Harmonised Traffic Data

The harmonised traffic data Insight visualises state and territory heavy vehicle traffic counts, from the Heavy Vehicle Road Reform (HVRR) Asset Registers. Building from the Heavy Vehicle Road Reform Asset Registers, we are working towards a regularly updated, harmonised set of state and territory open traffic data that can be used for modelling and analysis.

With nationally consistent and accurate road usage information governments and others can make better decisions to ensure the safe and efficient movement of road freight. The data will support evidenced based transport investment priorities for maintenance and new projects.

This project contributes to our understanding of many enduring questions for freight, including:

  • Where is freight being moved?
  • How is freight being moved?
  • What and where are the physical and regulatory bottlenecks and barriers for the efficient and safe movement of freight?
  • What proportion of traffic is freight?
  • How well are Australia’s freight transport networks performing?
  • What and where are the opportunities for freight movements to be more efficient and safe?

Purpose


Despite heavy investment by all levels of government in road sensors and other monitoring data, open data about traffic counts and road usage is fragmented, incomplete and inconsistent.

Consistent, high quality, open and accessible road usage history data are important as a foundation for agreed Heavy Vehicle Road Reforms as well as informing future transport policy initiatives from road pricing to mobility as a service (MAAS).

Predicting maintenance needs, future capacity challenges and the best balance of transport investments all rely on trusted and consistent data.

This project will improve the data’s consistency, availability, discoverability, and interoperability. Future phases of this project will focus on national harmonisation, increasing the quality and openness of traffic count data for all roads in Australia. Examples of different methodologies used by jurisdictions include:

  • Point versus segment analysis.
  • Using historical data collected from previous years adjusted for changes in vehicle numbers.
  • Dual carriageways might show two-way Average Annual Daily Traffic but for other roads/states the data might be one-way or undifferentiated by direction of travel.

About the data


Asset Registers
  • Dataset name: Asset Registers harmonised traffic data.
  • Data owner: State and territory governments.
  • Geographical coverage: Key freight routes provided by state and territory governments.
  • Date range: 2018 data has been visualised, 2017 is available through the Data Catalogue.
  • Frequency of update: annual.
  • Description: The Asset Registers data shows traffic volume estimates provided by state and territory government road agencies. The estimates are based on traffic counts measured at various points along the road network in different years.

Harmonising Heavy Vehicle traffic count data will assist in building a national picture for Average Annual Daily Traffic.


Limitations
  • Heavy vehicles are defined as vehicles with a gross vehicle mass of 4.5 tonnes and above, typically rigid and articulated trucks and buses.
  • The Asset Registers data uses traffic volume estimates provided by state and territory government road agencies, which, in turn, are based on traffic counts measured at various points along the road network. Traffic counts are collected at permanent and temporary count sites, providing a mix of fully enumerated and partial survey count information, with the latter typically scaled to full-year equivalent estimates.
  • Traffic counts are not collected at all sites every year. In this case, traffic volumes may be based either on previous traffic count information or modelled estimates and can vary significantly from year-to-year, due to one or more factors, including sampling error, modelling methods or a combination of the two.
  • Harmonising the historical data sets for the different jurisdictions involves establishing a common set of attributes, units and definitions, and developing data transformations for each dataset for each year and from each source. The source data is provided in a variety of formats and sometimes contains internal inconsistencies or missing values.
  • Data for all vehicles and heavy vehicle counts is not available in the Asset Registers for Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory in 2017 and 2018 nor for the Northern Territory in 2017.