When talking about the history of the development of Performance Based Standards (PBS), acknowledgement needs to be made of the very good work undertaken by Dr Peter Sweatman and Bob Pearson who along with the states of Qld and WA introduced PBS born vehicles such as the Cannington ICON combination B triples and other variants of multi combination vehicles.
These States took a lead in establishing the credentials of this objective vehicle design option back in the mid 90's to assess and subsequently approve their use. Les Brusza who worked for Dr Peter Sweatman and subsequently QTMR also undertook a lot of the technical assessment in cooperation with Peter and Bob and is now at the NHVR.
The article published byBig Rigsthis week is commendable, as productivity is our lifeblood. From 1971 to 2007 productivity in the road transport sector increased sixfold. If these gains had not been made we would need 150000 extra articulated vehicles on our roads to undertake the freight task. We should have a strategic goal to increase the composition of the fleet to at least 30% being HPV.
To initiate that leadership the Road managers need to identify the freight corridors that can be used so industry can plan with some certainty. There are many other benefits that come with HPV being less congestion, safer dynamic performance, less fuel burn and so forth to list a few.
Above all I commend Peter, Bob and Les for all that early development to get the momentum going for PBS to earn its place as the next generation of productivity.
Austroads in a recent report, estimated that HPV's alone would save another 96 lives by 2030. The Productivity Commission in its recent announcement of a review of productivity in this country said, 'If we are waiting for a crisis to indicate that government should act there is none - just an inexorable slowing towards reduced opportunity, greater dispute over a smaller than expected pie, and selective protection'
We as an industry need agile approval processes for innovative vehicle design and access to the productive road corridors to ensure we do not languish as the Productivity Commission has so eloquently described.