NHVR outlines vision for streamlined access system

Regulator wants focus shifted from individual vehicles to standardised framework

NHVR outlines vision for streamlined access system
The view of the current access system follows a consistent theme of inefficiency


The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) says a modernised access system must shift the focus from individual vehicles to a standardised framework for permit assessments to reduce the burden on road managers and operators.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says the regulator’s recommendations to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) Review being conducted by the National Transport Commission (NTC) reflect its vision for an access system that delivers safe, efficient and productive heavy vehicle movements.

"Establishing consent parameters would be part of a framework that allows road managers to set limits for mass or dimension, or even no-go zones, where infrastructure cannot withstand certain heavy vehicle movements," he says.

"Reducing permit numbers will allow the NHVR and road managers to provide greater focus for complex or unusual applications.

"Our access system should also better recognise newer and modern vehicles, including Performance Based Standards [PBS] vehicles, which utilise the latest safety and performance technology.

"We can also reduce the burden on operators by considering a simplified heavy vehicle classification system, based on the performance of a vehicle within an agreed envelope.

"Over the past five years the NHVR has seen first-hand the challenges to access. We have the opportunity to reform the law to deliver great outcome for industry and road managers."

The NHVR sees the modern heavy vehicle access system comprising:

  • Risk-based access framework
  • Dynamic national network maps
  • Shared movement data
  • Targeted infrastructure funding

A connected network of pre-approved routes is at the core of NatRoad's submission

Responding to the Easy Access to Suitable Routes issues paper, it calls for additional support for road managers to assess infrastructure, particularly where it causes a pinch points on an otherwise suitable heavy vehicle network.

Inconsistent responses to access requests by road managers cause confusion and lost productivity across the heavy vehicle industry, the regulator notes.

Its submission highlights examples where restricting access to single trips "is a major cause of delays, administrative costs and commercial risk to operators".

"A national risk assessment framework drives a shared responsibility by both road managers and industry – while road managers are required to know their infrastructure capabilities, transport operators will have a requirement of self-assessing their vehicle access on the network in line with this capability," the report says.

The submission is available here.

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