For a number of years Transport Certification Australia (TCA), which administers the IAP, has been moving towards smarter compliance trying to fill the middle ground between operators using prescriptive combinations with set mass limits and those spending large amounts on specifically designed trucks for particular tasks with expensive compliance assurance equipment.
It has recently released new specification for telematics devices to aid operators to get some productivity improvements without over expensive telematic monitoring.
The Telematics Device Functional and Technical Specification is, what TCA calls, its response to the rapid pace of technological developments, the growing use of devices on assets other than vehicles, and the use of lower-level assurance applications.
The National Telematics Framework was set up to make the whole system of monitoring more flexible, to match the monitoring device to the productivity improvement. Applications where the risk of non-compliance was lower would not have to stump up for top shelf monitoring equipment. Instead the technology or reporting method used could be matched to the task.
This change has seen the development of a number of initiatives on the part of the state authorities to allow high productivity vehicles without having to resort to the IAP route. An example of this has been Transport for NSW’s Safety, Productivity and Environment Construction Transport Scheme (SPECTS).
The SPECTS scheme is using a new process to get data about PBS truck movements to Transport for NSW, using the operators’ existing telematics system. The introduction of this rule change in 2019 has seen an increase in the number of operators getting involved in SPECTS, which had limited success when IAP was a requirement.
Only trucks involved in transporting construction materials with a Euro 5 engine, satellite tracking, with onboard mass monitoring and fitted with a number of safety features are eligible.
The innovation which has led to the dropping of the IAP requirement is known as Road Infrastructure Management (RIM), which is an application of the National Telematics Network and run by TCA.
“We are not actually interested in individual vehicle movements, Transport for NSW just wants to get a better handle on where vehicle activity is,” says Gavin Hill, General Manager at TCA. “Operators send their data to us and we then de-identify it and produce reports for Transport for NSW. This is a trust mechanism and Transport for NSW have said to these operators that they know they are only willing to share their data as long it will not end up in the hands of a compliance agency.”
The amount of assurance required by the road managers has now been broken down to three levels. These are related to what the road authorities regard as risk, but also correspond to the level of productivity improvement allowed.
At its most stringent, the regulations call for independent assessment and oversight of all on road activities, with certificate based data and clear oversight of all the data from telematics, basically the use of IAP.
The second level of assurance moves away from IAP, but still requires a telematics element. Some of the data from the vehicles must still be reported, but can be used in the same way as it is in the RIM scheme in NSW. There is still a requirement for independent assessment, but only as a periodic audit.
The third level is one of self assessment with no independent oversight. The operation still has to record data and telematics is the preferred way to gather this information. It is simply a matter of recording each operation.