The 2022 RIMS Forum has been kicked off with inspiring and thought-provoking presentations on the topic of how the roading infrastructure management industry can tackle the carbon equation! From strategy, to purpose, and from theoretical to practical, the presentations on Day 1 gave us a real insight into the work taking place in central and local government, as well as by consultants and contractors.

Thank you to our keynotes, presenters, sponsors and exhibitors for everything shared at the first day of the conference. We look forward to day two!

Priyani de Silva-Currie, Beca, encouraged us to find our why, a statement of purpose, to help us stay motivated in the work that we’re doing. Touching on her family’s why, and her own personal motivations, Priyani asked the audience, what changes can you make, to help move the world towards a better future.

Dr Theuns Henning, University of Auckland, shared eye-opening insights into our ‘carbon economy’. With so much funded by the consumption of fossil fuels, we need to seriously change the way we tackle carbon and its consumption, not just by offsetting it but by changing our behaviour. We need to introduce guidelines and standards in carbon reduction as well as policy that is clear and adoptable.

Lisa Rossiter, Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency, highlighted Waka Kotahi’s targets of a 41% reduction in transport emissions by 2035, coupled with the need to ‘leave nobody behind’ in Aotearoa. How do we make low carbon, safe and healthy options equitable and available to all?

Dr Phillipa O’Shea, Downer, demonstrated in her presentation how every country, and every location has a different carbon journey. Downer assesses the CO2 emissions for road maintenance activities to better understand their carbon footprint and impact over the life cycle of each treatment method. By creating ‘maintenance recipes’ we can optimise the carbon footprint of each activity, in any different location.

Michaela Williams and Gemma Wadworth, ASM, introduced how baseline carbon emissions have been created for Auckland’s motorway network in order to help measure and improve the networks’s footprint. By identifying where emissions are coming from, it results in the ability to cut them. Sharing their experiences in doing this for the first time, they highlighted the intense work to manually capture the data as well as the need for leadership teams to make this a real priority.

Bridget Doran, MRCagney, concluded the day with her ‘doom and gloom’ yet funny and uplifting take on the world and what asset managers can do to ‘do good’. She emphasised how the world depends on balance, and how currently the balance is being tipped. In order to reduce emissions, Bridget highlighted the need for people driven prioritisation, so that everyone can participate in their local community, therefore having a positive impact on emissions. Inclusive access to this is vital.

Under 35 Presentations – thank you to our under 35s for their presentations! Hearing from the sector’s leaders of tomorrow was inspiring and filled us with hope for the future of the industry!

Shahaanan Arulgnanapragasm, WSP, shared the work being completed to ensure commuters have confidence in the pathway network. Mode shifts from vehicles to walking and cycling would have an impact on mitigating emissions, however, ensuring that footpaths are up to the task is vital. This can be achieved through technology, including A.I for data collection.

Niro Satkunarajah, Downer, spoke about the greener outcomes achieved by smarter planning, innovation and collaboration in a recent project on Manakau Road, Auckland. By maximising efficiencies, carefully planning work and reducing disruptions, this project had a major impact on the potential carbon emissions.

Willy Silcock, Fulton Hogan, addressed how resurfacing operations have a large carbon footprint and how smarter programming can help to reduce emissions. A calculator developed and introduced at Fulton Hogan helps teams to work out the potential carbon emissions, therefore enabling the determination of potential carbon savings.

Rashmi Perera, Fulton Hogan, shared a real life example of a roading section in Aotearoa, that has been visited for maintenance 7 times in 13 years! By using data to look at the emissions linked to the trips to and from site, as well as being on site, Fulton Hogan can reduce carbon emissions by choosing smarter materials, therefore reducing the need for visits to site. Congratulations to Rashmi for winning our Best Under 35 Presentation Award!

So, kia ora and thank you to all our fantastic presenters, those above as well as those from the IPWEA NZ family for sharing the work taking place to improve asset management and build sustainable communities!