Performance Based Standards (PBS) Scheme Review

As a result of the 2017 PBS Marketplace Report produced by the National Transport Commission (NTC), the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has commenced a review of the PBS scheme.

The first element of the review is a review of tyre management practices in the PBS Scheme.

The NHVR has also commenced a review of the PBS standards.

The NHVR has implemented changes to the frontal swing standard and is in the process of finalising proposed changes to the Directional Stability Under Braking and Pavement Horizontal Loading standards.

A significant amount of work has been undertaken on developing a new approach to the treatment of tyres in PBS designs and Ministers have agreed to move to a generic tyre approach. NHVR is in the process of finalising the details of the policy and the transition plan and is expecting to implement the new approach in late 2022.

The PBS scheme has been in operation since 2007 and is designed to allow safer and more productive vehicles which would otherwise be denied access or have restricted access to access more of the Australian road system.

In 2017 the NTC commenced a review of the PBS scheme which resulted in the PBS marketplace report which was published in August 2017.

This report contained a number of recommendations including a review of the PBS standards. These recommendations were agreed to be Ministers in May 2018.

HVIA had been critical of a couple of aspects of the PBS scheme for some time including concerns over the antiquated deemed to comply provisions in the Braking Standard and the Treatment of Tyres under the PBS scheme.

This resulted in HVIA releasing a PBS braking Policy in August 2016 (link) and a discussion on the PBS tyre issue at the 2018 Comvec Conference.

In November 2018 the NHVR appointed Dr John de Pont to lead a review of PBS tyre standards and operations. Due to illness the report by Dr Dupont was delayed and was not finished until late 2019.

NHVR has completed reviews into the following standards:

  • Directional Stability Under Braking
  • Pavement Horizontal Loading
  • Frontal Swing

The frontal swing standard has been updated and the Directional Stability Under Braking and Pavement Horizontal loading standards are expected to be updated in late 2022

Dr Dupont has also recommended a review of the use of tyres in PBS assessments and has recommended a move to a generic tyre approach as had been advocated for by HVIA. The final details of this approach are being finalised by the NHVR and the new approach is also expected to be implemented in late 2022.

NHVR has also commenced a review of the remaining PBS Standards and is also examining options for revisions to the PBS scheme.

Since early 2020 HVIA has also been advocating for changes to PBS design approval processes and access permit processes to reduce costly delays for Industry.

NHVR is expected to consult with industry on the details of changes to PBS tyres and the proposed implementation timetable in mid 2022.

Please Contact HVIA’s National Manager Policy and Government Relations, Greg Forbes or 0437923755 for further information.

Latest news on PBS

New guidance for PBS access at greater masses

3 May 23

The NHVR’s new guidance replaces previously published advice relating to Tier 2 and 3 assessments and guides operators through the process of applying for a PBS permit under the Tier 2/3 bridge assessment option.


Low-Speed Swept Path and Tail Swing options paper

17 April 23

As part of an on-going review of the PBS standards that kicked off in 2019, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has released a detailed options paper that explores possible improvements to the PBS low speed turning performance standard, and its related performance measures.


HPFV network updates from Freight Victoria

5 April 23

Freight Victoria staff delivered a valuable update on Victoria’s High Productivity Freight Vehicle (HPFV) policy and networks for HVIA members this week.


HVIA and NHVR techsperts tackling policy challenges

15 March 23

Newly-minted Chief Technical Officer, Adam Ritzinger, and Manager of Member Engagement, Harrison Hunkin are on the case for HVIA members.


HVIA cautiously optimistic towards PBS 2.0

22 February 23

The PBS scheme should be better used as a mechanism for promoting the uptake of safer high-productivity vehicles according to HVIA.

The comments form part of HVIA’s submission responding to the NHVR’s Performance Based Standards (PBS) 2.0 discussion paper, and follow extensive consultation with HVIA members and stakeholders.


HVIA draft submission – PBS 2.0 Discussion Paper

1 February 23

HVIA has circulated its draft submission on the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s PBS 2.0 Discussion Paper for review by members.


It’s not too late to have your say on PBS 2.0

18 January 23

HVIA’s Greg Forbes says the level of member engagement on the NHVR’s PBS 2.0 discussion paper shows how important the scheme is to the heavy vehicle industry.


Truck and dog notice forum success

23 November 22

The Class 3 Truck and Dog Notice created a stir on its release but has gone on to be the catalyst for great industry-regulator collaboration.


NHVR releases PBS version 2 Discussion Paper

23 November 22

The NHVR has proposed a series of significant reforms in its long-awaited discussion paper on PBS 2.0.


Expanded tyre choice brings greater flexibility to PBS operators

15 November 22

From 1 December 2022, Performance Based Standards (PBS) vehicles will be able to use a broader range of tyres, enabling the PBS scheme to better support and promote the next generation of smarter, safer and more productive vehicles.


Removing red tape on PBS applications

11 October 22

The NHVR will be introducing changes to the Performance Based Standards (PBS) scheme Vehicle Approval (VA) document to reduce administrative burden for industry and provide a better customer experience.


Long slow path to PBS reform finally taking shape

7 September 22

It has been a long time coming, but the necessary pieces of the puzzle for the future of PBS are finally coming together.


Grattan Truck Report misses the easy wins and ignores key obstacles

31 August 22

The Grattan Institute’s new “Grattan Truck Plan”has made headlines this week with its controversial calls for city-wide bans on pre-2003 diesel engines, but misses out on easier opportunities to lower heavy vehicle emissions.


New PBS Notice is progress – but not the end goal

6 July 22

A new Performance Based Standards (PBS) class 2 notice will introduce more nationally consistent conditions for road trains, supporting more seamless cross-border access and dramatically reducing requirements for permits.


Changes to PBS vehicle approval documents

22 June 22

The NHVR has released two discussion papers canvasing possible changes to vehicle approval documents issued under the PBS scheme.


Blowout in heavy vehicle access permits at crisis point

9 March 22

Hundreds of PBS heavy vehicles are parked up, sitting idle, instead of working to keep Australia moving – all because of behind-the-scenes bureaucratic bungling.


PBS notice takes a step in the right direction

29 October 21

The heavy vehicle industry has welcomed the NHVR’s announcement of a new gazette notice that reduces reliance on permits for some Performance Based Standards (PBS) vehicles.


New PBS access notice provides permit-free travel

27 October 21

A new notice delivered by the NHVR will give eligible Performance Based Standards (PBS) vehicles immediate network access when they receive a vehicle approval with a Tier 1 bridge assessment.


Industry Celebrates as PBS Tyre Changes Given Green Light

2 August 21

Trailer manufacturers, tyre manufacturers and suppliers, heavy vehicle operators and PBS assessors will all win once the decision by the Infrastructure and Transport Ministers Meeting (ITMM) to use generic tyre data in PBS assessments is fully implemented.


NHVR’s pledge to fix PBS

23 April 21

HVIA’s urgent call to action for the NHVR to fix PBS approval timelines has seen a swift response.


NHVR response on PBS application processing times

22 April 21

The following communique was issued by NHVR Vehicle Safety & Performance Director Peter Austin on 22 April, responding to HVIA’s earlier plea to solve the PBS approvals crisis.


PBS Delays Hurting Industry

13 April 21

HVIA has today issued an urgent and passionate plea to the National Heavy Vehicle Industry Regulator to solve the Performance Based Standards approvals crisis.


PBS standard for Directional Stability Under Braking

3 February 21

The NHVR has released a discussion paper on the transition arrangements for implementing the new deemed to comply provisions for the PBS standard related to Directional Stability Under Braking.


Transitioning PBS to the NHVR Portal

3 February 21

The NHVR are moving all regulator services and functions into a common platform – providing one location for regulator service delivery.


10,000 PBS vehicles is only the beginning

17 June 20

Australia’s benchmark setting Performance Based Standards (PBS) scheme has celebrated its 10,000th vehicle approval recently. HVIA says it is only the beginning of the quest for a safer more productive fleet.


Updated working arrangements for the NHVR PBS team

25 March 20

In response to the current COVID-19 situation affecting the country, the NHVR PBS team will be transitioning to a work from home model starting Monday 30 March 2020.


PBS tyre report recommendations on the table

29 January 20

A review of tyre management practice in the Australian PBS system recommends a system based around the use of standard tyre characteristics for all PBS assessments.


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