new and existing rolling stock, Lawson emphasised, that would provide the means towards realising MTM’s future performance goals.

Not only will the new fleet of high-capacity trains (to be introduced by 2019) feature onboard diagnostics systems from the get-go, but the some of the currently existing and aging rolling stock will be targeted with the programme as well. This latter strategy will be key, Lawson said, towards achieving the reliability growth and performance improvements the operator seeks.

Lawson drew a distinction between what he considered the “reactive” maintenance regime of the previous MR3 era and MTM’s new “predictive” approach, characterised above all by the use of this data-driven technology.

“Onboard diagnostics forms a key part of asset management strategy going forward as we move from more reactive to more proactive forms of maintenance, where the data is used to inform immediate maintenance responses, or alarms,” he said.

“But far more importantly, we can use that data to understand the asset, and predict degradation rates to be able to make periodic maintenance more appropriate to the failure mode,” he told the conference audience.

This allows “condition-based” monitoring of rolling stock, Lawson said, where data provides enough information to enable trains to receive maintenance before they fail while out on the track and fixed quickly – maximising availability and minimising downtime.

Lawson emphasised that the success of the programme would also rest on the ability of the diagnostics system to “leverage” the data already existing on trains, gathered, for instance, on older forms of event-recording “black boxes”.

“As previous speakers have said, the data is only as good as the tools and the processing that you have to turn it into useful information,” Lawson said.

“So if your infrastructure, your technology infrastructure, and your data information management plan doesn’t support what you want to do in an asset management sense, then it’s not going to succeed. The onboard diagnostics strategy is therefore heavily linked to the technology strategy.”

Once captured, organised, and analysed, data will used in situations beyond day-to-day rolling stock maintenance, including timetable analysis and optimisation and the investigation of track defects through box vibration detection, with real-time data enabling teams to prevent these defects from deteriorating to critical levels.

Lawson came to the end of his presentation by outlining case studies that he said proved the data-driven technology could reduce service failures, save costs, reduce repair times, improve timetabling and enable better safety investigations – all ways to help meet the challenges of MTM faces over the next 7 years of its fresh contract.

“And the onboard diagnostics tool – which is only one of our planned improvements – it has been strongly proven that is does work, that it does produce benefits,” he concluded.

“It’s an amazing use of technology and available data, and, ultimately, drives the improvements we will need to satisfy our passengers, which is, after all, what we’re all here to do.”

Rail Manufacturing CRC on hunt for final round of projects

The Commonwealth Government sponsored Rail Manufacturing CRC is looking to create more partnerships between rail businesses and universities in its final open funding round. Rail Express spoke with Chief Executive Officer Dr Stuart Thomson about the CRC’s model, and what could be next for the organisation.

The proposal to form a Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Australia’s rail manufacturing sector came from the ‘On Track to 2040’ program.

Subsequently, the Rail Manufacturing CRC was established in 2014 and will operate for a period of six years, funded by the Business Cooperative Research Centres Programme of the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

Since commencing, the Rail Manufacturing CRC has held two funding rounds, and now embarks on its third and final round, with submissions due early next year.

“Our focus is set by industry,” Dr Thomson told Rail Express. “It’s very industry-led. Part of [On Track to 2040] was developing a 30-year strategy for the rail industry, and three specific research areas were identified, which we’ve committed to as our three key objectives.”

The CRC’s three research program themes are ‘power and propulsion’, ‘materials and manufacturing’, and ‘design, modelling and simulation’. Within each theme there are already several ongoing projects, which each see at least one industry member partnered with a university or research institution.

“When the Centre began, we had an initial number of members who joined the Centre,” Thomson explained. “Our membership ranged from the tier-one manufacturers, right through the SMEs, and now we have operators on board as well … because they are clients for a lot of our work.”

Companies already undertaking CRC-driven projects include Knorr-Bremse, Bombardier, UGL, OneSteel, Downer, CRRC, and Sydney Trains. Academic and research institutions include the University of Technology Sydney, the CSIRO, the University of Queensland, the University of Wollongong, CQ University, QUT, Deakin University, Swinburne, Monash University and RMIT.

To take part in research, companies are invited to approach the CRC with an idea for new R&D. The CRC will match their funding – with grants worth up to $1 million in this third round of funding – and help partner those companies up with the most suitable  universities and researchers.

“We’re set up to provide capacity for business who want to undertake research that, perhaps is either very high risk [technically], or requires extra skillsets, for organisations which typically may not have those people working inhouse.

“Australia has an excellent research history. It punches well above its weight globally. I think that’s underutilised at the moment within the rail industry, and our focus is really to ensure that rail makes the most of those skillsets and opportunities.”



The process

The CRC’s third round of funding is open to applications until early March 2018.

“We work with rail businesses to identify innovation opportunities and introduce them to identify the universities they could partner with,” Thomson explained. “Then we start to engage with the universities to find the right people, and develop a project brief.”

Thomson says the CRC will match any amount of funding, “whether it’s $50,000, or $1 million,” for the right project.

“The money is then used to fund activities and supply equipment for that project,” he explained. “Typically, the money goes to support labour costs within the university undertaking the project.

“Obviously, because it’s taxpayers’ money, there must be a benefit to Australia, so a lot of the support is for either projects that are specific to Australia, or would help the development of intellectual property and technologies that are going to have a distinct benefit to Australia.”

The CRC helps coordinate the intellectual property (IP) and technology ownership agreements between the industry participant and university in each project upfront, and Thomson says these deals are established early in each project’s development.

“Our model is very simple,” he explained. “We don’t take any ownership of any of the IP. The IP terms and conditions, and the commercialisation rights, will be negotiated between the parties – the university and the industry participant. That’s specified in the agreements, and is all done prior to the project starting. It’s very much a commercial contract.”

With over a dozen ongoing projects, there is no limit to how many – or how few – the CRC may take on in its third and final funding round.

“There’s no set number,” Thomson said. “It’s really about the quality of the projects. Where we feel that it’s answering a need, there’s a benefit for Australia, and there’s going to be a benefit to the industry, we will support those projects.”

The CRC has a prescribed lifetime of six years, and has just passed the halfway point. After the final round of projects are selected, they will be expected to commence in April 2018, and run for up to 18 months.

“The success of the [CRC] will really be borne out by the outcomes of the projects, and we have a number of them ongoing,” Thomson said.

“The CRC has two missions: one is to develop projects with industry, and the second is to train the next tier of postgraduate researchers for the rail industry. We currently have over 20 PhD students, and so our current focus is keeping them within the rail industry, making sure they engage with the industry participants we’re dealing with and increase the knowledge within the industry.”

Longer term, the CRC will be seeking to establish a new proposal to take to the Commonwealth and will be seeking continued funding for the rail sector.

Thomson believes the continued development of Australia’s intellectual property will help it continue to thrive in the rail space.

“It’s clear that the next ten years is really going to be a golden era for rail. I think events like this become more and more important, given the amount of work that’s on, but also in helping the industry to shape its thoughts and strategies,” he said.

“Because we’ve got this period where the [work] pipeline is going to be full for an extended period of time, it creates both challenges and opportunities for the rail sector. Keeping and retaining qualified staff in the industry is just one example of this.

“Traditional manufacturing is one thing that will benefit over the next few years, but there’s also a period of time we’re reaching, where business can look to diversify what they’re doing to develop niche technologies,” he said.

“Through intellectual property – and the protection of that intellectual property – we can create new industries, that will hopefully create new export opportunities. So it’s an exciting time for rail, and AusRAIL helps play a major part in shaping how we’ll go forward in the future.”


Applications for Rail Manufacturing CRC’s third funding round close on March 9, 2018. Visit to find out more.

Hot off the presses: Read your digital edition of the AusRAIL PLUS 2017 Magazine

Rail Express is proud to release the digital edition of the official magazine of AusRAIL PLUS 2017, along with the Australasian Rail Directory 2018.

The AusRAIL PLUS 2017 issue of Rail Express includes an exclusive interview with Pacific National boss Dean Dalla Valle, a Queensland election preview, a sit down with the Federal Government’s Rail Manufacturing CRC, and much, much more.

The magazine coincides with the release of the annual Australasian Rail Directory, which provides a comprehensive index of every large, medium and small business working in, supplying, or servicing the rail industry in Australia and New Zealand.

Click here to read Rail Express, AusRAIL PLUS 2017

Click here to read the Australasian Rail Directory 2018

Instructions: simply use your mouse to drag the pages just like you were reading a magazine. Alternatively, you can use the left and right arrows on your keyboard. To zoom in on a page, use the magnifying glass icon on the bottom centre menu. To download the magazine as a PDF, click the downward arrow icon in the bottom centre menu.


Vic’s New Freight Advisory Council to review heat restrictions

The Victorian government has established an advisory council that will guide V/Line in improving the state’s freight rail network, and will begin by reviewing planned rail heat restrictions for the coming summer.

The Freight Advisory Council is made up of leading industry representatives, who will share information with the rail operator, and make expert recommendations and consultation efforts across the freight rail industry, reaching out to stakeholders such as farmers and freight train operators.

“Our farmers and primary industries across Victoria rely on the rail freight network – it’s vital we make it as efficient and safe as possible,” state transport minister Jacinta Allan said.

Some of the advice that V/Line will receive from the Council will relate to operational requirements, restrictions and rail freight project delivery including the Murray Basin Rail Project, which is currently underway.

This project involves standardising the rail freight lines servicing the Murray Basin region in the north-west of Victoria, and will also increase axle loading on these lines from 19 tonnes to 21 tonnes, allowing more efficient and competitive freight exports due to a reduction in logistics costs.

“With the Murray Basin Rail Project underway to revitalise our freight network, this group will look at the entire supply chain from farm to port and recommend ways to make it easier for farmers to transport their produce,” Allan said.

The first area that the Council will address is V/Line’s proposed heat restrictions for the coming summer. It will review the measures brought in last summer to stop trains travelling on days when temperatures reach 33C.

Many in the freight and farming sectors are concerned about the impacts these measures on export logistics, particularly after the restrictions led to freight service cancellations during last year’s record grain harvest.

The Council, which came together for the first time yesterday, is chaired by Peter Tuohey, an industry leader and a former president of the Victorian Farmers Federation.

“This group will enable regular communication across the entire rail freight industry, including farmers, freight train operators, port managers and V/Line,” Mr Tuohey said.

“The council will be ideally placed to provide expert advice to V/Line on operational requirements, heat and temporary speed restrictions and rail freight project delivery including the Murray Basin Rail Project.”

ARA praises Senate report into national rail manufacturing plan

A recent report from the federal Senate’s Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee has been welcomed by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) for its call for a national rail manufacturing plan and a coordinated rail procurement strategy.

The report details the committee’s investigation into methods of government procurement and policy for the purpose of improving efficiency, competitiveness, continuity of work, and the “capability” of the rail manufacturing industry.

Danny Broad, CEO of the ARA, said he was pleased that the inquiry’s focus on the importance of maximising the benefits of the Australian rail manufacturing industry echoed the ARA’s National Industry Plan detailed in its own September report.

“The nine recommendations from the Senate Committee further validate the importance of State, Territory and Commonwealth Government’s getting behind a National Rail Plan to ensure there is greater rail coordination nationally,” Broad said.

“The ARA thanks the Committee for acknowledging the ARA’s efforts in putting together a truly national plan and looks forward to its continued support.”

The Senate report states that, in order to reap the maximum benefits from an expected $46 billion investment in rail over the next decade, a “National Rail Manufacturing Plan” would have to include a mechanism to “smooth out the peaks and troughs in market demand and create more certainty and predictability for manufacturers servicing the rail industry”.

Further, a “National Rail Procurement Strategy” needs to be developed, according to the report. This would be achieved, it states, by the federal government working in coordination with all states and territories, each of which would provide procurement contract measures that “allow for the development of industrial capabilities for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)”.

This strategy would include the maximisation of local content for the manufacture of passenger, freight and light rail rolling stock, and of the various “financial and non-financial costs and benefits of each project”.

The report also promotes the establishment of a Commonwealth coordinating body that would drive the Plan and Procurement strategy, and the re-establishment of a “Rail Supplier Advocate” to promote the rail industry in dealing with Commonwealth, state and territory governments and industry bodies.

The coordinating body would work directly with the rail manufacturing supply chain in developing and expanding industry capability networks.

The strategy would also require the federal government help cultivate critical skills in the rail sector by working with state and territory governments, and the rail industry, to develop Rail Industry Skills Centres at local TAFEs and colleges.

Federal Opposition transport and infrastructure Spokesman Anthony Albanese supported the report’s call for a national coordinated procurement strategy for rail.

“Under current arrangements states are doing their own thing on procurement, with 36 different train models in our public transport fleet, many being purchased overseas,” Albanese said.

“We must standardise the rolling stock platform used in this country instead of designing a new model each time a government decides to acquire new trains or trams.

Action must be taken to preserve the strategic capabilities of Australian rail manufacturing.”

Lyon to leave IPA

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia will seek a new chief executive officer, after Brendan Lyon announced he will leave the lobby group next year.

Lyon will depart at the end of his current contract in the second quarter of 2018, after a decade as chief executive.

“While I will be sad to leave next year, after a decade it’s time for me to seek new opportunities and I am very grateful to the board for their support as I move on to my next role,” Lyon said on October 16.

“IPA is a very different organisation to what it was a decade ago, with a clear mandate, solid resources and very skilled professional staff and I am looking forward to seeing a new CEO appointed to take IPA even further.”

IPA chairman Adrian Kloeden said Lyon – who plans to seek roles in business – had been a crucial piece of the body’s development over the past ten years.

“In his decade as CEO, Brendan has led IPA from a tiny start-up, into one of Australia’s most respected and successful public policy organisations,” Kloeden said.

“Brendan has been an outstanding CEO and we will miss his leadership, passion and skill, but we support his decision and look forward to seeing him move to a senior role in business, next year.

“Until then, it will be business as usual for IPA.”

Kloeden said Lyon’s impact on infrastructure policy during his time at IPA had been “deep, positive and sustained”.

He said IPA was well prepared to find a new CEO.

“We expect a strong field of candidates,” Kloeden concluded.

Tram platform upgrade. Photo: Yarra Trams

This is what our cities need to do to be truly liveable for all

COMMENT: The challenge of creating liveable communities across Australia’s capital cities comes down to seven key factors. And assessed on this basis, parts of our cities don’t fare so well, Julianna Rozek and Billie Giles-Corti write.


Urban planners, governments and developers are increasingly interested in making cities “liveable”. But what features contribute to liveability? Which areas in cities are the least and most liveable? The various liveability rankings – where Australia tends to do quite well – don’t provide much useful guidance.

In a recently released report, Creating Liveable Cities in Australia, our team defined and produced the first baseline measure of liveability in Australia’s capital cities.

We broke down liveability into seven “domains”: walkability, public transport, public open space, housing affordability, employment, the food environment, and the alcohol environment. This definition is based on what we found to be critical factors for creating liveable, sustainable and healthy communities.

Each of the liveability domains is linked by evidence to health and wellbeing outcomes. They are also measurable at the individual house, suburb and city level. This means we can compare areas within and between cities.

While all seven domains are important, three are explored here in more detail.


In liveable cities, streets and neighbourhoods are designed to encourage walking instead of driving. Homes, jobs, shops, schools and other everyday destinations are within easy walking distance of each other. The street network is convenient for pedestrians, with high-quality footpaths, short blocks, few cul-de-sacs and higher-density housing.

Walkability is an important factor in liveability because it promotes active forms of transport. Increasingly physically inactive and sedentary lifestyles are a global health problem, and contribute to around 3.2 million preventable deaths a year. In Australia, 60% of adults and 70% of children and adolescents do not get enough exercise.

We measured walkability using a combination of features that are linked to health benefits. Our “walkability index” included housing density, access to everyday destinations and street connectivity within 1,600 metres of a residence. This is a commonly used “walkable” distance, equivalent to about 20 minutes’ walk, and features within this affect how likely a person is to walk.

However, walkable neighbourhoods achieve their full potential only when residents have easy access to employment – particularly by public transport.

Public transport

Liveable cities promote public transport use instead of driving. Most homes are within easy walking distance of transport stops, and services are frequent enough to be convenient.

Good access to public transport supports community health in two ways: by encouraging walking and by reducing dependence on driving.

Australian cities have largely been designed for cars, at the cost of community health. Each hour spent driving can increase a person’s risk of obesity by around 6%. Road-traffic accidents are the eighth-leading cause of death and disability globally, and one of the leading causes of death in Australians up to the age of 44.

Cars are also a major source of urban air pollution and noise, which are harmful to mental and physical health.

In previous work, our team found that people were more likely to walk for transport if they had a public transport stop within 400 metres of their home. The service frequency was also important – it needed to be least every 30 minutes on a normal weekday.

In Creating Liveable Cities in Australia we used this combined measure to map the percentage of homes in a suburb, local government area, or city with close access to frequent public transport.

Click to enlarge. Source: Creating Liveable Cities in Australia

Public open space

In liveable communities, most people live within walking distance of a green, publicly accessible open space such as a park, playground or reserve.

Green space has many physical and mental health benefits for people, and social and environmental benefits for communities. Parks provide opportunities for physical activity, such as jogging, ball sports and dog walking.

Increasingly, research is finding clear links between living in neighbourhoods with lots of parks and higher physical activity.

Urban green spaces are also important for plants and animals displaced by urban development and provide other environmental benefits. The cooling effect of trees and green spaces can play an important part in maintaining the liveability of Australian cities, particularly as heatwaves in Melbourne and Sydney are likely to reach 50°C by 2040.

In soon-to-be-published work, having access to a public open space within 400 metres (about a five-minute walk) of at least 1.5 hectares in area was associated with recreational walking.

For this report, we struggled to find a dataset of public open space that was consistent and available nationally. Some areas have high-quality data available from previous research projects or local councils, and satellite imagery provides useful information about tree cover.

However, national data standards are needed to enable cities to benchmark and monitor their progress in meeting liveability targets.

The liveable city is greater than the sum of its parts

The phrase “liveable city” conjures up a vision of leafy streets, happy residents walking, cycling or catching public transport, and children playing in neighbourhood parks. This image, while inspiring, is not useful for urban planners and governments who are working to make cities more liveable.

Distilling liveability into seven domains, which can be measured and are linked to health and wellbeing outcomes, provides policymakers and practitioners with what they need to ensure we maintain and enhance the liveability of our cities as they grow.


The Conversation logo

Julianna Rozek is Research Officer, Healthy Liveable Cities Group, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University and Billie Giles-Corti is Director, Urban Futures Enabling Capability Platform and Director, Healthy Liveable Cities Group, RMIT UniversityThis article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article here.

Your digital edition of the Rail Express September/October Issue is here!

Rail Express is pleased to release its 2017 September/October Issue, along with a special supplement on Freight Rail.

Click here to read Rail Express, September/October 2017
Click here to read our special Freight Rail supplement

In our second issue of Rail Express in 2017, we take a look at the cutting edge of this vast and important industry: Signalling & Communications. Around Australia, networks are getting busier, while the environments around them are moving faster, and becoming more complex every day. The job of keeping these networks safe, while also helping them be more efficient, makes this sector one of the most active in the field of research and development, and we take a look at some of the work on the table right now.

We also focus on the explosion of Civil Engineering & Construction taking place in just about every state and territory in Australia, and across the Tasman.

On page 30 we have a case study of some excellent work which has taken place in Sydney’s busy Town Hall station, aimed at improving the concourse and station areas for commuters, while also making maintenance work easier. On page 34 we take a look at the positive signs coming from the market, and on page 35, we profile one of the newest major pieces of work about to take place: Parramatta Light Rail.

Our supplement in this issue focuses on Freight Rail. With intermodal developments popping up around the region, and the wheels finally moving on Inland Rail, could rail soon take a serious bite out of the road industry’s market dominance on key freight routes? We also look at heavy haul rail in the supplement, including ongoing developments in Queensland and Western Australia.

Of course no Rail Express would be complete without our regular coverage of news from all around the region; we cover recent battles between the Queensland Government and the Commonwealth, lots of news out of Infrastructure Australia, and plenty more.

Please enjoy reading this issue. I look forward to engaging with the industry ahead of our next issue, the AusRAIL PLUS special edition, and then we’re on to the event.

Click here to read Rail Express, September/October 2017
Click here to read our special Freight Rail supplement

Instructions: simply use your mouse to drag the pages just like you were reading a magazine. Alternatively, you can use the left and right arrows on your keyboard. To zoom in on a page, use the magnifying glass icon on the bottom centre menu. To download the magazine as a PDF, click the downward arrow icon in the bottom centre menu.

ARA names Next Generation Scholarship winners

The Australasian Railway Association has announced the six rail graduates who have won AusRAIL 2017 Next Generation Scholarships.

ARA boss Danny Broad announced the names last week, saying he was pleased to highlight the innovative ideas of young individuals.

“The ideas of the recipients of the AusRAIL PLUS 2017 Next Generation Scholarship vary from focusing on targeting classrooms, hosting workshops and promoting the rail industry in lecture halls through industry partnerships with schools, TAFE and universities to creating mobile rail gaming apps,” Broad said.

“The winners are commended for their innovative approaches in being able to think about alternative methods of communicating to individuals in a way that promotes the rail industry positively.”

Six rail graduates were selected:

  • Alice Jordan-Baird, Project Advisor, Corporate Affairs & Communications, Transdev
  • Nicola Chung, Rail Networking Analyst, Transport for NSW
  • Asimina Vanderwert, Graduate Engineer, Metro Trains Melbourne
  • Maxim Karpyn, Instrumentation Engineer, Bombardier Transportation Australia
  • Jase Berry, Graduate Engineer/Lam-Thien Vu, Systems Engineer, Shoal Engineering.

Scholarship winners will receive complimentary attendance to the AusRAIL PLUS 2017 Conference and Exhibition, including the Welcome Reception, Exhibition Networking event, RTAA Yellow Tie and Gala Dinners, in November this year.