Heavy vehicles / Productivity / Assessing the effectiveness of the PBS marketplace and identifying barriers to vehicle design innovation

A review of the Performance Based Standards (PBS) scheme and its operating marketplace.

Assessing the effectiveness of the PBS marketplace and identifying barriers to vehicle design innovation

  • Scoping > 
  • Analysing issues > 
  • Analysing options > 
  • Implementing


The NTC has assessed the effectiveness of the Performance Based Standards (PBS) scheme, as well as the impacts of government intervention and blueprinting of PBS designs, to find new ways of improving the scheme.

 This project investigated:

  1. whether the PBS scheme is meeting its original policy intent
  2. whether the scheme itself contains barriers to operating as an effective marketplace for the development, sale and commercialisation of innovative vehicles
  3. the productivity, safety and environmental impacts of the scheme, and
  4. whether there are any worthwhile improvements to the system (including the potential removal of any unnecessary market barriers or administrative costs).

Next steps

In early 2017, the NTC conducted a survey which sought information from governments and industry regarding the current state of the PBS marketplace and potential improvement opportunities.

This information was used to complete a detailed review of the PBS scheme, as well as a quantitative study of the PBS scheme’s benefits and impacts. The outcomes of this review are contained in a discussion paper (refer below), which was open for public consultation until Monday, 9 October 2017.

This consultation process informed draft recommendations which the NTC presented to the Transport and Infrastructure Senior Officials' Committee (TISOC) for approval in March 2018 and the Transport and Infrastructure Council  in May 2018.

All of the recommendations in the NTC's Reforming the Performance Based Standards policy paper were approved by ministers. The NTC will now work closely with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, industry and all levels of government to implement these recommendations. 


The PBS scheme aims to improve heavy vehicle productivity and safety. Operating since 2007, the scheme has approved more than 2,500 innovative heavy vehicles that are safer, more productive and more efficient in moving freight.

However, it was unclear how effective the PBS scheme is at addressing the problem it was introduced to address, as it had not been comprehensively reviewed so far. Feedback from existing PBS customers and government authorities suggested there may be worthwhile improvements to the PBS scheme.

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Contact us

Project Manager Mandi Mees
Last Updated: 11/4/2019