Road use data collection optimising network management

Truck on road network
Gavin Hill

Gavin Hill

by Gavin Hill, General Manager Strategy & Delivery, Transport Certification Australia

Transport Certification Australia has forged a reputation in its offerings of telematics monitoring and assurance applications, including the Intelligent Access Program (IAP).

There was a time when the IAP was the only form of regulatory telematics monitoring in Australia, managing higher risk vehicles and loads on the road network. However, it has become evident that transport operators and road managers are interested in other telematics applications that meet requirements beyond the monitoring of heavy vehicle operations against set access conditions.

The Road Infrastructure Management application (RIM) is a new offering that is a shift from regulatory telematics. RIM offers a new way of collecting road use data from vehicles to help road managers optimise the management of road networks.

By focusing on ‘big data’ from a larger number of vehicles, road managers are able to better understand the planning, investment, maintenance and other needs of their road networks. RIM supports the right level of assurance needed for road usage reporting. For example, the RIM application allows transport operators to use whatever telematics device and systems they have in their vehicle, rather than requiring certified or approved devices.

How RIM works

RIM enables the collection of road use data from a vehicle fitted with a telematics device through a service provider. The data is de-identified and aggregated to ensure individual operators and vehicles can’t be seen. It can be used with other applications of the National Telematics Framework, where needed to meet the conditions and requirements of road managers.

RIM allows TCA to produce specialised reports on road usage, for example heavy vehicle traffic across a bridge, peak times of travel on certain routes, average vehicle speed at a particular location, or common stopping places for rest breaks.

These and other types of relevant data available through RIM can help inform road managers on transport maintenance, planning and investment decisions. Through RIM, governments and local councils may also be better informed to anticipate the risks of urban encroachment on high access routes for high productivity heavy vehicles and to apply the right future-focused infrastructure planning.

TCA Heatmap for RIM

RIM creates data that allows us to visualise the way participating vehicles use the road network – at a whole-of-network level, but also right down to the level of individual roads and bridges.

Implementation in the sector

Heavy vehicle operators will soon have an opportunity to opt in to the RIM app.

An early deployment of this application is in the construction sector in New South Wales. Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) has recently reissued business rules for telematics monitoring of the Safety, Productivity and Environment Construction Transport Scheme (SPECTS) – which allows transport operators using combinations that comply with the requirements of the scheme to operate at up to 57.5 tonnes.

SPECTS formerly required IAP monitoring, but RMS has reviewed the conditions of access. Transport operators will now be able to benefit from changes to business rules by allowing data from their existing telematic devices to be transmitted to TCA. This data will be aggregated and de-identified, and will provide a rich source of data on the construction sector for RMS.

Stage 1 of the RIM SPECTS application in NSW will run for a six-month trial – operators seeking to participate in this trial can get in touch with TCA for more information.

TCA also uses the anonymised data from RIM and other telematics monitoring applications to support broader policy, planning and education activities.

These include:

  • Helping the Heavy Vehicle National Regulator and road managers to review access for vehicles in return for improved visibility of vehicle movements
  • Supporting the review of the Heavy Vehicle National Law
  • Partnering with industry to publish reports about vehicle movements – such as Performance-Based Standards (PBS) movements
  • Informing policy and planning discussions such as identifying key freight routes based on actual movement data and current policies relating to restricted access vehicles, such as dangerous goods or oversize, overmass vehicles

In a nutshell, through RIM, road infrastructure managers can get de-identified telematics data about heavy vehicle use on the road network; make better investment decisions on road use through specialised reports; and have a single point of access for valuable telematics road use data.

RIM creates data that allows us to visualise the way participating vehicles use the road network – at a whole-of-network level, but also right down to the level of individual roads and bridges.

For more information on RIM, visit www.tca.gov.au/new-applications or call TCA directly on (03) 8601 4600.

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