NSW HV Access Policy Shifts Focus To Optimisation

The New South Wales Government has released a new draft NSW Heavy Vehicle Access Policy which has been built around five policy pillars and five policy principles designed to achieve safe, sustainable and productive freight outcomes.

HVIA’s Transport Policy and Legislation Adviser Greg Forbes says the access policy represents a welcome shift in attitude by the NSW Government to recognising it has a positive role to play in enhancing the productivity of the road transport system.

It also recognises the need for step change to support strong growth in the freight task, which is expected to increase by 34 per cent across the state, and 56 per cent in Greater Sydney, by 2061 as a growing population, higher living standards and online consumerism drive higher volumes.

“Too often in the past road managers have focussed excessively on preserving the road asset,” he says.

“This document is different in that it has a clear recognition that more efficient road vehicles such as PBS combinations have a major part to play in meeting the growing freight task and that by encouraging these combinations road managers can move more freight with less vehicles while reducing fuel consumption and emissions and pavement wear. That way everybody wins!”

The first policy pillar, ‘Agile and Resilient Networks’, signals a shift in focus from network preservation to optimisation while recognising that improving network capacity and utilisation is a key challenge that will require investment in the infrastructure.

The second policy pillar, ‘Innovative Vehicles’, recognises that safer, more productive and cleaner vehicles are important and discusses high productivity PBS designs, the Federal Government’s ‘Safer Freight Vehicle’s initiative, and low- and zero-emissions vehicles.

The third pillar, ‘Streamlined Access’, discusses the NSW Automated Access Assessment Program (AAAP) that is designed to streamline access decisions using information systems and NSW’s plan to shift away from permits toward notices.

The final two pillars, ‘Telematics and Data’ and ‘Strong Partnerships’, discuss the final two building blocks of the NSW strategy, including increased use of telematics to help facilitate greater access, and collaborating with industry, local councils, other NSW Government agencies and other states and territories to enhance freight outcomes.

The report also has Appendices which would be interesting reading for PBS assessors and PBS trailer manufacturers. The draft policy is available here. Comments are open until May 31, 2024.

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