Austroads releases road manager freight access guidance

Report reviews heavy vehicle access tools used by various governments

Austroads releases road manager freight access guidance
From the report's cover


A new Austroads report, Framework and Tools for Road Freight Access Decisions, analyses heavy vehicle access guidelines used by state and local government road managers across Australia and New Zealand.

Australia’s peak roads agency notes the report contains a decision-making framework so road managers can consistently and efficiently benefit from using these tools.

It acknowledges heavy vehicle access approval conditions vary across Australian jurisdictions, with the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) providing the overarching regulatory framework for heavy vehicle access (mass, dimension and loading) but is applied differently in – or not adopted in – various states or territories.

New Zealand also operates under its own regime.

The report recommends that:

  • jurisdictions review the guidance material, identify any gaps in their assessment practices and consider harmonising practices with other jurisdictions
  • all relevant guidance tools and supporting documents in this report are placed on the Austroads website and a governance process is developed to ensure their continued currency and relevance
  • for HVNL regime jurisdictions, separate Restricted Access Vehicle assessment guidelines should be developed for each of Classes 1, 2 and 3, drawing from road manager tools, NHVR guidance publications and other assessmentdocuments
  • NHVR, and jurisdictional and local government road managers, investigate developing a network assessment model predominately for Class 2 heavy vehicles, but also for other classes for HVNL regime jurisdictions
  • in HVNL regime jurisdictions, further research be conducted on how to provide support and resources to assist local government agencies in making informed and efficient decisions on heavy vehicle access.

The report also highlights potential future work in developing guidelines and further tools that all jurisdictions could use, particularly HVNL jurisdictions.

Austroads says it will progress this project further throughout 2020-21, with the guidelines "assisting heavy vehicle operators who are seeking consistent and timely decision making with respect to access and compliance across jurisdictions".

"The report provides road managers with a level of clarity on heavy vehicle decision-making processes across Australia and New Zealand," Austroads program manager transport network operations Richard Delplace says.

"It identifies common approaches and differences, to enable road managers to consider and apply this information in their own jurisdictions."

Read Austroads' report on heavy vehicle emissions, here

The report also examines supporting literature, including domestic research reports and international practices.

Austroads reports the consultation was "extensive", consisting of interviews and a survey of all Australian and New Zealand jurisdictional road managers, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), local government agencies and industry associations.

"Stakeholders supported the project as consistent decision making provides an overall systemic efficiency and enables safety issues regarding heavy vehicle road access to be consistently assessed."

The report is a resource repository for jurisdictions and particularly local government, which generally does not have the same resources as state and territory road managers, according to Austroads.

"Local government should find the guidance material, processes and tools very useful, especially as the information is all located in one place," project lead Drew Gaynor says.

The full report is available here.


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