Telematics and the road to Regulation


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Remember a few years back now when those fixed speed cameras gave you a speed reading from the overpass? Apart from highlighting just how inaccurate your car’s speedometer was, they were also one of the first examples of intelligent transport systems or ITS technology on Australian roads.

Fast-forward a decade or so and ITS is all around us, from toll points that automatically charge your credit card to GPS mapping that provides a driver with live traffic conditions.

Telematics, encompassing telecommunications, sensors and wireless communications is the next chapter in the Australian road transport story, but keeping pace with fast moving developments from a governance and regulatory standpoint is proving to be an ongoing challenge.

Integration

Regulators and road authorities are increasingly using technology to monitor road infrastructure.

This is leading to calls from fleet operators, truck owners and transport industry associations for integrated telematics which serve compliance requirements and driver/fleet manager’s needs.

Here in Australia, Transport Certification Australia (TCA) administers the National Telematics Framework on behalf of the Australian government and transport agencies.

The framework provides a nationally agreed reference point for the development and delivery of telematics technology, including the voluntary Intelligent Access Program (IAP), intelligent speed compliance, on-board mass (OBM) monitoring and electronic work diaries (EWDs).

Electronic Work Diaries & Telematics

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR in co-operation with TCA, is currently developing an approach to the national adoption of electronic work diaries (EWDs), and an EWD specification in Australia is expected to be finalised in the first half of 2017.

EWDs are being established under the National Telematics Framework, which promotes the ‘one box, many uses’ principle to facilitate the simultaneous operation of regulatory and commercial applications.

Chris Koniditsiotis, TCA Chief Executive Officer, said the introduction of EWDs will ensure “transport operators do not need to purchase new, stand-alone systems or technologies, subject to decisions by telematics providers to offer EWD services.”

Usage

A November 2015 ACA Research omnibus study on telematics adoption in the road freight industry showed that 39 per cent of trucks and fleets in the country are using telematics of some description. Of these, 91 per cent are fleets with more than 25 trucks.

In comparison, the telematics usage rate among owner-drivers and smaller fleets is low.

Only 23 per cent of fleets of three to five trucks use telematics, with the usage rate falling to 5 per cent for owners of one to two trucks.

The research shows transport operators use an average of five features from what’s available on the market.

Key Statistics

•             97% of telematics is being used for vehicle tracking

•             61% for fatigue management

•             56% for driver performance management

•             Navigation and vehicle performance monitoring follow closely, at 53% and 48% respectively

Given the technological advances in how our roads are regulated, transport operators, big and small, will most likely find themselves engaging with telematics in one way or another over the coming years.

Whether it’s a single in-vehicle device such as a basic satellite tracking unit, multiple devices for multiple needs, or an integrated fully featured system such as Isuzu Telematics, the technology is here to stay.

It’s the operators who understand telematics, and work with the data to get the very best out of the vehicles and their drivers who will come out on top.

In terms of the business bottom line, and the changing face of road transport safety, it’s inevitable telematics will have a crucial role to play in shaping operational efficiencies of the future.

Keen to know more? Take a look at how Isuzu Telematics can help reduce your fleet costs and improve productivity.