The Austroads Freight Program aims to assist road and transport agencies in their efforts to address the future freight task.
New Zealand and Australia face significant growth in the freight task in coming years. This growth will require better management of freight and more optimal use of all transport modes.
Freight efficiency has real impacts on households. The harder it is to move freight around the higher the costs we pay for goods and services, and the more expensive and less competitive our products are on global markets. The freight task in Australia quadrupled over the past 40 years, and will almost double again in the next 20 years. Freight accounts for an estimated 9 per cent of GDP and supports employment in around a quarter of a million Australian businesses.
The significance of freight to Australia’s national economy was recognised by governments earlier this year, when ministers on the Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure agreed to Australia’s first National Land Freight Strategy. The Freight Program will provide research and advice that will be critical to delivering on the objectives of the Strategy. One of the programs’ current initiatives – relating to a Route Assessment Tool to assist access decisions for heavy vehicles – is specifically mentioned in the Strategy.
The work of the Austroads Freight Program in the next four years is focussed on developing:
Research on key issues impacting on the productivity of heavy vehicles, and the roads on which they travel
National standards to improve the productivity and sustainability of road freight movement
A policy framework for light freight
Guidelines and tools to improve road and bridge access decision making
National performance indicators for heavy vehicles and freight
National competencies and capability framework for road freight regulators
For the past four years the Fright Program has been hosted by VicRoads. In July 2013 the hosting was transferred to the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure and Transport in Canberra.
Austroads supports two representatives on the World Road Association’s Freight Transport Technical Committee, Don Hogben from DPTI SA who is the Committee Chair and Rick Barber from NZTA. The Committee has a four year work plan which will address Freight Management and Co-modality for Freight Transport. The Committee met in May in Chicago. The meeting report details the meeting outcomes.