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What is SPARC Hub?

by Australian Road Research Board on April 15, 2019

SPARC Hub screens

SPARC Hub is the Smart Pavements Australia Research Collaboration Hub.

It aims to make road, airport and dockyard pavements smart, low cost, long-lasting, safe, green and adaptable to future transport demands. Australia’s $300 billion road network, the basic infrastructure upon which the nation depends for its economic and social prosperity, is currently at risk of degradation due to increased passenger and freight traffic, and a scarcity in materials and expertise scarcity. Our roads are currently unprepared to meet these future demands.

The Hub will undertake transformative research for future-proofing the pavement industry and innovating next generation pavements through five main themes, including:

  • Innovative materials, modelling and design
  • Smart sensing, and construction and maintenance monitoring
  • Pavement rehabilitation, environmental footprint minimisation and infrastructure resilience
  • Future transport demand adaptation and safety
  • Advanced design and construction specification, test methods and smart integrated asset management.

The Hub will deliver new materials and modelling, smart construction, and rehabilitation systems required for future demands, while improving road safety and reducing environmental impact.

The project is a partnership between several industry organisations, peak bodies and universities both local and international.

ARRB is an industry partner in the project.

Led by Professor Jayantha Kodikara of Monash University, the team includes chief investigators from across Monash, including Professor Jeffrey Walker, Professor Hai Vu, Professor Malek Bouazza, Dr Ha Bui, Dr Ye Lu, Dr Yihai Fang, Dr Xu Yang from Civil Engineering, Professor Chiu Wing Kong from Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Dr Andrey Molotnikov from Materials Science and Engineering, Professor Mark Wallace and Dr David Albrecht from the Faculty of Information Technology and Dr Selby Coxon from the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture.

SPARC Hub also includes 30 investigators from other Australian and international universities, and researchers from ARRB including Chief Research Officer Dr Mike Shackleton. Twenty industry partners are involved, including ARRB, EIC Activities and Austroads.

“Smart pavements are a critical part of Australia’s connected and automated transport future,” ARRB CEO Michael Caltabiano said. “As the National Transport Research Organisation, ARRB is proud to be a part of the SPARC Hub, delivering next generation pavements to create smarter, safer, greener roads.”

SPARC Hub Director Professor Jayantha Kodikara said: “SPARC will provide the incubation for industry innovation and skill development for future proofing Australia’s position in the pavement industry.”

Professor Elizabeth Croft, Dean of Engineering at Monash, said: “SPARC is well positioned to be a major research platform that delivers transformational innovation to the Australian Pavement Industry and generates significant scientific, economic and societal impact.”

Hub participants include:

INDUSTRY

  • ARRB
  • Austroads Ltd
  • CIMIC Group Ltd
  • Australian Asphalt Pavement Association
  • VicRoads
  • AustStab Ltd
  • Downer EDI Works Ltd
  • Pavement Management Services Pty Ltd
  • Intelligent Security Integration Australia Pty Ltd
  • Melbourne Water
  • Department Of Transport and Main Roads; Logan City Council
  • Global Synthetics Pty Ltd
  • Polyfabrics Australasia Pty Ltd
  • Geofabrics Australasia Pty Ltd
  • Geoexchange Australia Pty Ltd
  • Nantong Ding Feng New Materials Co. Ltd
  • Newcrest Mining Ltd
  • C.F.C. Holdings Pty Ltd
  • Geo-Con Products Pty Ltd

AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITIES:

  • Monash University
  • Swinburne University of Technology
  • RMIT University
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • Curtin University
  • University of Sunshine Coast
  • The University of New South Wales
  • The University of Newcastle

OVERSEAS UNIVERSITIES:

  • Tu Delft University of Technology
  • The University Of Nottingham
  • University Of Pretoria
  • North Carolina State University
  • Indian Institute of Technology
  • The French Institute of Science and Technology for Transport, Spatial Planning, Development and Networks
  • The University of Auckland

Topics: Asset Management, Research, ARRB, Unsealed Roads, Sustainability, Future Transport, Australian Road Research Board, Pavement, Smart cities, Road Infrastructure, Road and Transport Research, Bitumen, Asphalt, Recycled Pavement, Road design