Heavy vehicles / Productivity / National Land Transport Productivity Framework (project work complete)

Good frameworks and performance measures are key tools to help guide national reform and planning.

National Land Transport Productivity Framework (project work complete)

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


Productivity growth – improvements in the efficiency of turning inputs into outputs – is essential to improving Australian’s standard of living.  Transport is often thought of as an input when measuring productivity across a range of industries.  However as our population grows, the Australian passenger and freight task also continues to grow, therefore it is becoming increasingly important that we can monitor productivity within the land transport industry itself to assist with transport and transport related policy decisions.

All Australians benefit from transport productivity improvements through shorter travel times, cheaper goods, higher incomes, and reduced fuel use. We are looking at how we can help decision makers understand the impact their decisions have on land transport productivity by developing a productivity framework. One of the objectives of the proposed framework is to create a common a language and shared understanding of transport productivity.

Next steps

This was a two year project which commenced in November 2015 and was completed in November 2017. We released an issues paper in August 2016 to capture our research and stakeholder discussions and seek the views of industry and government. We then worked with HoustonKemp Economists to develop a National Land Transport Productivity Framework which measures land transport productivity in Australia. It includes all parts of the economy that use substantive amounts of transport including mining, agriculture, construction and retail.

During September 2017, the Transport and Infrastructure Standing Officials Committee (TISOC) noted that the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) will develop land transport productivity estimates as part of the National Infrastructure Data Collection and Dissemination Plan using the Framework. The Australian Bureau of Statistics will also produce an experimental Transport Satellite Account to establish the contribution of transport to Australia’s gross domestic product. This data will significantly enhance the national Framework. The Transport and Infrastructure Council endorsed the project outcomes report at its November 2017 meeting.


Governments, commercial transport operators and users, public transport operators and users, and private transport users all make decisions, individually or as a group, that impact productivity. But to what extent do their decisions affect transport productivity and who benefits and who loses from these decisions? Considering these questions will help us to determine which decisions makers we should be aiming to support.

The NTC, though engagement with both government and industry stakeholders, identified that:

  1. there are no nationally agreed productivity indicators for transport, and
  2. existing information on the productivity of Australia’s land transport systems was not sufficiently consistent, coordinated or understood to enable decision-makers to effectively deliver productivity enhancing reform or investments.

As a result we prepared a business case which proposed to develop a productivity framework for land transport to better support decision makers with improved productivity measures.

In November 2015, the Transport and Infrastructure Council (the Council) approved the business case for the National Land Transport Productivity Framework project to proceed. The business case highlighted that, unlike other policy areas such as road safety, there was no overarching framework to help guide decision-making to achieve improved transport productivity. It also outlined possible productivity measures that a productivity framework for land transport could include and how it may be developed further, in the future, into a national land transport strategy with agreed goals, targets and measures.

In 2016 we commenced preliminary research to better understand what productivity means both in and for the transport sector, how it is measured and where there are barriers to and opportunities for governments and industry to improve transport productivity.

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Project Manager Melissa O'Brien
Last Updated: 15/11/2018