For many people it is quite difficult to spot the performance based standards vehicle as it passes them on the road. Often, PBS vehicles look very much like vehicles we already see on our roads. They just have altered dimensions which improve dynamic stability and road friendliness. At a recent demonstration event for local councils in Queensland, a number of examples of the kind of thing PBS can achieve were on show at a live demonstration.
First up was a semi trailer which looked to all intents and purposes like any other we see on the roads every day. In fact, this is a 20 metre long combination designed to increase productivity when transporting woodchip.
A 19 metre long tipper and dog has a design which improves vehicle stability to the point where road authorities can allow it to run at a higher GCM. A slightly longer 20 metre tipper and dog gives the operator further improvement in stability and tracking.
The three axle truck pulling a six axle dog provides a 39 per cent productivity improvement for the operator involved. Crash statistics also show a 50 per cent improvement in safety outcomes, due to reduced crash rates for this kind of truck.
One of the big winners from the PBS process is the A-double. This is a combination we are seeing more and more of on our roads, especially coming out of port areas in capital cities. The ability for these trucks to handle two 40 foot containers at masses up to 85 tonnes GVM on HML routes has seen operators get 100 per cent productivity improvements.
On display were two examples of the design. One can handle two full size containers and the other was a pair of fuel tankers. Fuel suppliers have been able to substitute these A-double tanker sets for the former B-doubles used, to get a substantial productivity boost.
These normally ply their trade out the Port of Brisbane area, around the Gateway/Logan Motorway to the South of Brisbane, before heading west on the Warrego Highway, up the Toowoomba Range and further West into Queensland and its growing resources industry activity.
The transport of grain from the Darling Downs in Queensland through the Dividing Range and down to the Port of Brisbane has been revolutionised by the A-double combination in recent years.
Star of the show was a small set of milk tankers, built by Byfords and destined to haul milk around Tasmania for the milk hauler, Blu Logistics. This is the AB-double, a quirky looking combination which uses axle spacing and steerable axles to come up with a very road friendly solution to access issues in rural areas.
This 6×4 prime mover pulls a single axle trailer, which, in turn, pulls a tandem axle dolly with spread axles and a rear steering axle. This connects to a second single axle trailer. The axle set up with steering saw the combination circling an especially tight roundabout with ease, and the spreading of the axles brings with it the added benefit of higher single axle masses.
The demonstration day was an opportunity for the army to reassure local councils limited access a few times a year would be unlikely to result in major road damage issues.
The NHVR is planning on running a series of event to try and convince the road authorities to come along and have a look. If they do eventuate, the positive attitude shown by those in the audience augurs well for a kind of PBS fleet, like that envisaged by its progenitors.