Post COVID-19 economic stimulus will come from local, state and the Australian Governments and major businesses spending to accelerate the delivery of maintenance and projects. Compared to complex mega-projects, shovel-ready small and medium size projects delivered across a large area will ensure that projects are quickly delivered and the benefits distributed to many communities.

Traffic and planning consultants, GTA, recently defined shovel-ready projects as having the following features:

  • Rapid readiness
  • Scalability and/or programmability
  • Pragmatism
  • Job Creation
  • Local Procurement
  • Multiplier Effect
  • Social and Environmental Outcomes

With those principles in mind, SmarterLite and OmniGrip Direct can work with Councils and State Government’s to deliver a range of programs that will provide economic stimulus spending and contribute to local, state and federal policies for safety and the environment. We’ve listed some ideas for programs of shovel ready projects below.

1. High Friction Surface Treatment (Skid Resistance) Program to improve safety on regional highways and urban intersections

High Friction Surface Treatments (HFST) like OmniGrip HF are a proven road safety treatment that reduces run-off road and rear-end crashes, as well as many types of wet-weather crashes. Internationally, it is reported that it can reduce wet-weather crashes by up to 80%.

OmniGrip HF on Forest Road, Knox City Council
OmniGrip HF on Forest Road, Knox City Council

With reduced spending likely for road safety in coming years as major programs like barriers come to an end, preventative measures like HFST come into their own. Known as “soft infrastructure” HFST can be quickly applied at a large scale across the network. Because it is a type of resurfacing program, it is not hamstrung by requirements for approvals, consultation and public engagement.

Applications include:

  • bends on country roads, such as roads winding through hilly and mountainous regions. The high-country of New South Wales and Victoria are obvious examples, as well as the Adelaide Hills, Otways and Goldcoast Hinterland.
  • bends on urban and rural roads through underpasses
  • approaches to pedestrian crossings and school crossings, as is standard practice in the UK
  • approaches to major intersections.

2. Build New Bicycle Lanes and Replace Painted Green Surfaces in Existing Bike Lanes

During COVID-19 related lock-downs, bike shops have recorded record sales. As many people return to bicycle riding as a way of getting around, it seems there will be much higher demand for on-road bicycle facilities that enable riders of all abilities to feel safe and confident when riding.

William Street separated bicycle lane using green OmniGrip CST, in Melbourne City Council
Green OmniGrip CST separated bicycle lane, William Street, Melbourne

Local and State Governments are increasingly realising the benefits of durable coloured safety surfaces like OmniGrip CST over green paint and grit surfaces for green bike lanes.

Cycling Victoria…opposes the continued use of green painted bicycle lanes because of the risk to a rider’s safety in damp, wet or dusty conditions.

Craig Eastwood, General Manager, Cycling Victoria

The case is even stronger if stimulus grants from the Federal Government subsidise the capital cost of building new bicycle lanes. Whereas paints may last only a few years under traffic, OmniGrip CST will last around eight years. With Australian Government funding not likely to be available when the green surface is to be renewed, Councils will be better off using any stimulus payments from State and Federal Governments to apply long-life durable resin and recycled-glass for the green surface of their bicycle lanes.

3. Apply Safer Surfaces for Pedestrian and School Crossings Around All Schools

Yellow slip-resistant surfaces for pedestrian crossings not only improve safety for pedestrians, they increase the visibility of the crossing to approaching drivers and riders. That’s why yellow OmniGrip CST is used at intersections, where right-turning drivers may forgot to look or not see a pedestrian on the road when the driver is actively looking for oncoming cars. The bright yellow crossings is a visual reminder of the potential presence of pedestrians.

When used on mid-block pedestrian crossings and school crossings, yellow surfaces on crossings increase their visibility by being directly in the line of sight of approaching drivers and riders.

As with bicycle lanes, resin based surfaces like OmniGrip CST are much more durable under traffic and will retain their slip-resistance for longer than painted surfaces. Councils can maximise the benefit of any State or Federal stimulus payment to apply durable OmniGrip CST, which will last around eight years.

Yellow OmniGrip CST School Crossing, Serpells Avenue, Manningham City Council
School Crossing in Manningham City Council

OmniGrip Direct can deliver a yellow OmniGrip CST program to pedestrian crossings and school crossings along busy roads and around schools, improving safety for adults and children walking in their community.

4. Renew and Refresh Strip Shopping Centres

Many smaller retails businesses are struggling while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Renewal of suburban strip shopping centres is a way for Councils to assist local retail businesses by improving the appeal of their centres.

Have you made a stroll down to Rosella street to check out our new and improved footpath? ??

Posted by Manningham Business on Monday, 24 February 2020
Rosella Street Shopping Centre, Doncaster East

OmniGrip Direct has worked with Councils such as Glen Eira City Council and Manningham City Council to renew shopping centres and laneways using recycled glass in OmniGrip Deco and OmniGrip CST. Surface improvement projects can refresh an otherwise tired centre or a plain lane, whilst also covering cracks and reducing slipping hazards. The project can quickly be completed after-hours, or while COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, to minimise their impact on trade.

Before and After photo of OmniGrip CST transformation of laneway next to Bentleigh Railway Station
Bentleigh Station Laneway transformed with OmniGrip CST for Glen Eira City Council

5. Improving Pedestrian Safety at Intersections with Traffic Signals

Vivacity LED Safety Tactiles (TGSI) improve the visibility of the red and green ‘man’ at traffic signals, and reduce the likelihood that pedestrians that are either distracted or short-sighted will walk into the path of oncoming motor vehicles. With support from the Victorian Government via a trial on Swanston Street in central Melbourne, Vivacity and OmniGrip Direct have finessed and refined the design for Australian conditions.

Research has shown that pedestrians feel safer at crossings with Vivacity LED Safety Tactiles, and find them easier to see than standard pedestrian lights. The tactiles are connected to the existing traffic lights so they are exactly synchronised. The tactiles can be supplied to Council’s requirements in a range of colours so that the background tile contrasts or matches the existing footpath colours.

Vivacity LED Safety Tactiles Melbourne Swanston Street and Little Collins St
Vivacity LED Safety Tactiles at Swanston Street and Little Collins Street, Melbourne

OmniGrip Direct can install Vivacity LED Safety Tactiles through shopping centres, transport interchanges, university campuses or along shopping strips, helping pedestrians feel safer when walking to local businesses.

Immediate and Ongoing Benefits

OmniGrip’s safety solutions can be quickly applied and will deliver immediate community benefits. Whether it be OmniGrip HF’s 40-80% reduction in crashes, or using OmniGrip recycled-glass or recycled-rubber surfaces to deliver both environmental and safety benefits, the community will gain immediately. In addition to OmniGrip Direct, materials suppliers, linemarkers, traffic management companies and local businesses and their staff will benefit from vital stimulus activity.

More information

For more information about how OmniGrip Direct can contribute to a stimulus program in your community, please speak to our Customer Support Team and check out our product information pages.

For enquiries about installing Vivacity LED Safety Tactiles please call Gary Commane on 0408 583 710.