Roadworks, Safety, Transport Industry News

NHVR launches game-changing pavement calculator

The NHVR says its Pavement Calculator will help to understand the condition of Australia's roads in the long term.
Road safety

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has launched an interactive Pavement Impact Comparison Calculator (Pavement Calculator), to enable road managers to understand the long-term pavement effects of freight activity on roads.

The Pavement Calculator is designed to estimate the vertical pavement loading impacts of heavy vehicles.

It considers various factors like different pavement types, axle configurations, axle masses, tyre sizes, and road-friendly suspension, offering a wide-ranging analysis.

The resource is especially useful for road managers without pavement engineering expertise, allowing them to assess the impacts of freight vehicles on their infrastructure accurately.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says the tool will help users find ways to expand the lifespan of roads, and understand that more productive vehicles are needed.

“The Pavement Calculator indicates that larger and heavy vehicles are not necessarily worse for roads than smaller vehicles, especially if they meet the requirements of the NHVR’s Performance Based Standards scheme,” Petroccitto says.

“This information helps facilitate discussions between road managers and industry to achieve the best outcome.

“For example, a PBS A-Double at higher mass limits and fitted with road-friendly suspensions can cause 38 per cent less pavement wear than a B-double at general mass limits.”

The Pavement Calculator will assist road managers in making more efficient and favourable access decisions for higher mass vehicles, potentially leading to larger trucks being allowed on roads without compromising infrastructure sustainability.

Developed using trusted sources such as Austroads pavement research and transport agency pavement guidelines, the calculator is equipped with up-to-date knowledge.

Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia CTO Adam Ritzinger says giving tools like this to road managers will drive productivity upwards.

“HVIA strongly supports the NHVR’s efforts to simplify pavement impact calculations and remove barriers to higher vehicle freight vehicles,” Ritzinger says.

Local governments are responsible for approximately 77 per cent of total road length in Australia, equating to 678,000 kilometres.

These governments often face significant challenges in maintaining these roads, whether financially or due to resources.

IPWEA NSW & ACT Chief Engineer Josh Devitt says the Pavement Calculator is a valuable resource for road managers with limited funding as it reduces the complexity of managing road assets, making the task of road maintenance and rehabilitation more manageable.

“This tool will assist local government road managers in making more informed decisions about the impact of heavy vehicle movements on their network, and lead to an overall improvement in road asset management activities,” Devitt says.

“The tool is based on best practice engineering guidelines and will help streamline design and assessment processes. By making these guidelines user-friendly and digital, the Pavement Calculator not only makes information more accessible but also ensures decisions are grounded in reliable, trusted sources.”

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