The way forward for Australian Freight Route Mapping
The Mapping Australian freight: SWOT analysis project, saw iMOVE, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts (DITRDCA) and ARRB review the National Key Freight Routes map (KFR), last updated in 2018. The project’s final report is downloadable further down this page.
The objective of the KFR map is to represent the key road and rail routes that connect the nationally significant places for freight in Australia. It is a coordinated initiative by state, territory and Commonwealth governments, in consultation with industry, to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the national land freight system, through which strategic planning, operational and investment decisions relating to the Australian freight network can be better informed.
The task of the iMOVE project was to review the KFR map’s use as a policy tool by examining current and emerging mapping initiatives, and to identify gaps, overlaps and opportunities in this space. The project then provided recommendations for DITRDCA with respect to the future of the map, including any updates and enhancements.
A two-prong approach was undertaken in the work on this project.
- Literature and data review
- Consultation with key stakeholders
Literature and data review
Key considerations in the data review were best practice governance and management (data quality, privacy and security), platforms and tools, and promotion, growth and capability of the data).
In this phase of the review there was a particular focus on the role and possibilities of the enhanced use of the Geographic Information System (GIS) in this task. In short, GIS produces data visualisation in the form of a map. GIS is a crucial tool in the KFR mapping project for the following reasons:
- provides an ability to improve organisational data integration
- enables viewing, questioning, understanding, visualising and interpreting data in many different ways which will reveal relationships, trends and patterns
- helps to inform decision making and solve problems through looking at the data in a way which is easily and quickly shared.
The report makes a number of key recommendations to enable all of the above, including educating the department on the use and possibilities of GIS, and to formalise the process of collaboration it its use and development.
The report makes mention of the fact that DITRDCA is funding the development of a National Service Level Standards (NSLS) framework, introducing drilled-down telemetry information into the GIS mix for the KFR initiative. Information such as a context for road types, and the:
- degree of movement on the road
- road surface
- context in which the road is set/located (e.g. urban or rural)
- significance of the road as a place for people to be
- criticality of the road
- priority customers
In summary, the KFR Map can be improved, through rationalisation and combining all available and relevant datasets, adding layers of information, capturing information from local government, clearly outlining to all interested parties the use and value of the map, and more.
Discussion and recommendations on the literature and data review can be found on pages 19 —29 of the final report.
An online stakeholder survey was developed, with responses from 29 organisations, including Federal departments, state and territory transport agencies, local government associations, researchers, and industry
Questions were primarily multiple choice, complemented with a few questions that were free text. The three key themes of the questions were concerned with:
- Current use
- Future governance
- Potential dataset improvements
Additionally, workshops were held, including one for road agencies, and another for industry.
Key themes for the workshops included:
- Purpose and features
- Governance and KFR definition
- Infrastructure resiliency
- Priority of KFR map layers and maximising the value of available datasets
- Industry use of the KFR map.
- Policy development and advocacy
Returning to the earlier points made regarding the information contained within the KFR map, it was noted that the map is “… rarely used because it does not provide information that is useful to either road managers or industry.”
From the online stakeholder survey and workshops 10 key themes were identified, resulting in seven recommendations pertaining to:
- Contextual information
- Update and enhance the KFR map through inclusion of additional information on the KFR map (with levels of priority outlined)
- KFR determination
- KFR map as a layer on other freight initiatives
- Reference to NSLS framework
- Location, ownership, and maintenance
- Updating the KFR map
In terms of the report’s final recommendations, they include:
- the KFR map continues to be owned and maintained by DITRDCA
- Consideration needs to be given to making the KFR map available as a layer to other freight initiative maps
- provision of contextual information on the KFR map, including an overview of what the KFR visualisation is and its role, along with the role of other freight initiatives.
- The KFR map could better address the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy
Download the report
Download your copy of the final report, Key Freight Route Mapping, by clicking the button below.