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The winners of the National Transport Research Awards 2020 are...

by Australian Road Research Board on November 20, 2020

The National Transport Research Awards celebrate and recognise research excellence across the transport sector.

The 2020 awards were held and presented via a virtual awards broadcast on Thursday 19 November. 

Watch the replay here!

The annual awards, hosted by the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) – Australia’s National Transport Research Organisation - recognise the great work that has been done in Australia’s roads, transport and mobility sector during what has been a most challenging year in 2020.

Winning one of these prestigious awards reflects talent across the transport industry and leadership in shaping our transport future.

The judging panel included:

  • Ms Julia Page, Managing Director and CEO of the Victorian Endowment for Science, Knowledge and Innovation (VESKI)
  • Dr Mary Lydon, immediate past Director of the Centre for Automotive Safety Research and former general manager of research at ARRB
  • Dr Gary Dolman, PSM, immediate past Head of Bureau, Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development
  • Mr Praveen Reddy, Executive Director, Freight Victoria, Department of Transport
  • Awards Convenor: Dr Mike Shackleton, Chief Research Officer at ARRB.

The award winners were:

Lifetime Contribution Award

Lex Vanderstaay
Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads

Headshot-Liftime-Winner National Transport Research Awards - Lex Vanderstaay

The adjudicators noted that as always, this was the hardest category to judge as all four nominees meet the criteria for the Lifetime Award. They selected Lex Vanderstaay has shown on the basis of his dedication to excellence and innovation throughout his career of over 50 years. He has been responsible for many initiatives to improve the transport system and has also inspired others to continue to look for the next improvement.


Research Rising Star Award (joint winners)

Dr Amy Killen
Monash University

Headshot-Rising-Star-Winner-02 National Transport Research Awards Amy Killen

Dr Negin Zhalehjoo 
Australian Road Research Board

Headshot-Rising-Star-Winner-01 National Transport Research Awards Negin Zhalehjoo

The judges said that: Dr Zhalehjoo stands out because of her ability and willingness to embrace both the rigour of scientific research and the adaptation required to use that research in practice.

They also felt that Dr Killen's effort to tackle an issue that that many would regard as low-profile, but which causes millions of dollars in unnecessary expense, was in its own way revolutionary. This was designing the urban rail network to reduce vandalism.


Sustainable Transport Infrastructure Award

East Boundary Road Crumb Rubber Asphalt Demonstration Trial 
ARRB, the Department of Transport Victoria, Tyre Stewardship Australia
& the Australian Asphalt Pavement Association


This involved the trial of different mixes of crumb rubber asphalt on a well-trafficked road in Melbourne’s south-east – East Boundary Road in Bentleigh. The judges felt that the crumb rubber demonstration asphalt trial is a perfect example of what can be achieved when a group of diverse organisations work together to challenge established methods. The results have the potential to produce major environmental and economic benefits and also encourage others to look for even more innovative solutions.


Research-Industry Partnership Award

Mobile Phone Detection Camera
Transport for NSW, technology providers

Headshot-Research-Industry-Winner National Transport Research Awards Transport for NSW

Transport for NSW are the winners of this award because this award recognises that the Transport for NSW-led team did not let diverse legal, political and social barriers get in the way of trying to minimise the impact of a growing social and road safety problem – mobile phone use by drivers. They were also unafraid to contemplate and adopt significant technical innovations. The solution they have adopted has great potential for implementation in other jurisdictions.


Local Government Innovation Award

Edge sealing of asphalt repairs
Gold Coast City Council

Headshot-Local-Gov-Winner National Transport Research Awards Gold Coast City Council

This entry shows that innovation can be both simple and effective; the vital ingredient is just having a go, as Gold Coast Council have done. Whilst the improved method for edge sealing asphalt repairs will be largely invisible to the travelling public it will have significant benefits in improving the safety and comfort of travel, reducing costs and reducing the frequency of roadworks.

Guest speaker at the virtual awards presentation was Madeleine McManus OAM - the Director of Industry Engagement for the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of IT at Monash University.

Other speakers included Michael Caltabiano, Chief Executive Officer, ARRB, and Neil Scales OBE, Deputy Chair of ARRB, and Director-General of Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads.

This is the second annual National Transport Research Awards hosted by ARRB, with hopes that the awards will return to a full-scale in-person event in 2021.

You can register your interest for the 2021 National Transport Research Awards by clicking here.

Topics: Future Transport, Australian Road Research Board, Road Safety, Road Infrastructure