5.3.1 What are Performance Based Standards (PBS)?

In this lesson:

The Performance Based Standards scheme enables innovative, designed for purpose vehicles to deliver productivity solutions with the added benefit of setting safety benchmarks.

Performance Based Standards (PBS) scheme applies an alternative regulatory system for heavy vehicles, that limit a vehicle’s mass and dimensions by its performance characteristics and the capability of the road it is to travel on, rather than by fixed mass and dimension limits.

It essentially allows larger or heavier vehicles to get access to parts of the road network which otherwise would not be allowed

PBS achieves higher mass by adding more axles not by gaining more mass on individual axles

Benefits of PBS vehicles

  • PBS vehicles are safer than conventional freight vehicles (crash rates 46% lower)
  • PBS vehicles are more productive (15% to 30%)
  • PBS vehicles reduce road maintenance
  • Reduce the number of kilometres travelled to deliver the same amount of freight
  • Reduce the fuel use and emissions of the freight task

PBS Levels

The PBS system categorises vehicles into four PBS levels:

  • Level 1: Performs like general access vehicles
  • Level 2: Performs like B-doubles
  • Level 3: Performs like Double (Type I) road trains
  • Level 4: performs like Triple (Type II) road trains

The PBS standards

The PBS scheme defines:

  • 16 vehicles performance standards designed to ensure the vehicles can navigate the road system and can perform safely;
  • 4 pavement protection standards designed to protect road and bridge infrastructure.

Some PBS vehicles may require individual assessment against bridge infrastructure before they can be given access to some bridges.

Getting a PBS vehicle on the Road

It is important that operators investigate the access issues related to the proposed task before they commence building the vehicle

Once a PBS design has been approved the manufacturer must build the PBS vehicle/combination to the specifications outlined in the design documents.

If the vehicle/combination deviates from the design documents, the variation to the design may need to be re-assessed to ensure it continues to comply with the standards.

The re-assessment process may lead to additional costs and delays in getting the combination on the road.

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