Austroads 2000 reported that in terms of freight tonne-kilometres, Australia has the most transport demanding economy of all OECD countries. Overall the growth in travel by articulated trucks exceeds the growth in travel by passenger cars, so that articulated trucks represent an increasing proportion of total traffic.
There are more than 200 WIM collection sites throughout Australia and most of these sites are along principal road networks in rural areas.
Most road agencies collect WIM data on a regular basis and attempt to manage the data in an integrated manner.
Although it is unlikely that WIM data could be used alone to estimate freight movements, the advantages of using WIM data for freight management include:
• it can provide time series data
• it is relatively inexpensive and reliable if the equipment is properly maintained
• it provides data on traffic composition and tonnage with a reasonable accuracy.
It is difficult to put an economic value on WIM data for freight/trade aspects. However, as a broad indication, the annual cost of road freight in Australia is about $30 billion.
If, through better data, road investment was better targeted to the needs of the road freight industry such that industry costs were reduced by only 0.1%, this would represent an annual benefit of $30 million.
Applications in weighing for freight/trade planning and regulation are as follows:
- collection of GVM data for the determination of the Austroads performance indicator – lane occupancy rate for freight
- collection of GVM data for ascertaining aggregate freight movements and the development of freight/trade strategies and time series for inter-regional corridors
- ascertaining vehicle weight limits and regulations
- collection of truck mass data for the planning of specific heavy vehicle routes
- ascertaining the extent of road use by different classes of heavy vehicles for potential taxation or cost attribution
- input of vehicle mass data for financial investment and work programming, including revenue estimation and forecasting, energy supply, consumption and forecasting as well as commodity movement studies
- monitoring of material movement at entry or departure points at quarries, mines, ports and freight depots monitoring of material movements at port entry or departure points to allow freight load optimisation
- ascertaining the utilisation of the load carrying capacity of freight/trade vehicles
- collection of GVM and IAM data as a basis for toll collection, such as road and bridge tolls and ferry operators.
Austroads 2000, Weigh-in-motion technology, AP–R168-00, Austroads, Sydney, NSW
Luk, JYK & Chen, B 1997, Evaluation of information available to assess road freight transport demand, report ARR 308, ARRB Transport Research Ltd, Vermont South, Vic