New specifications for the kind of systems which could begin opening up new productivity opportunities have now been released. A key feature of this new data is that it separates core monitoring requirements from additional requirements reserved for applications for which the authorities still demand high levels of assurance.
The amount of assurance required by the road managers has now been broken down to three levels. These are related to what the road authorities regard as risk, but also correspond to the level of productivity improvement allowed.
At its most stringent, the regulations call for independent assessment and oversight of all on road activities, with certificate based data and clear oversight of all the data from telematics, basically the use of IAP.
The second level of assurance moves away from IAP, but still requires a telematics element. Some of the data from the vehicles must still be reported, but can be used in the same way as it is in the RIM scheme in NSW. There is still a requirement for independent assessment, but only as a periodic audit.
The third level is one of self assessment with no independent oversight. The operation still has to record data and telematics is the preferred way to gather this information. It is simply a matter of recording each operation.
The intention is for each of these levels of assurance to be matched to a specific set of guidelines and technology to achieve something to keep the road managers happy without breaking the bank for the operator.
For the most stringent of monitoring the IAP has been with us for some time. it is expensive, but operators can justify the cost. For the least stringent of these classifications the RIM scheme is deemed to be enough by the road authorities, as the anonymised data quantifies road use at particular GCM levels.
The medium level of assurance is getting a new application to be used by the operators to get improved productivity. This is to be known as the Telematic Monitoring Application (TMA) and it will hold the middle ground IAP ans schemes like RIM. It will provide vehicle specific monitoring direct to the authorities, but unlike the IAP, the data can be sourced from the operators current telematics system, it will not require non compliance reports or annual hardware inspections.
According to the TCA, the new set of specifications enables technology providers to reference a nationally-consistent set of performance requirements to guide the development of devices that meet the demands of stakeholders using this new framework.
In order to use telematics to achieve higher productivity, operators should be able to assess existing technologies fitted to their vehicles, and know what they should be asking for when purchasing new equipment.
A press release from the TCA tells us, “With road managers and regulators across the country using the Road Infrastructure Management (RIM) application and the Telematics Monitoring Application (TMA), the release of the new specification aims to:
- remove unnecessary hardware requirements for lower level assurance applications (such as RIM and TMA)
- lower barriers to entry for new hardware (and suppliers of hardware)
- reduce costs to transport operators and other users of telematics
- increase the use and adoption of telematics across a diverse range of industry sectors.”
The regulatory space around getting more efficient trucks is improving, but the pace of change has been glacial. The TCA came into existence over 15 years ago and the IAP appeared soon after. The use of PBS vehicles has been hampered by road access issues and the prohibitive cost of running a fleet on IAP. Hopefully these latest changes will make improving productivity a little simpler.