– By Caroline Falls –
More heavy vehicle operators have joined the national intelligent access program, or IAP, agreeing to electronic monitoring by regulators of their vehicles’ speeds and loads in return for permission to use roads they are otherwise denied access to.
The IAP was introduced in 2009 and is developed and administered by the National Transport Commission. It is the first example of using telematics within the regulatory framework for managing heavy vehicles in Australia. Another, currently being developed is the use of electronic work diaries instead of the present written work diaries for truck drivers.
The IAP electronically monitors the location and speed of heavy vehicles assuring road authorities that enrolled vehicles are complying with their road access conditions. Transport operators enrol in the IAP to gain better access to particular roads or to meet access conditions set by road authorities.
TCA has reported that numbers of heavy vehicles enrolled in the program rose 17.5 percent to 3,300 vehicles in August. That’s an additional 496 vehicles compared with the same month a year earlier. It compares with a 2013 estimate by TCA that some 8,400 vehicles would participate in the program.
“Significantly, nearly two-thirds of this increase has occurred over the last six months, with an average of 51 additional vehicles being enrolled in the IAP each month since February 2015,” said Chris Koniditsiotis, chief executive officer at TCA.
“These latest numbers represent transport operators’ continued interest in the IAP to increase the productivity and efficiency of their operations.”
Certainly, that’s the case for Toowoomba-based Broadbent Bulk Services, which transports grain from Queensland-state’s bread basket to Brisbane port for export.
The state’s road authority allows better access to the Toowoomba-Brisbane Port route for IAP sign-ups, which results in fewer truck trip, less road damage, reduced vehicles emissions and supply chain savings for Broadbent.
“Being able to operate on this route and other connecting routes like the Warrego Highway and Port Drive — which accesses the Port of Brisbane — means we have first and last mile access to the corridor between Toowoomba and Port of Brisbane,” said Shane Noble, Broadbent’s services operations manager.
“The type of vehicle combinations that we were able to operate on this route meant the feasibility of transporting higher payload export containers. We quickly realised that we had to grasp the opportunity.”
Many of the higher productivity vehicles that are now taken for granted in 2015 would not have been possible without the IAP being put in place, said a spokesperson for TCA. Some of these include modern road trains in NSW and super quads in WA.
David Tinlin, manager of technical services at Forbes Shire Council says that the IAP stirred his central-west NSW council to identify which of its 1,870 kilometres of local roads can be used for heavy vehicles, and where priorities are for upgrades to enable access.
IAP enrolled vehicles first need to be compliant with National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme rules for so-called Higher Mass Limits, which includes being fitted with suspension systems to reduce the impact of laden axles on road pavements and bridges.
“Having the Intelligent Access Program (IAP) as a compliance assurance tool has been a catalyst to opening up the opportunity to develop a HML network within Forbes Shire Council,” Tinlin said.