Southland District Council Economic Network Plan

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Transport infrastructure around the world is facing increased pressure from traffic growth, changing land use, higher service level expectations, increasing costs and competing funding needs. Facing these pressures, the Southland District Council in New Zealand needed a plan to reset their roading network to be economically fit and ensure sustainability during a time of funding volatility.

    Location: New Zealand
    Region: Asia Pacific
    Service Offering: Management Consulting
    Market Sector: Transportation
    Status: Complete

    MWH worked with the Council to model the outcomes of their network in a review of existing transport infrastructure using the Economic Network Plan (ENP). MWH developed ENP as a new investment planning approach that focuses on the basic principle of the road’s core purpose and inserts this into the funding decision-making process. This process enables authorities and governments to optimise transport networks by promoting smart network investment decisions.

    ENP is a tool that combines the standard measures typically used with transport decisions, integrating economic data, geographic databases and modelling tools to visually present a robust rationale for making expenditure decisions.

    This approach helped the Council build a more robust business case for transport infrastructure investment that could be explained clearly to the community, users and funders. It also demonstrated that investment in community connectivity, safety, recreation and the environment is ongoing.

    The achievement of outcomes, rather than investment solely in asset preservation and funding, was the focus of the work, along with ensuring the local community, commercial operators, ratepayers and users received the level of service needed.

    • Developed approach to optimise investment across a 5,000km road network, 700km state highway network and 1,000 bridges
    • Identified investment efficiency gain of 30% in maintenance and renewals expenditure as a result of comparing flow of export value across network with whole-of-life cost of owning assets
    • Focused on reprioritizing funds from under-utilized portions of the roading network to over utilized portions – a win-win for customer service and efficient investment planning
    • Allowed investors to prolong pavement asset life up to 5 to 10 years before rehabilitation, which is the single most costly intervention in roading with the network’s typical rehabilitation reaching $300,000/km
    • Used as a communication mapping tool to allow for color-coded road sections on maps to readily map intervention plans, rework and interventions, flood events, crash zones and higher event restoration management
    • Enabled improved forecasting and planning
    • Empowered road controlling authorities to communicate spending decisions on economic facts
    • Provided rapid understanding of the financial impacts of future scenarios and how to mitigate or support them

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    Southland New Zealand
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