PBS review needed in 2019: NTC
The National Transport Commission has recommended Australia’s PerformanceBased Standards be revised by July next year
THE NATIONAL TRANSPORT
COMMISSION (NTC) has recommended Australia’s Performance-Based Standards (PBS) be revised by July next year in a bid to attract more industry interest in the scheme.
The recommendation is one of four made by the group in a report into the scheme which was approved by state and territory transport ministers in a meeting held last month.
First developed in 2007, the PBS scheme was designed to help deliver further productivity without developing further infrastructure – encouraging industry to develop innovative vehicles that could carry a greater volume of products safely.
NTC chief executive Paul Retter says issues such as barriers to access have meant the industry has been reluctant to participate in the scheme.
Specifically, industry uncertainty as to whether a vehicle will be approved to access a particular route was identified as the “single biggest barrier to the take-up of the PBS Scheme”, the report says.
“Respondents also reported that they can easily manage popular vehicle types through the PBS process, but truly innovative ideas are put in the ‘too-hard basket’.”
The standards were also inflexible – and did not take into account modern solutions, such as anti-lock braking systems – to old problems.
The NTC says that a change to the standards recommending that they be reviewed and revised by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) by July 2019, and that they continue to be revised every seven years.
An NHVR spokesman tells ATN the regulator is keen to see a review, and is “reasonably confident” that it would be able to meet the target.
Retter says a key recommendation from the review was for states and territories to allow as-of-right access for PBS-certified vehicles to operate on PBS-declared road networks, rather than having to constantly seek approval.
“There are currently around 16,000 separate PBS registered trucks, trailers and buses which address some of the unique freight and environmental challenges we face in Australia, and we hope that these changes will allow the scheme to continue to grow,” he says.
The report also recommended state and territory governments formally identify which roads were open to which type of vehicle – single articulated trucks, B-doubles and double and triple road trains, by July 2021 to help save time in the application process.
The NTC also recommended that the NHVR work with Austroads to compare the methodologies used to assess infrastructure across Australia in order to build a nationally consistent assessment methodology by July 2020.
The NTC will now work with road managers, the NHVR and Austroads to implement the recommendations of the review.