Safer roadworks, efficient freight in line for latest Govt funding

In News5 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineSeptember 1, 2023

Safer roadworks and more efficient urban freight movement are in line for up to $3.7 million of funding from the second round of Waka Kotahi’s innovation fund, Hoe ki angitū.

The $15 million fund was launched in June 2022 to help accelerate innovative solutions to the country’s transport challenges.

The transport agency received more than 90 applications for the second round of funding.

Fifteen applications have been approved to receive a total of up to $3.7 million in the second funding round.

“Like round one, the response to the challenges set in round two were high quality, with significant potential,” said Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency manager future transport, Lee McKenzie.

“Innovation needs to be at the forefront of how we tackle our transport challenges. We’re a country of thinkers and doers, and every one of these projects has the potential to make a positive and significant impact to our environment and our communities.”

The second funding round asked applicants to respond to three key challenges:

  • Making roadworks safer for workers and other road users
  • Reducing the impact of increased freight in urban environments
  • Improving safety and efficiency for people using different modes of transport in the same space

“The latest projects approved for funding through Hoe ki angitū will contribute to safer, greener, and more efficient transport for now and for generations to come. Kiwi ingenuity will be key to helping find solutions to some of our biggest challenges,” McKenzie said.

“We have some really complex challenges, but we also have an amazing opportunity to do things differently. Hoe ki angitū is all about working together to develop innovative ideas and solutions that have real potential.”

Projects approved for funding in the application round of three transport challenges includes:

Making roadworks safer for workers and other road users

  • $100,000 for the development of a road-worker alerting solution that will monitor vehicles and people at roadworks sites. It will use multiple connected cameras and haptic sensors to alert road workers of risks.
  • $525,163 for further development of an existing tool for use at temporary traffic management sites. The tool combines portable hardware, artificial intelligence and computer vision to alert contractors and the public of risks in real time to achieve safer and smarter roadworks.

Reducing the impact of increased freight in urban environments

  • $208,000 for the development of an eco-friendly, low emission vehicle rental platform for gig economy workers, based around the creation of a hub for storage and rental of e-cargo bikes. The innovation aims to reduce the environmental impact caused by urban deliveries by enabling easy use of clean, on-demand vehicle options for gig workers.
  • $168,000 for the development and testing of a dynamic loading zone that seeks to optimise the use of kerb space in busy environments and improve efficiency and safety for urban freight services. It will use technologies such as inductive power transfer, smart LED lights, and intelligent sensors.

Improving safety and efficiency for people using different modes of transport in the same space

  • $285,550 for the development and improvement of an existing AI-based computer vision technology to proactively detect and address near misses and other dangerous behaviours for a range of transport modes.
  • $199,600 for the development and integration of a navigation system into the Smart Access app to enable users to create safe and efficient routes based on individual abilities and needs. The app will provide a comprehensive solution for tāngata whaikaha disabled people, young families and older people.

In addition to the financial support being provided through Hoe ki angitū, the successful applicants will also be supported by Waka Kotahi with access to data, transport expertise, help to navigate land transport regulations, and support with testing solutions.

Waka Kotahi will announce a third round of challenges in late 2023.