Local road access for High Productivity Freight Vehicles

Advantia proudly delivered this important research for Austroads, which includes a comprehensive discussion of the main impediments to road access, numerous case studies, and a series of recommendations.

It is a unique challenge for road managers to approve road access for High Productivity Freight Vehicles. Typically a product of the Performance Based Standards Scheme, the larger and heavier road freight vehicles of today have the potential to exceed the geometric and structural capacity of our road system. More often than not, however, barriers to access approval for these vehicles have no basis in infrastructure capacity. Regardless of their basis, barriers must be identified and overcome if Australia’s world-leading progression towards safer and more efficient road freight transport is to continue.

Local road managers are subject to specific challenges not faced by their state and territory counterparts. Those challenges were perhaps not sufficiently recognised and acknowledged by those who developed and promoted the Performance Based Standards Scheme over the past two decades. This, coupled with the importance of local road access to many transport tasks, puts the challenges currently faced by local road managers front and centre in this research.

Through various stakeholder consultations, an outline of the contemporary barriers to local road access was compiled. The findings of face-to-face interviews with more than 40 professionals from state road authorities, local government associations, local councils, transport industry associations, transport companies and other government agencies were combined with those of an online stakeholder survey to produce a discussion of the barriers to Australia’s High Productivity Freight Vehicles.

While infrastructure capacity constraints do feature among the barriers, the vast majority of barriers were found to stem from road managers’ incomplete understanding of Performance Based Standards, resource shortages, and areas for improvement in the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

Seven real-life case studies were compiled to demonstrate how some road managers overcame concerns about swept path width, intersection clearance time, route compliance, increased infrastructure consumption, bridge loading and stakeholder acceptance to ultimately provide access where it was due.

Ten recommendations for further investigation are presented, focusing on education, funding needs, legislative change, appeals processes, cost recovery frameworks and route assessment guidelines and tools.

Please contact Advantia for more information.

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