Transport logistics in South Africa forms the backbone of the economy, having represented 11.8% of GDP, or R499 billion in 2016. These costs are significantly higher than many developed countries. The South African transportation sector is vulnerable to becoming less and less competitive due to local and international economic and political instability. South Africa also has a disproportionately high heavy vehicle fatality rate, compared to the rest of the world; with 12.5 fatalities per 100 million heavy vehicle kilometres travelled. The Smart Truck or Performance-Based Standards (PBS) Pilot project was introduced in 2007 as a subset of the Road Transport Management System (RTMS), to increase heavy vehicle safety and road transportation efficiency. The pilot project is nearing the completion of phase one, 100 million PBS vehicle kilometres. The project has shown significant improvements thus far with a reduction in the crash rate of 35.4% vs the RTMS-certified baseline fleet. Significant financial savings have also been recorded with a weighted average reduction in trips of 28.5% and an average 10.8% reduction in fuel consumption. The project has thus far shown the possibility, in conjunction with RTMS, to decrease the transportation GDP by as much as several percentage points given mass adoption which directly translates to savings per annum to the South African economy in the billions of Rand. This paper discusses the possibility of implementing the Smart Truck project nationally, as well as its potential pitfalls. Initial indications, however, showed that the Smart Truck project has the possibility to significantly improve both the safety and efficiency of the transportation sector, with little cause for concern.
Papers presented at the 36th Southern African Transport Conference, CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa on 10-13 July 2017.