REG Insights Performance Dashboard
The REG Insights Performance Dashboard.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Road Efficiency Group (REG), in partnership with software specialist Company-X, built the world’s first national roading quality assurance web portal consolidating roading, financial and statistical data. REG Insights gives Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, city and district councils the ability to interrogate data quality and measure performance trends on a national framework. The project took the entire roading sector on a journey and significantly moved it forward in the area of evidence-based decision making.

ABOUT THE ROAD EFFICIENCY GROUP

REG’s work aims to address high variability in service and costs across the national road network.

REG is a collaborative initiative between Waka Kotahi, Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) and the Road Controlling Authorities (RCAs) of New Zealand. REG was formed in 2012 as the authority to implement the recommendations of the broader Road Maintenance Task Force. The REG partnership is focused on delivering change that will transform the transport sector as the network transitions from private vehicle/freight centric to a modern integrated system that includes all modes and available technologies and aligns the objectives of local, regional and central government.

REG exists to support RCAs as they work to understand the changes upon them as described in the Government Policy Statement on land transport or due to challenges within the sector. The success of the REG programme has been the combined partnership of local government and Waka Kotahi promoting the ‘sector to support the sector’, helping RCAs become ‘smarter buyers’ and the partnership’s ability to apply constructive pressure on the sector to improve performance.

THE CHALLENGES

The performance of roads across New Zealand was not standardised and there were inconsistencies across cities and their neighbouring districts.

The Road Maintenance Task Force was formed in 2011 by the Government to identify opportunities to increase the effectiveness of road maintenance. Significant costs and existing business practice were reviewed, in particular asset management, risk management and procurement methods. The REG partnership emerged from this review.

The One Network Road Classification (ONRC) framework divides NZ roads into six categories based on how busy they are, whether they connect to important destinations or are the only route available. ONRC is REG’s framework enabling operational and cultural change in road activity management through a customer-focused, business case approach. ONRC is used in budget bids for the National Land Transport Programme.

THE SOLUTION

REG partnered with Company-X to build the world’s first national roading performance reporting tool in 2015. The REG Insights web portal consolidates roading, financial and other statistical information from a range of sources to provide insight into the performance of the NZ transport sector.

REG and Company-X delivered two major pieces of work in 2021 that added extra functionality to the web portal, moving it well beyond Performance Measures reporting. Additional data quality reporting against a suite of 63 data quality metrics came first, then RCA performance reporting.

The import of data for every RCA in the country sparked a national data quality project, which emerged from an airplane conversation between Company-X co-founder and director Jeremy Hughes and REG Data Sub Group chair Dawn Inglis. They imagined a future where users could interrogate the quality of the data behind performance measures reports and discover how reliable the data is. Dawn asked Company-X to research best practice in how to measure data quality and recommend to the REG Data Sub Group of industry subject matter experts, now the REG Evidence and Insights Work Group, how to proceed.

Jeremy built a team, including an information science masters graduate, to research the best direction to take the data quality project. The team chose three dimensions - accuracy, completeness and timeliness - and developed 63 metrics to measure and report on the roading data. The latest phase completed in 2021 involved reporting data quality metrics for State Highway regions and fine tuning the initial metrics previously delivered.

Also in 2021, RCA reporting in an online interactive dashboard was added to the cloud-based REG Insights platform to help decision makers understand transport value using metrics, ratings and scores on service performance and outcomes. As well as publishing data from the Crash Analysis System (CAS), Road Asset and Maintenance Management (RAMM), and RCAs themselves, the new RCA reports pull data from multiple sources including Stats NZ, Transport Investment Online and Waka Kotahi Open Data Portal. This is a world first.

REG Insights is used by every RCA in NZ from Waka Kotahi to the Department of Conservation, and every city and district council.

Company-X use Agile software development methodologies, with a product owner and beta testers, to get early feedback at every stage of the design and development process. Pieces of work were delivered in two-week development sprints using SCRUM. Changes were deployed into REG Insights at regular intervals. The centralised publication of data quality reports and RCA reporting in REG Insights has helped change the industry attitude and culture.

REG Insights Data Quality
REG Insights Data Quality portal.

THE RESULTS

REG Insights is innovative because it is the world’s first national roading quality assurance web portal consolidating roading, financial and statistical data, according to University of Auckland Faculty of Engineering Senior Lecturer in Civil and Environmental Engineering Dr. Theuns Henning.

The NZ national classification system used by every RCA for investment planning, ONRC, which REG Insights is built around, is unique in the world; no other country has developed a national roading framework. Using REG Insights, each RCA can compare the state of their roads in comparison to other roads across the country. The outcome is that investment is directed to where it is needed most, benefiting road users.

The data quality framework now included in REG Insights is also unique in the world. The framework consists of a suite of metrics that interrogates a targeted sample of the data that supports our asset management processes. There is a separate suite of metrics for RCAs (including Department of Conservation) and Waka Kotahi. Many of the metrics are common across both, however, there are a small number which differ due to either a difference in the data source or asset portfolio. Each metric has been selected to test a cross-section of the data looking at data quality in terms of accuracy, completeness and timeliness. Company-X is continually evolving and enhancing the data quality framework to provide more meaningful results to users.

REG’s approach to this entire project is unique, packed with strong leadership and clear vision on the way forward, to lead data-driven improvement in the transport sector. REG Insights is also unique because it has become a source of truth, or ‘one stop shop’, for the NZ transport sector for annual and long-term reporting and funding.

“New Zealand is in a much better position and has a much clearer appreciation of where we stand with regards to network performance from a national perspective.”

University of Auckland Faculty of Engineering Senior Lecturer in Civil and Environmental Engineering Dr. Theuns Henning

"There's that old adage about what gets measured gets done. In doing this work, we are clear on performance around different components in the network, the value for money on the investment that goes in, and we have an understanding of how competent the sector is.”

Chief Executive of Waimakariri District Council and REG Chair Jim Harland

“The mere fact that we would even do this was seen to be extraordinarily impossible. Yet here we are. People are putting a lot of their own time into this project.”

Former LGNZ chief executive and REG Governor Malcolm Alexander


Services Provided
Business analysis, Database design, Help and support desk, User interface design, Web app development
Technologies Used
HTML/CSS, JavaScript, ASP.Net, Microsoft Azure