The Issues

The Victorian Road Freight Advisory Council advises VicRoads on the development, planning,
regulation and operation of road freight services in Victoria. Each year the Council consults with
the road freight industry and other stakeholders through a series of road freight forums.
One of the most frequently raised issues at the forums is the perceived lack of understanding by
the road users about the operational requirements of heavy vehicles. The development of a
comprehensive communication plan to improve the understanding of the issues related to sharing
the roads with heavy vehicles has been included as an action item in the Council’s Work
Program. The two projects summarised in this paper were commissioned to support this work.

The Projects

The first project was commissioned to deal with two distinct issues:

  • the most common types of collisions with trucks and the messages that can be developed
    to advise the drivers of other vehicles of the most salient sources of danger when driving
    close to trucks
  • the potential impact of the different messages developed.

The second qualitative research project was commissioned to gain a better appreciation of what
road users thought about sharing the road with trucks, and to test their reaction to the advisory
messages developed in the first project.

The present paper integrates the findings from the two projects, identifies the messages which
are likely to be effective with car drivers, and presents the lessons which can be learned from
combining the two approaches.