Guidelines released to improve provision of rest areas

Austroads report to aid road managers with assessment, planning and design

Guidelines released to improve provision of rest areas
An image from the report


Heavy vehicle rest areas (HVRAs) – in particular, their placement, design and amenities – have long been a bone of contention for drivers on Australian roads.

In a welcome move, peak road transport and traffic organisation Austroads, with the assistance of industry consultation, has released guidelines to help road managers assess the need and prioritisation for HVRAs, and plan for and design HVRAs as part of their planning activities.

The Guidelines for the Provision of Heavy Vehicle Rest Area Facilities includes:

  • an outline of the different types of HVRAs available for road managers to implement to cater for the heavy vehicle driver’s rest needs
  • guidance on how to assess the need and prioritisation of HVRAs
  • the principles of good HVRA design.

The successful operation of HVRAs depends on many factors including planning, design, construction and maintenance, Austroads contends, adding that the application of the guidelines by road managers should assist the freight industry to support safe heavy vehicle operations while meeting their requirements within the prescribed heavy vehicle driving hours regulatory framework.

ATA says rest stops without toilets, lighting or water don't deserve the name. Read more here

"Heavy vehicle drivers are often required to work for long hours and are therefore susceptible to fatigue," it says.

"The guidelines recognise that managing heavy vehicle fatigue is a shared responsibility between road managers, heavy vehicle drivers and operators, and clients.

"Road managers are responsible for providing HVRAs which can help drivers manage fatigue and comply with driving hours regulations, by providing an opportunity for sleep and rest breaks.

"These Guidelines are intended to assist with this aspect by helping road managers plan for an environment which supports heavy vehicle drivers to rest before they re-commence driving.

"Heavy vehicle drivers and operators also need to plan journeys in accordance with heavy vehicle fatigue management regulations. This includes consideration of available HVRAs and the facilities they provide and then planning their rest accordingly.

"Clients also need to pay fair and reasonable prices to transport goods, recognising their position in the chain of responsibility and the effect that unrealistic delivery deadlines can have on fatigue and compliance with the law."

Principles of Good HVRA Design

Austroads provides the following as an example of good HVRA design:

Roadside HVRAs are provided to give heavy vehicle drivers sleep and rest opportunities, as well as enabling drivers to check their vehicles and loads.

To facilitate this, the designer must have sufficient knowledge of a route on which a HVRA is to be located, the size, configuration and manoeuvrability of vehicles that typically use the route, driving hours regulations, and the interaction of all of these factors. The determination of HVRA suitability will generally be a judgement, based upon a combination of factors; prescriptive limits cannot be established to suit every situation.

The successful operation of HVRAs depends on many factors. These include planning, design, construction and maintenance. These Guidelines focus on issues relating to the planning and design concepts to be considered in the initial set out of HVRAs. While construction and maintenance are noted, road managers need to consider these issues in their local context as well as how decisions may impact the final planning and design of the HVRAs.

The full report can be found here.


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