The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has developed and released Access Connect for permits. The idea is for the portal to give operators visibility about the progress of the application. The portal will also be accessible from the local government side. They will be able to see what kind of permits they have issued before and any conditions set.
“Once people have used the portal, we don’t see them going back to other channels,” says David Carlisle, Program Director for Access Connect. “We find people like to use it and find it easy to operate. It has built to be able to handle 10,000 customers at one time.”
On average each permit application being handled by NHVR needs interaction with five road managers. The development process saw operators from industry sitting in the NHVR offices on easy versions of the portal applying for permits and giving feedback on how to improve the system.
When customers first log in, after registering for the service, they will have to populate the system with all of the data about the operation needed by the permit authority. Each individual user needs to register but those working for the same organisation will all be linked together in a single account. Some, who work as consultants for several operations, may need to be linked with a number of accounts.
Different customers can be allocated different levels of application. Someone in an operation can build the application, chose the type of configuration involved, set out the the required route, but others can go further, review the application, hit the go button and pay for it.
The number of questions the applicant has to fill in on the online form is dependent on the complexity of the vehicle being moved. The simpler the set-up the fewer the questions. The system will also not let them move onto the next stage in the process until all the relevant information has been supplied. This reduces the need for NHVR to have to call applicants back to clarify data. The vehicle can be built on the portal with axle allowances constantly being updated as elements are added to a combination.
When the permit is granted it is available to be downloaded onto any device it may need to be seen on. This means drivers will be able to carry any permit on their phone our tablet in their cabin.
If a permit has been granted, the operator can go back into the system, copy the previous permit, make any changes (to route, vehicle dimensions etc.) and then submit a new application. The system has been designed and tested to be able to cope with 50,000 users processing 500,000 permit applications over the course of a week.
The site now includes a new interactive map in the mould of Google Maps. It means the route can be put into the system and applicants can see where the truck can or cannot go before lodging an application. The system will list out a route turn by turn to clarify exactly where a truck needs to go.
Before the end of 2016 the Access Connect system will have been introduced to the other side of the fence, the road managers. This will see those looking after the roads, from the point of view of the local councils and state jurisdictions able to interact, though the portal with the permit application process.