Features, Tech Talk, Telematics

Creating safer roads and more efficient operators

By Anthony Laras, national manager for transport, Teletrac Navman

Data is the lifeblood of modern transport business, who can achieve compliance, efficiency, and better driver behaviour by having information at their fingertips.

Smart OBM is one of these data tools operators now have, along with telematics monitoring applications (TMA), to meet their safety and efficiency goal. Smart OBM and TMA are a regulatory requirement across many of our Australian states, but being a part of them shouldn’t be seen as just something you have to do to get access to the road network. 

Most operators would be familiar with the concepts of Smart OBM and TMA, which use digital technology to collect and transmit the mass of axle groups and then calculate the gross vehicle mass in a reliable and standard way.

Smart OBM and TMA are critical tools for government agencies and industry bodies to provide a way to offer assurance around heavy vehicle access to the state road network. As we have seen, Smart OBM monitors the mass of a vehicle combination’s axle groups, while TMA records important positional information, which can provide valuable insights into truck movements.

Smart OBM and TMA, and regulatory programs or schemes in general, aren’t just about increasing payloads.

Operator obligations

Under the NHVR’s Chain of Responsibility (CoR), operators are obligated to provide a safe working environment for everyone involved in the supply chain. Smart OBM can help operators meet these obligations by providing an exact measurement of the gross vehicle mass in real-time.

By having this information at their fingertips – and allowing the driver to know what the vehicle’s axle loadings are – Smart OBM can empower anyone who forms a function of the CoR and transport chain to meet their obligations, stay within the law, and provide a safe working environment. 

Case  study – Bulky goods operator

Smart OBM and TMA, and regulatory programs or schemes in general, aren’t just about increasing payloads – although that’s an important benefit. Operators can also boost their efficiency by using Smart OBM effectively, as one of our customers, a bulk dry and liquid transport operator serving the mining, sugar, cement, and fertiliser industries found.

The challenge faced by the company was the fact its vehicles were not allowed to return via a specific road after completing a haul because of the load rating of the route. This meant its drivers had to detour 8 kilometres along an approved High Mass Limit route to get back to base, something which increased fuel use, reduced efficiency, and contributed to wear and tear on the vehicles.

The company approached the road managers and jurisdiction about using a more direct route back to base, however the authority was reluctant to allow this variation in operations due to concerns about bridge infrastructure in the area. 

The operator then subsequently proposed fitting On-Board Mass systems within their vehicles, giving it the ability to prove its vehicles were unladen on the return trip to base and therefore complying with the maximum allowable mass limits for the road.

The jurisdiction/road managers agreed to allow the company to implement the solution using Smart OBM, which had several benefits for the company, including reduced travel time, a lowering of fuel usage and a fall in operating costs.

By being able to access the Higher Mass Limit road back to base, the operator was also able to plan for an additional 2.5 tonnes per payload. Based on 14,000 loads per month, it completed 420,000 extra trips per year and save the equivalent of 12,500 overall trips. 

This example demonstrates how smart OBM not only helps with compliance, but also contributes to efficiency and productivity gains by allowing access to previously restricted routes. This would not have been possible without the real-time monitoring and data streaming allowed by Smart OBM and TMA.


Most jurisdictions in Australia now mandate operators use Smart OBM and TMA on vehicles for access to specific conditions, schemes, or programs. The added benefit for government is the data collected allows authorities in those states and territories to have a better understanding of how their road infrastructure is used and then plan accordingly. 

Governments can also fix roads needing maintenance, something which isn’t possible without good, reliable data on how those roads are being used. As a result, all road users benefit from safer infrastructure, and operators become more efficient and safer.

Need advice on your Smart OBM and TMA requirements? Talk to your Teletrac Navman representative. 

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