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Councils push for Route Assessment Tool introduction

Hope is for PBS tool to be included in national heavy vehicle regulatory system on October 1

By Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | September 13, 2013

Local government
is hoping the Performance Based Standards Route Assessment Tool (PBS RAT) will be included in the national heavy vehicle regulatory system when it becomes fully functional on October 1.

Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has together with the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) developed the tool designed to help council engineers understand local road infrastructure and how to accommodate heavy vehicles.

Aimed to cut time and enhance productivity, it has been introduced to all councils across Australia after extensive training over the past year.

MAV Sector Development Consultant John Hennessy is hoping the NHVR will enforce the tool but says he has his doubts following several recent delays of the regulator’s intended start date.

“We would really like them to press the go-button on the Route Assessment Tool and to have that as part of their ongoing mechanisms by which decisions are made about access onto local roads,” Hennessy says.

“When you speak to large companies in the industry they’re saying the problem is gaining access onto local roads – the first and last kilometre.

“This particular tool addresses that problem and it’s just a little bit disappointing the regulator hasn’t been able to integrate that into their decision making system at this point in time.”

The scheme is worth $500,000 and enables councils to turn around heavy vehicle access permits within 24 hours.

Some councils have already assessed over 100 roads.

Hennessy says he is afraid that work will be wasted if the tool is not incorporated.

“In Victoria last year, we had every councillor trained and we did some workshops across the state in how to use the tool,” he says.

“Each state around Australia now supports the Route Assessment Tool and has been conducting some trials and training, which is unheard of for the local government to be working together so closely and the one time we do it we can’t seem to get the thing into practice.”

The ARRB took home the Technology Award at this year’s Freight Industry Awards for the implementation of the PBS RAT system.

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