More than 80 presentations across all modes of transport, international speakers, and presentations on everything from how we could travel to Mars to a wealth of knowledge on sustainable pavements.
That was the NTRO International Technical Conference in Melbourne. It delivered an impressive array of knowledge across road, rail, ports and airports to nearly 200 delegates from as far afield as India and China.
Day 1 began with a close examination of how we will put human life on Mars and its logistics, plus some important demographic transport insights.
Professor Gordon Cable AM, from Australian National University, presented The Road To Mars - Why It Won't Be Easy, as one of the keynote speakers.
Demographics, map and data expert Simon Kuestenmacher gave some insight into important transport trends, while there were also keynotes from Melissa Radke (Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator), Dr Erik Denneman (Puma Bitumen) on biogenic bitumen, and Paul Younis (Secretary, Victorian Department of Transport and Planning).
Stream sessions on New and Emerging Materials and a look at automated vehicle progress from the Centre for Connected and Automated Vehicles (CCAT) – led by CCAT Executive Director Rahila David - also featured throughout Day 1.
Day 2 took a look at sustainability in the ports and airport sectors, how best practice is being applied across the world’s ports and airports - and what is happening locally in a presentation by 20+ year industry veteran Jason Sprott.
Other topics on the agenda included a presentation on a fast and accurate pavement distress detection method from Dr Yuanhao Guo from China’s RoadMainT Co Ltd, and NTRO’s Johan Cronje discussing how we can measure, manage and monitor airport runway and pavement condition with far less downtime.
The stream sessions delved into technical aspects such as pavement performance modelling, sustainability – including important sessions on infrastructure vulnerability and road design incorporating bushfire resilience, zero emission energy and optimised motorway design. Road Beyond Certainty, led by NTRO Executive Director, Roads, Jeff Doyle, featured fascinating views on future road building and the journey to net zero.
A rail workshop – Rail Beyond Certainty - featured a robot able to carry out rail-related tasks in a safer, more effective manner, while Italian company MERMEC provided interesting discussion on infrastructure measurement for rail.
The final day saw a change of gears - a scene-setting workshop called What Lies Beyond.
It was a choose-your-own-adventure styled workshop, looking at future uncertainties in transport and brainstorming ways to meet these challenges.
An excellent turnout of delegates worked in small groups, led by facilitators Monash University Associate Professors Alexa Delbosc and Joshua Newman, and NTRO’s Sarah Zhang, Jaimi Harrison and Danielle Garton. The session was opened, and the conference closed, by NTRO Chief Research Officer Dr Mike Shackleton.
The next NTRO International Technical Conference has been planned for 2025.