feature HVTT Conference GettinG rubber on the road Marcus Coleman. how far the PBS structure has come and a case-by-case basis, very similar to the Staying flexible where its advantages lie. current permit system. Through talking to a customer focus australia’s Performance Based Standards project is a global leader “With PBS reform you need to keep The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) group the NTC realised that the basic in transport innovation, although it hasn’t been without its teething chipping away at it,” says Marcus. “We has recently delivered its response to the standards set for all previous vehicles can problems. this important topic will be the subject of one of the main are here to give operators technical advice NTC’s discussion paper, agreeing that be too rigid. Safer and more productive and to get the technology through as the current PBS system is not delivering vehicles have to be rejected if they do papers at the HVtt Conference scheduled for March 2010 in Melbourne. best we can. At the moment, PBS is in a results and must be reformed. not meet all of the standards set for PBS transitional phase and the PBS review is “The evidence is in plain sight: the vehicles. Applicants are frustrated by B an important step in helping to get all of maps provided for PBS to date do the fact that such trucks, even though ecause of the sheer size One of the major topics to be discussed approved the completed package the regulations in place.” not reflect even the current networks they don’t quite meet the standards, will of our continent and next March will be the development of whereby if an operator came up with The NTC admits the scheme has not used by equivalent vehicles. The aim have better stability and handling than our difficult freight task, a Performance Based Standards (PBS) a vehicle capable of meeting all of the yet delivered to its full potential, the of Performance Based Standards is to vehicles currently allowed under the Australia is a leader in structure that allows the introduction of standards listed by the PBS scheme for extent of its adoption by the Transport allow trucking operators to get approval prescriptive regulations. producing innovative innovative high productivity vehicles on a particular road classification, it could Industry falling well below expectations. for safer and more productive vehicle The NTC’s discussion paper introduced vehicles that increase Australian roads. travel on any road for which it had been When looking at the particular problems combinations and types to operate the idea of what it calls ‘generic high productivity while This has been a long process and the designed. The innovation of introducing of developing a high productivity on any road with the appropriate PBS productivity vehicles’ sitting somewhere handling the rigours of distributing National Transport Commission (NTC) a set of regulations not stipulating the vehicle, ascertaining its ability to meet classification. But the policy is not between current vehicles built to freight in a demanding environment. has seen the scheme inching towards vehicle’s limits but instead asking the the standards and then convincing the working. comply with prescriptive regulations The rest of the world looks to countries acceptance by both state and local operator to be responsible for proving government authority on whose roads “PBS is not delivering broad scale and highly innovative one-off designs such as ourselves and Canada, first authorities and transport operators. The what it could do, marked a philosophical it will travel, it is obtaining access to the additional access to more productive, used to make large productivity gains in world countries with relatively low latest NTC discussion paper on the topic change in the way heavy vehicle infrastructure that is proving to be the safer, modular combinations, even though specialist areas. In the past, blueprints of populations needing freight hauled over was released at the end of 2008 and is technology could be allowed to develop. biggest hurdle. these vehicles are within the existing standard PBS vehicles, like B-Triples and vast distances, to see if our innovative an opportunity for further public input Allowing vehicle design to move outside The NTC discussion paper identifies the pavement and bridge loading limits,” the quad-axle semis, have been produced technologies can be adapted to their own and feedback, aiming to confirm areas of the normal prescriptive rules promises failure to gain any clear certainty of road ATA says. for the NTC by the ARRB Group but specific freight tasks. concern and identify proposed solutions major productivity gains for the industry network access to be one of the issues The NTC accepts transport operators are were found to be impractical in terms The Heavy Vehicle Transport Technology to these issues. The results of this – if the system is allowed to function as dictating the success or failure of the PBS not likely to invest in expensive custom- of ease of manufacture and use. The (HVTT11) event to be held in Melbourne discussion will inform the NTC’s review initially envisaged. scheme. designed equipment without a lot more NTC realised the need to develop more from 11–18 March 2010, leading up of the PBS scheme, its effectiveness, and Attendees at the HVTT Conference The October 2007 plan called for a certainty about road network access. In flexible blueprints, something easier to to the International Truck, Trailer and its ability to grow and receive a wider from around the world will have clearly defined road classification system, practice, state government inertia, local manufacture and fit into a large fleet. Equipment Show at the Melbourne acceptance. the opportunity to quiz many of the whereby operators could be sure a government ignorance and transport “We’re working on a framework, so it Showgrounds, is a forum in which the figures heavily involved in PBS. Marcus particular vehicle would be allowed on operators’ fear of massive engineering is possible to develop blueprints for engineers and decision-makers of the A false dawn Coleman, Manager Engineering and any route for which it could be proven consultation fees have seen very few actual innovative vehicles. I started talking to world get together to discuss the future It was back in October 2007 when the Productivity at the NTC, has been invited to be suitable. In practice, the local PBS vehicles take to the roads of Australia, various people in the industry and in development of road freight technology. Australian Transport Council (ATC) to present a paper demonstrating just authorities are approving vehicles on so far. government and they all appear to be 64. march 2009 primemovermag.com.au 65. feature HVTT Conference there should be some useful and cannot apply for permission to use a PBS vehicle, approaching the ATC at examples out on the road the end of 2008. The most significant of these amendments was the wish to make it possible for the Implementation Panel for the delegates at the HVtt to use some discretion in the application of the performance standards. conference next March to “It allows the panel to use some common sense when looking at an examine in the metal. application,” says Marcus. “For example, we looked at the design of a bus requiring a wheelchair access system. supportive of our approach. The best it is necessary to implement actual With this system installed the overhang way is for industry to design what it is verification testing after the vehicles are was, in fact, too long, but it was decided they want and then to make sure they built. to pass the vehicle and allow an can be built. I have contacted several exemption.” stones for an increased level of As Marcus explains, for anyone going 2008 but proved to be inadequate as of the trailer manufacturers who are Relationship problems If any exemptions are made by the panel productivity in the future. But there is no through the PBS process, there have a stimulus to operators. The difference looking at various blueprints. They are The NTC is finding that the system has the process will be entirely transparent easy way forward. We are going through to be productivity gains to make it between networks available to key to this process, as well as the truck very tight tolerances on dimensions and and the NTC will publish any the difficult process of appointing worthwhile. Those gains can only be prescriptive vehicles and those to PBS manufacturers. particular components, especially those exemptions it allows. As a result of this, assessors, accreditors to help in getting achieved by an increase in mass or vehicles was not enough to compensate “Any blueprint has to meet the involved with the interface between other operators with a similar design the process working. We are looking at volume carried. The major stumbling operators for the costly process of standards, they have to go through the truck and trailer, which can be critical. will be allowed a similar exemption everything: What’s the alternative? Could block for any development like this guiding a PBS vehicle through the very process. Then we can ask the question as Work is being done to try and develop a on the same grounds. However, the it be done better? Others will learn from is the axle load limits that result from complex and difficult system. to whether it does fulfil the requirements modular approach to solve some of the Implementation Panel is likely to what we’ve done.” the limitations of the Australian road PBS has proved to be quite a challenging of the PBS system. I have found that relationship problems between truck and be extremely cautious in allowing Even though the spotlight has so infrastructure. system for operators to get involved with there is a lot of interest in B-Triples and trailer. exemptions, if they are published, as far been focused on the larger high “The state governments have legitimate and some have already thrown the whole some truck and trailer combinations,” “It’s all about creating an envelope this opens the door to a particular productivity vehicles, the majority of concerns that heavier actual weights may idea into the ‘too hard basket’. However, Marcus says. that covers all the bases. Trucks can amendment for everyone. applications coming into the system have an impact on bridges. I don’t think others are persisting and Marcus is According to Marcus the PBS scheme have different wheelbases and we need “We are looking to change things in the are for trucks to run on roads classified there’s a way around it. Incremental expecting several useful examples of is in fact achieving success in meeting to develop a new blueprint to suit all sense of developing blueprints which can as level one, general access. These are pricing may be one possible solution, what can be achieved with PBS to hit some of the targets set by the Coalition permutations and combinations. We apply to new vehicle concepts, creating a vehicles that give operators a little bit where the operator will pay extra to the roads in the next 12 months. If this of Australian Governments and he is need to go through the exercise of blueprint envelope available to anyone. more flexibility at the smaller end of the compensate for the damage done to the is the case, there should be some useful seeing some truly innovative vehicles, varying truck and trailer and work out At least then there would be a process for transport task. pavement or infrastructure.” examples for the delegates at the HVTT boasting considerable productivity gains, the parameters of performance,” says putting your ideas forward and it could “If you gain another metre on a level one Conference next March to examine in coming into the system. As they do the Marcus. be worthwhile, especially if you have a road, that can do quite a lot of good. It is There’s life in this yet the metal, as opposed to the computer NTC is learning what practical steps can As a result of the experience so far, the number of vehicles in your fleet. possible to add both volume and weight; The current network of different simulations they monitor as they be taken to improve the process. With NTC proposed amendments to the “We really are leading the world in this incremental gains over a large number of classifications of roads available to develop the vehicles that will handle the some of the more innovative vehicles business rules governing those who can area. We are now laying the foundation trucks will add up,” Marcus says. PBS vehicles was published in October massive freight task of the future. 66. march 2009 primemovermag.com.au 67.