Roads are one of the key components of the global road transport market, with road transport becoming increasingly important in areas like freight rail, tourism, and agriculture.
That has left NSW and South Australia with relatively small and fragmented road transport markets.
But there is one big surprise: while there is an almost complete absence of road transport standards in the country’s current road transport laws, there is a huge gap between the standards in New South Wales and SA.
That’s a key finding from a new study from a consortium of researchers led by University of Sydney and Monash University, which has been published in the journal Road Transport.
The researchers found road transport systems are highly fragmented and have a wide range of standards, but also have gaps in how they are managed.
“We looked at road transport in a very different way than we do in other sectors,” said Associate Professor Ian O’Connor, one of four co-authors of the paper.
Road transport systems vary in size, quality and design from country to country, so the gaps between standards are very different, he said.
One key difference is that road transport networks are usually managed through a network of roads, which is different from state-owned roads.
Roads have the same general layout but different standards, including minimum loading zones, minimum speeds and the minimum weight of vehicles.
“A system like a regional rail network, which we use to connect different parts of the country, has a very similar standard set of standards as an interstate system, with the same number of rules, but with different standards for the infrastructure that connects different parts,” Associate Professor O’ Connor said.
“In fact, it’s almost a similar standard.”
The road transport industry is complex, and the research team found there are significant gaps between road transport regulations in New Zealand and South Africa.
In South Africa, for example, the minimum speed is 50 kilometres per hour, but the minimum vehicle weight is a mere 30 kilograms.
South Africa has a number of national standards for road transport, including maximum load limits, minimum speed limits, speed limits and minimum vehicle weights.
South Africa also has a system of regional road transport network, but it is much smaller than New Zealand’s, with just one interstate and five regional rail networks.
South African regional rail operator is the only national rail operator in the world, which uses a regional network for its main service, according to the report.
While it is possible that New South Australia is not using its regional network due to logistical constraints, there are also differences between regional rail and regional road networks, such as minimum vehicle load and maximum speed.
For South Africa to be able to offer a comparable standard to New Zealand, the network needs to be at least 20 per cent larger than New York’s, the report said.
South Australia’s regional rail system is just 5 per cent smaller than that of New York, but still has an equivalent of over 1,100 kilometres of rail network.
South Africans also have very limited access to national rail networks, and they often cannot access the regional rail systems.
These are very large gaps, and one of them is that there is very little infrastructure in place in New England to provide the required connectivity to regional networks, according the report, which was written by Professor John Erskine from the School of Urban Studies at the University of Exeter.
So it’s hard to see how a national network can be built to replace New Zealand or South Australia, he added.
A major problem for South Australia in the study was the lack of any national standards on how to manage roads, according Associate Professor Peter O’Brien, who co-authored the paper with Associate Professor Jonathan Tarrant.
“[South Australia’s] roads are a huge mess,” he said, referring to the state’s failure to have road transport policies.
According to Associate Professor Erspines report, there was a lot of variation in how the systems were managed, with different state-wide rules on how they were managed.
“For example, in New York City, the same rules apply for both local and interstate road transport.
For example, if a vehicle is carrying five people, the rules for New York state are the same for all five of them, whereas in South Australia the rules are different for each of the five people,” he explained.
There are also huge gaps between national standards and regional standards.
For instance, South Australia has an axle weight limit of 40 kilograms for vehicles, while New Zealand has an upper limit of 20 kilograms.
And there are differences in how different states handle regional rail, with South Australia being the most progressive, according Professor Obradovic.
“The national rules for regional rail are very strict.
The New South Australian rules are quite loose,” he noted.
But, Associate Professor Tarrants report also found that South Australia had some of the most innovative road transport schemes in the developed world.
Key findings of the study