Increase road trains to reduce road toll?

The ATA pushes to increase first and last mile access for road trains

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The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) says allowing more access to high productivity vehicles like this AB-Triple, will reduce freight costs, improve road safety and reduce emissions. Photo supplied by ATA.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) says allowing more access to high productivity vehicles like this AB-Triple, will reduce freight costs, improve road safety and reduce emissions. Photo supplied by ATA.

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The ATA says more road trains will equal less trucks on the road.

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A recent report from AgriFutures Australia and Deloitte Access Economics found logistics were the largest single cost item in the production of many agricultural products.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) says this situation can be significantly improved by increasing access to high productivity vehicles (HPV), otherwise known as road trains.

Chief Engineer at the ATA, Bob Woodward said access problems for high productivity vehicles were largely found during the first and last mile of a delivery.

"If you can't get access to the first mile to load the commodity, or the last mile to deliver it, then you can't use the higher productivity vehicle for the whole trip," Mr Woodward said.

"Mostly the first and last mile is owned by local government and I've seen cases where it has taken local government more than 300 days to respond to an access permit application."

However, the Australian Local Government Association (AGLA) said local council road managers had issued permits on par or quicker than state road managers and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, despite limited resources.

Local council road managers clocking an average access permit processing time of 60 days from 2017 to 2018.

The AGLA said council road managers considered safety, infrastructure and amenity conditions before issuing a high productivity vehicles an access permit.

But even if access permits were easier to obtain, do we want road trains racing up and down the Hume Highway?

The answer from Mr Woodward is absolutely.

"There's huge infrastructure benefits, fuel savings, greenhouse gas savings, productivity benefits, to me it's a no brainer, let's get on with it," Mr Woodward said.

He argued road trains were better for the environment and safer because they reduced the amount of trucks on the road.

"One B-Double replaces 1.62 semi-trailers, one road train replaces 2.03 semi-trailers," Mr Woodward said.

"The B-Double in its first 15 years or so was accredited with reducing the Australian road toll by 350 lives.

"Australia is looking for the next productivity increase in road transport that we got in the 1990s with B-Doubles."

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