IAP benefits trucking: RTA

Roads department takes NTC to task over claims IAP is not benefiting operators and was introduced for regulatory convenience

IAP benefits trucking: RTA
Trucking is benefiting from IAP: RTA
By Brad Gardner | September 27, 2010

The NSW roads department has dismissed claims trucking companies are not benefiting from the Intelligent Access Program (IAP) and that it was introduced for regulatory convenience.

The Roads and Traffic Authority has criticised comments made by the National Transport Commission in a paper accompanying its Draft National In-Vehicle Telematics Strategy released earlier this year.

According to the paper, a key concern of the trucking industry about IAP is that it "represents the imposition of additional operating costs…with little or not identifiable benefit to most operators".

It also claims there is "widespread concern" IAP "is first and foremost a mechanism of regulatory convenience to enable increased oversight of the road freight sector regardless of demonstrated need or cost".

Under IAP, companies must install GPS tracking devices in their trucks if they want to operate on higher mass limits (HML). Vehicles are monitored to ensure they do not stray onto restricted routes.

According to the RTA, IAP has helped companies reduce the number of trips, employ fewer drivers and save more fuel because they have been able to carry more freight.

"The RTA is aware of a number of transport operators who, because of IAP, are able to operate at higher mass limits (HML) in NSW, and are satisfied with the program," the department says.

The RTA also lists improved vehicle maintenance and a reduction in the probability of accidents as further benefits.

"Perhaps the most puzzling assertion is the alleged ‘widespread concern that the Intelligent Access Program is first and foremost a mechanism of regulatory convenience’," it says.

"The RTA disputes this contention. IAP provides a more effective and efficient means to manage future access for higher productivity vehicles."

Without IAP, the RTA says operators would not have been able to use HML because road authorities would not have had the confidence that trucks would meet compliance obligations.

It says IAP means the RTA does need to deploy traditional regulatory resources, allowing government to regulate costs more effectively and broaden its compliance operations.

The NTC also cited industry concerns over a lack of guaranteed road access under the monitoring scheme.

In response, the RTA says it is currently addressing the issue.

"However, it should be acknowledged that ‘first mile, last mile’ issues for restricted access by local government authorities to higher productivity vehicles exist independently of IAP," it says.

Baxter Transport is currently rethinking its IAP enrolment because it cannot secure access to local roads despite spending $20,000 to install the required technology.

The RTA was last year accused of starving councils of funds, forcing some local governments to refuse heavy vehicle access.

Councils claim they do not have the funds to conduct HML assessments, which can cost up to $6,000.

The RTA also dismissed any push for the introduction of comparative devices as an alternative to IAP technology.

It says devices not approved under the IAP scheme will not meet compliance requirements due to the obligations imposed by Transport Certification Australia, which certifies IAP providers.

"The certification requirements, the ability to manage data to ensure security and integrity (the ‘back-end’ functions), ongoing calibration, auditing and maintenance to a high degree of standard are significant," the RTA says.

"In our view, it is preferable to resolve any policy, technical and operational issues surrounding IAP in its current form than look at new technology which will present additional issues."

Unlike Queensland and NSW, Victoria and South Australia do not require IAP for HML access. The scheme is used for higher productivity vehicles in Victoria and South Australia. Victoria also mandates IAP for concrete pump trucks and mobile cranes.

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