Victoria increases access for higher productivity vehicles


Victorian Government extends access for larger trucks on regional and metropolitan roads

Victoria increases access for higher productivity vehicles
Victoria increases access for HPVs
April 23, 2013

Victoria is opening up more of the State’s road network to higher productivity vehicles in a move that has won the support of the Victorian Transport Association (VTA).

The State Government will allow ‘cubic freight’ trucks up to 36.5 metres long with a gross mass of 68.5 tonnes to travel on identified highways in regional areas.

The maximum vehicle length will be 30 metres on certain parts of the B-double network in metropolitan Melbourne. The routes opened up to the higher productivity vehicles will be formally classified as the cubic freight network in Victoria.

Furthermore, trucking operators will be able to apply to the road authority, VicRoads, for permits to exceed the 68.5 tonne limit up to 77.5 tonnes. Applications will be subjected to a route assessment.

In return for increased access, transport operators using higher productivity vehicles must meet conditions under the Performance Based Standards (PBS) regime, enrol in the Intelligent Access Program (IAP) and limit their vehicles to 90km/h.

"The VTA accepts these access conditions as fair," VTA CEO Neil Chambers says.

"We understand the need for the government to balance productivity gains with the need for community and regulatory assurance that these vehicles will be safe and compliant on the road network, including in the case of metropolitan access through the tunnels on CityLink and EastLink."

Chambers says the PBS requirements will ensure the vehicles will be among the safest on Victorian roads. The rigs will be fitted with leading safety features such as anti-lock braking, roll stability control and under-run protection.

He says the VTA will work with VicRoads over the next year to assess the safety outcomes of the 90km/h speed restriction.

Chambers says the association has been toiling behind the scenes for four years to convince policy makers to open up more of the network to higher productivity vehicles, which are seen in industry circles as vital to supporting a burgeoning freight task.

"If we are to efficiently address rising freight demand, it is good public and economic policy to allow these safe and productive heavy vehicle combinations onto our road network, from freight node to freight node," he says.

"Not only will this decision lower distribution costs, it will have a positive economic and job creation effect in the trailer and component manufacturing sector which is strong in Victoria."

Research has pointed to higher productivity vehicles having the potential to significantly reduce fatal crashes and fatalities, while also reducing the number of kilometres travelled due to their ability to haul more freight per load.

However, critics and the media have whipped up public opinion against the trucks in the past by labeling them ‘monster trucks’.

"We challenge these detractors to address the facts instead of populist scare-mongering that dismisses clear safety and productivity gains in place of comments designed to feed negative community perceptions about heavy vehicles," Chambers says.

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