Greater efficiency for sand and stone haulers

Elizabeth Halloran, Communications and Engagement Lead and BEN ATKINSON, Leader of Heavy Vehicle Productivity at the Department of Transport reports on the huge strides Victoria has made in helping sand and stone hauliers do their job more efficiently.

The introduction of broader access for Performance-Based Standards (PBS) vehicles and an easier approval process have streamlined the process of getting more efficient truck-andtrailer combinations on the road.

Like other states, Victoria adopted PBS to remove heavy vehicle
design from prescriptive limits like height, weight and length and to encourage new designs that emphasise safety and productivity.

PBS also delivers considerable productivity benefits for sand and stone hauliers. Heavy vehicle configurations popular with the industry like a 6×4 truck towing a quad-dog trailer operating under GML are limited to 50 tonnes GCM, whereas the same vehicle operating under PBS can operate to a limit as high as 57.5 tonnes GCM.

This represents a productivity boost of 15 per cent.

Victoria has made it easier to operate under PBS by publishing a National Class 2 Performance Based Standards (Tier 1) Authorisation Notice 2022, providing eligible PBS vehicles with immediate access to relevant PBS networks across Victoria and Australia.

sand and stone haulers

This provides operators with certainty relating to access and reduces the expense when exploring the viability of a PBS design as it allows access on approved networks without the need for a permit as soon as a Vehicle Approval is issued by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.

All heavy vehicle combinations that exceed 26 metres and/or have a gross combination mass greater than 68.5 tonnes, as well as semi-trailers fitted with a quad-axle group, are known locally as High Productivity Freight Vehicles (HPFVs) and must operate under PBS.

Operators wanting to take advantage of these larger combinations like A-doubles can also make use of the notice, which sets out a series of approved Reference Vehicle Designs.

Operators with a vehicle that meets one of these Reference Vehicle Designs also have approved access to a Gazetted network, without the need for an individual assessment or costly bridge assessments.

HPFV PBS vehicles require remote tracking via either the Intelligent Access Program (IAP) or Telematics Monitoring Application (TMA). From last November, HPFV PBS vehicles operating at above 68.5 tonnes GCM (including quad-axle semi-trailers operating over 46 tonnes GCM) must also be fitted with a certified Smart On Board-Mass (OBM) system that can be integrated with IAP or TMA.

Victoria uses the de-identified information provided by Smart OBM systems to monitor road use by heavy vehicles. Smart OBM allows DoT, for the first time, to:

  • better identify those bridges and structures doing the most work, which aids in investment decisions.
  • move parts of the network to a gazette notice,negating the need for permits
  • identify gaps on the access maps, particularly last-kilometre access
  • expand access for configurations like A-triples, A-B triples and B-triples.

The number of PBS HPFV combinations operating in Victoria has exploded in recent years, growing from just a handful in 2014 to nearly 1200 last year. As the home of the earliest and best-developed PBS networks in Australia, Victoria still has some bridge infrastructure unable to accommodate these vehicles at their full mass.

The use of Smart OBM will enable accurate monitoring of bridge use, potentially reducing the number of bridge assessments that need to be undertaken to support a PBS application while also supporting business cases for bridge uplift, with real world mass data.

Telematics Data Sharing Initiative

As we continue to expand and improve the freight network, we are looking for participation from industry members for the Victorian Freight and Commodity Movement Study.

The intent of the study is to collect periodic telematics and commodity data (where this is available) to develop more granular information for freight movements of particular commodities and vehicle types across the road network in Victoria.

sand and stone haulers

In partnership with the Transport Certification Australia (TCA), we are seeking to use telematics and associated data from freight vehicles to:

  • expand network maps to cater for all commodity types,
  • assess the comparative volume of transport on specific routes for different commodities,
  • identify the travel times between key origins and destinations,
  • better understand and track the impact of disruptive events over multi-year periods, and
  • better understand network use by participating freight vehicles to inform forward planning of infrastructure uplift and maintenance programs.

Industry has voiced concern about the use of this data and it is important to note that:

  • operators will sign a Data Sharing Agreement that outlines extensively how their data will be used
  • the Department of Transport (DoT) is only interested in movement patterns to identify regularly used routes
  • this data will not be used for compliance or enforcement purposes
  • DoT is only seeking six months of historical data
  • TCA will bundle and deidentify the data and depict aggregated movement information only
  • routes with minimal movements will be rounded upwards to show values of 5+.

This study is an excellent opportunity to help improve planning and forecasting of the road network for freight vehicles and we encourage your participation.

To learn more about this study, please reach out to

Construction Truck and Community Safety
The Victorian Government has developed materials to help protect vulnerable road users when they are travelling near worksites and around construction trucks.

The Construction Truck and Community Safety Project provides a range of tools and ways of working to improve safety for pedestrians, bicycle riders and motorcyclists.

A dedicated VicRoads page has been created to share the resources we’ve developed to help state and local government, developers and utilities better manage the impact of their construction projects on the local community, with more consideration of vulnerable road user safety.

For example, using the mechanism of tailored contract clauses that can be embedded into a broad range of construction contracts will result in improvements to truck standards, driver training, traffic management and route selection that will in turn improve pedestrian and bicycle rider safety.

sand and stone

To date this project has:

  • led to the uplift of truck safety standards in a number of major transport projects in Victoria e.g., Rail Projects Victoria and Transurban projects, where trucks are required to have side under runs, left turn audible alarms and reduced blind spots
  • developed a route selection tool to help projects investigate the safest routes for their trucks
  • developed a traffic management summary that outlines traffic management standards that keep vulnerable road users safe
  • contributed to the development of a national CLOCS-A project based on the London project of the same name CLOCS (Construction Logistics and Community Safety). This project is bringing to a national audience the necessity of protecting the safety of pedestrians, bicycle riders and motorcyclists while construction is underway.

Sand and stone hauliers experiencing last-kilometre access difficulties can contact

source: sand and stone

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