Prime Mover Magazine

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Peter Hart

ARTSA-i has a plan to manage the future

August 2020

The rate of change in our world seems to be accelerating. Even setting aside the horror year 2020, we are seeing social and technological changes occurring that are challenging the status quo. Maybe that has always been true.

However, the scale, rate and complexity of change is being felt by every manager and worker in our industry.

The commercial road freight industry must find ways to continuously improve safety, productivity and environmental performance while providing a good living and a work-life balance for its participants. How can we balance so many competing demands?

ARTSA has transformed itself into an Institute now known as ARSTA-i, which is shorthand for ARTSA-Institute. Why an Institute? Because it is independent and therefore not an advocate for one view. It will be objective and therefore non-adversarial.

It will be collegiate and therefore bringing participants together. It will be a forward-looking organisation. ARTSA-i is not a technical group and it wants to attract participation from all people working in the commercial road-freight industry.

The Institute will focus on informing the commercial road freight industry about the policy options that are available to cope with change and challenges in our industry. ARTSA believes this radical shift is needed because industry associations traditionally focus on the immediate regulatory issues and pressures that its members experience.

ARTSA-i has identified that changes occurring now will require best practice procedures, codes of practice and regulations in one, two or five years from now. This article outlines the ARTSA-i model and invites all of you, whatever your role is, to contribute to it and learn from it. ARTSA-i Goals:

Use industry data sources to better understand the commercial vehicle freight sector.
Research specific areas of change to help identify the policy responses that are available for suppliers, operators, freight forwarders, workers, consumers and regulators.

Inform the commercial road-freight industry of issues and trends.

Help train the next generation of industry leaders by involving individuals in investigations and mentoring them.

ARTSA was established over 40 years ago. It has many achievements. Two are worthy of elaboration here because they are relevant to the ARTSA-i concept. About eight years ago ARTSA was provided access to heavy vehicle data in the National Exchange of Vehicle and Driver Information Service (NEVDIS).

ARTSA has successfully partnered with the owner of the database AustRoads, to clarify and understand the heavy vehicle fleet. The ARTSA-i Data project has resulted in public interest reports being released that better inform this industry.

For example, ARTSA and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator recently released the 2019/2020 PBS report (see left).

Back in December 2016 I estimated an ~$8B value-add on new heavy vehicle manufacturing in Australia based upon NEVDIS data and published it in Prime Mover magazine.

There is much more knowledge on many other topics that can be extracted from the NEVDIS database and other data sources that need to be put into the public space. ARTSA-i Data is a cornerstone of the projects that ARTSA-i will take up.

A second ARTSA achievement has been to establish a Life Members Group. So far ARTSA has recognised the industry achievements of over 30 people who have made a significant contribution to the road transport industry.

These people are from many different sectors in the industry: suppliers, regulators, operators, researchers et al and ARTSA wanted to recognise their significant achievements. It also wanted to establish a reference group and a mentor group.

ARTSA-i will rely upon the Life Member Group to guide its investigations and to mentor the people who are working on investigations.
The ARTSA-i structure is shown in the diagram. The key aspects are:

ARTSA-i Executive which is responsible for governance.

ARSTA-i Advisory Board will strategically guide the Institute without being responsible for it.

ARSTA-i Associate Members will contribute to the investigations, receive reports, be invited to events and put in touch with Life Members and industry leaders.

ARTSA-i Life Members will help guide and mentor Associate Members.

ARTSA-i Data will produce analysis for use in investigation reports and in a subscription-newsletter called ARTSA-Vital. ARTSA-i Data will continue to provide bespoke reports about the commercial vehicle fleet to its subscription clients.

ARTSA-i sponsors will support specific investigation projects and will be fully informed and consulted about these projects. Sponsors will be invited to nominate Associate Members. Sponsors will also receive the ARTSA-Vital subscription newsletter.

ARTSA-i will not have corporate members. So why should industry companies and organisations become ARTSA-i Sponsors? 

The value will come from information that its managers will receive about the trends occurring in the commercial road transport industry. There will also be value in the career development and network building for Associate Members that the sponsors employ.

ARTSA-I Sponsors will be consulted about projects that they want established, and consulted about the selected project as it proceeds. They will also receive our new subscription newsletter called ARTSA-i Vital.

Associate members are key participants in our plans and anybody is welcome to join. Each Associate Member will be able to participate within a Project Team that will work on a specific investigation.

The value to Associate Members is in obtaining career knowledge, developing new industry contacts and potential career development that is not tied to any employer. Once an Associate Member has contributed to a project, the Associate can continue as a member of ARTSA-i. There will be an annual membership fee. Associates will be invited to social events and to presentations that ARTSA-i will hold frequently.

ARTSA-i is currently working on three important safety projects. These are:
1  A Code of Practice for Suppliers of Replacement Parts
2  A Guide to Fire Risk on Heavy Vehicles in Australia
3  A Brake Calculator for Assessment of heavy vehicle brake modifications.

These three projects are being supported by the Federal Government’s Road Safety Initiative Program that is being administered by the NHVR for heavy-vehicle projects. Other projects that are under active consideration include:  1. Near Miss Data Gathering — a project to identify the ways in which near miss data in Vehicle Stability Control databases could be collected to help identify risky operating conditions; 2: Value and character of heavy-vehicle manufacturing in Australia. 

ARTSA-i is now seeking Sponsors and nominations of Associate Members. Anyone who would like further information can email the Executive Office at

Dr. Peter Hart,

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