The Smart Truck or Performance-Based Standards (PBS) pilot project in South Africa has been running since 2007, and currently comprises approximately 280 vehicles operational in seven provinces, spanning fourteen different industries or commodities. These high capacity vehicles operate under special permit concessions, which allow for additional mass and dimensions, but still adhere to the permissible axle loads. Each participating vehicle in this pilot project must be assessed for its vehicle dynamics performance against fifteen performance standards, as well as its road wear impact performance as assessed against eight representative road structures in South Africa. For each PBS vehicle design, the equivalent “baseline” vehicle is also assessed. This is the standard legal vehicle (with no mass or dimension concessions) which performs the same freight task on the same route for the same operator alongside the PBS vehicle. Assessing both PBS and baseline vehicles and logging their operational performance provides insights into the operating cost benefits of PBS vehicles as well as their safety and road impact performance as compared to standard legal vehicles in South Africa. In this paper some of the latest data for both PBS and baseline vehicles will be assessed, and extract insights into heavy vehicle freight transport in South Africa. This comparative study is the first of its kind for the South African PBS pilot project and lays the foundation for important future studies in this area.
Papers presented at the 38th International Southern African Transport Conference on "Disruptive transport technologies - is South and Southern Africa ready?" held at CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa on 8th to 11th July 2019.