The Waikato Road Asset Technical Accord (RATA) is on the way to its goal of “Achieving best practice road asset management within the Waikato by improving capability, capacity and outcomes through effective collaboration”.
RATA brings together the common needs of participating Waikato Councils to improve the management of their roading assets in a cost-effective and consistent manner. The collaboration is providing opportunities for procurement savings, development of skills and knowledge, and the sharing of innovation and expertise.
In its first twelve months RATA has already achieved significant results for the participating councils with combined saving estimated at over $170,000. The collaboration is also positioning the councils to gain future savings, other asset management benefits and to deliver improved ‘one-network’ transport outcomes.
Dawn Inglis – RATA – Waikato Road Asset Technical Accord
Andrew McKillop – NZ Transport Agency, Planning & Investment
The Waikato Road Asset Technical Accord (RATA) was established by July 2014 with the goal of achieving best practice road asset management within the Waikato by improving capability, capacity and outcomes through effective collaboration.
How was RATA developed?
When the Roading Working Group commenced the project, these were the issues that were brought to light. However, they were open to all possibilities and opportunities.
The key issues raised included:
- The lack of consistency of road user experience as they drove the networks (where drivers could easily tell when they travelled across boundaries between Territorial Local Authority (TLA) boundaries).
- The need to retain local knowledge of roading networks by local staff, to be able to respond to customer issues with full knowledge of the area.
- There was some concern over the confidence in the validity of forward works programmes being proposed and delivered.
- The lack of robust benchmarking due to varied data collection regimes and practices, as this was seen as important in identifying and exploring best practice in the sector.
The Roading Working Group commissioned a ‘stocktake’ survey that collected information from each Council on their existing asset management practices, road classification hierarchies, levels of service, service delivery arrangements and collaborative activities.
This stocktake provided a better understanding of the delivery of transport outcomes and identified four areas of opportunity for more in-depth investigation by the Road Advisory Group (comprising a representative from each Council). The four areas were Road Classifications & Level of Service, Asset Management Information Systems, Data Collection, and Efficient Procurement.
These initial phases of investigative work provided the foundation for the development of a collaboration business case that was facilitated by the Road Efficiency Group (REG).
What was the funding model used?
Each Council has promised to invest approximately $23,000 for the first year of RATA and intend to continue this level of investment into future years.
The NZ Transport Agency have agreed to provide funding of $250,000 over two years to show their support for RATA, subject to achieving performance criteria and cost savings.
These were the key lessons learned
- Stakeholders needed to spend time and effort finding alignment to identify and solve common issues while building personal relationships and breaking down the barriers to collaboration.
- That there is strength in numbers and that they can achieve better results and better value together than separately.
- To work successfully the project required a strong vision, commitment and leadership from Mayors and senior Council officers. This included frequent meetings and involvement in the governance and implementation.
Don’t miss your chance to hear from Dawn Inglis, a key member of the RATA- Waikato Road Asset Technical Accord. Dawn will be sharing his learnings from executing the RATA project and the lessons that Australia can take-away from it. Dawn will be presenting his case study at the 8th Annual Road Engineering and Maintenance Conference, 14th & 15th May 2019, Sydney.