PBS scheme leads in­no­va­tion

Bet­ter-per­form­ing trucks the key to safer haulage

Big Rigs - - COLUMN - RE­FORM LEADER SAL PETROC­CITTO Na­tional Heavy Ve­hi­cle Reg­u­la­tor, CEO

THE link be­tween Aus­tralia’s 400-plus road man­agers, heavy ve­hi­cle op­er­a­tors and the NHVR is vi­tal to heavy ve­hi­cle pro­duc­tiv­ity and safety across Aus­tralia.

Road man­agers are re­spon­si­ble for the move­ment of two bil­lion tonnes of freight around Aus­tralia ev­ery year.

Heavy ve­hi­cles are usu­ally on lo­cal roads to ei­ther take ma­te­ri­als and con­sum­able items into com­mu­ni­ties or take out things grown or man­u­fac­tured.

Last week, the NHVR hosted en­gi­neers rep­re­sent­ing more than 60 road man­agers to dis­cuss ac­cess is­sues, the grow­ing role of high-pro­duc­tiv­ity ve­hi­cles, the chal­lenges of as­sess­ing roads and bridges for ac­cess and suc­cess sto­ries that come from open­ing up net­works for heavy ve­hi­cle use.

Coun­cils shared the steps they were tak­ing to re­duce per­mit ap­pli­ca­tion vol­umes by in­creas­ing the num­ber of pre-ap­proved routes or join­ing with nearby coun­cils to es­tab­lish net­works for ma­jor lo­cal in­dus­tries. Some coun­cils were work­ing across borders to es­tab­lish con­sis­tency for as­sess­ment soft­ware.

High qual­ity map­ping of lo­cal net­works is vi­tal so road man­agers can bet­ter plan for freight move­ments and re­spond to ac­cess re­quests quickly and con­sis­tently.

There was sig­nif­i­cant dis­cus­sion around in­no­va­tion, in par­tic­u­lar the role of high-pro­duc­tiv­ity Per­for­mance Based Stan­dards ve­hi­cles. For ex­am­ple, some road man­agers were sur­prised to learn a 30-me­tre PBS A-dou­ble had a smaller swept path at an in­ter­sec­tion than a 26m B-dou­ble.

For more than a decade, the PBS scheme al­lowed heavy ve­hi­cle op­er­a­tors to use in­no­va­tion to achieve greater pro­duc­tiv­ity and im­proved safety. At the same time PBS ve­hi­cles are re­duc­ing the im­pact on the environment and in­fra­struc­ture.

Re­cent stud­ies showed PBS ve­hi­cles are in­volved in 46 per cent fewer crashes per kilo­me­tre trav­elled than con­ven­tional ve­hi­cles. They de­liver sub­stan­tial en­vi­ron­men­tal and com­mu­nity ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing sav­ings of an es­ti­mated 135 mil­lion litres of fuel a year and no­tably less im­pact on roads and bridges. These sav­ings will con­tinue as the size of the PBS fleet grows.

Dur­ing the sem­i­nar the NHVR re­leased two im­por­tant re­sources to as­sist road man­agers to as­sess PBS ac­cess to the net­work. The PBS Ve­hi­cle Con­fig­u­ra­tions chart showed 32 com­mon com­bi­na­tions ap­proved un­der PBS.

A new book­let, PBS–A guide for Road Man­agers, pro­vided more de­tailed in­for­ma­tion and ex­am­ples to as­sist road man­agers un­der­stand the ben­e­fits of PBS ve­hi­cles on the roads. Both are avail­able at www.nhvr.gov.au

Over­all, the key to the dis­cus­sion around ac­cess was the im­por­tance of shar­ing knowl­edge about stream­lin­ing the process.

PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

WIN­NING SCHEME: PBS ve­hi­cles are re­duc­ing the im­pact on the environment and road in­fra­struc­ture.

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