VTA2021: smart On Board Mass to aid wider access

By: Mark Gojszyk

Next generation of telematics on Department of Transport agenda

VTA2021: smart On Board Mass to aid wider access
Ian Mond


Despite industry frustration at the slow movement on access issues, the Department of Transport (DoT) insists its efforts are about to come to fruition.

Having been stymied by the Covid-19 pandemic, DoT heavy vehicle networks manager Ian Mond points to On Board Mass as the way forward at the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) annual conference.

"What we're looking to do is move towards next generation telematics with the introduction of smart On Board Mass monitoring," Mond says.

"Since around 2015, VicRoads then, now the Department of Transport, through the government has foreshadowed the coming of On Board Mass. All our policies and all our strategies have spoken to this technology.

"And if not for Covid last year and the difficulties presented by Covid, it's likely it would have been rolled out last year. I'm glad we waited because in that time we’ve seen more companies come on to offer On Board Mass.

"So, On Board Mass will apply specifically to combinations that are in excess of 68 and a half tonnes, or if that combination is fitted with a quad axle group operating at 27 tonnes.

"To put it simply, if you are an A-double, PBS A-double, running at a 79.5 tonnes general mass limits, or 85.5 tonnes of high mass limits, or if you're a semi-trailer running at 50.5 tonnes, you would require On Board Mass.

"If you are an A-double, running let's say 30 metres long, but you are moving cubic type goods, white goods etc., you will not be required to be fitted with On Board Mass.

"This is specifically a form of protection for those vehicles that are heavier on our network.

"We will also be looking to transition to the telematics monitoring application, also known as TMA. TMA is a technology that's now been used in New South Wales for their higher mass limits vehicles. It's a cheaper, more cost effective version of IAP."

Mond echoes National Heavy Vehicle Regulator CEO Sal Petroccitto who put the majority of applications approved swiftly at 94 per cent.

He insists that, from a structural safety point of view, smart On Board Mass is one way to mop up the remainder.

"In fitting this technology to your vehicles, and as I said, leveraging off the scales that you may already have on your vehicles, and then setting it up so that it can talk to whatever GPS system, whether it's TMA or IAP that you're be using, that data at will allow us, and the certainty around that data, to for the first time gazette all high productivity freight vehicles and, frankly, PBS combinations operating on the network."

Read about Victoria’s access system overhaul pledge, here

He adds that the DOT will "look to gazette all truck and dogs, that are running, we've already gazetted quite a few, but the whole fleet of truck and dogs.

"But we will also gazette A-double combinations running on the network. So you will no longer require a permit to run on the approved routes that are currently published on the VicRoads website.

"A network that will be growing over the next few months."

Mond also promises to open up the network, by providing more access on more roads for more configurations.

"For the first time we will open up the network to AB-triples and B-triple combinations, and also A-triple," he says.

"There will still be a firm length limit, 36.5 metres, as is currently the case, but we'll provide more flexibility around the sort of vehicle you can use at the moment.

"There are some of those vehicles already on the network, but they will be codified in our gazette notice that we're working at the moment to develop.

"And we're doing that with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, so that's a coordination piece that we're looking to fast track as soon as possible. So looking to get that gazette up.

"And the reason we want to get it done as soon as possible is because we want to incentivise you to move to smart On Board Mass as soon as possible.

The intent is to have this technology roll out from May.

"We're not expecting you to be fitted in May, May will be essentially when we send out the first information bulletin that says, ‘yep, smart On Board Mass is now a thing’, and you will have then as an industry up to six months, so up to 1st of November, to fit that technology.

"And I want to say straight away, I remember when we did IAP back in the day, there were issues in getting that technology online.

"So we are happy to provide exemptions for operators if they can't meet the 1st of November.

"That's a discussion we'll have on a case-by-case situation. "​


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