The heavy vehicle industry is in a period of growth, with Australia’s road freight task accelerating at almost twice the rate of our population and expected to increase 80 per cent by 2030.
To support our growing industry, the NHVR worked with customers and stakeholders to develop the NHVR Heavy Vehicle Productivity Plan, which was released in August last year.
The plan focuses on increased road network access by reducing the need for permits, developing streamlined and practical systems, and recognising advancements in technology.
One year into the plan, we’ve commenced or completed 30 projects listed – we’re starting to see some improvements and I’m looking forward to seeing the benefits of key initiatives that are planned for delivery over the next year.
The Strategic Local Government Asset Assessment Project (SLGAAP) is a key part of the plan. Launched in late-2019, we’ve worked with local road managers to assess more than 300 assets across 74 local government areas in rural and regional Australia.
The project has delivered some immediate access benefits. This includes lifting the 44-tonne mass restriction on the Lilyvale Bridge in the Central Highlands to enable access by Oversize Overmass, and Class 2 (freight carrying) vehicles and enabling previously restricted A-double milk tankers to travel safely across the Greendale Bridge in Bega.
In addition to immediate benefits, the asset information helps deliver improved assessments including using risk mitigation methods (reduced speed, single vehicle travel over bridge) to open up increased access as well as inform infrastructure investment decisions.
The SLGAAP program recently received additional federal government funding, which will enable assessments of up to 1000 assets over the coming three years.
The asset information from SLGAAP is a key part of the NHVR National Spatial Platform which will provide a single national mapping solution and more intelligent routing capabilities.
The platform, planned to be launched early next year, will give industry access to important information on approved routes and road conditions in one location for the first time. The end product will match the thousands of trucks that traverse the country every day with the most suitable and productive road networks.
For road train operators, a new National Road Train Prime Mover Mass and Dimension Notice is in place, following widespread consultation between the NHVR, road managers and industry groups.
The notice delivers benefits including an increase in the use of standardised trailer sets instead of short trailers when operating with a longer prime mover, and providing better options for operators to use existing vehicle combinations more efficiently.
When it comes to rubber hitting the road, the NHVR has been working with industry to deliver an improved approach to tyres to support the increased take up of Performance Based Standards vehicles.
The approach is anticipated to deliver a reduction in costs, delays and practical difficulties that currently exist, and we look forward to continuing to work with industry to implement changes. Moving forward, these changes should also support a move to transition mature PBS designs to the general fleet to enable an increased focus on innovation.
There are many other programs of work underway as we progress the plan over the coming years. I encourage you to keep across the progress on our website, as together we deliver a safer, more efficient and more productive industry.
About the author:
Sal Petroccitto is the CEO of the NHVR.