Road occupation charging

VicRoads recognises that the occupation of arterial roadways can have a negative impact on the road network. It contributes to traffic congestion, reduces community access to amenities, adversely affects the reliability of public transport and compromises the safety of workers and the community.

Following extensive stakeholder engagement, we’ve decided that the use of a road occupation fee should be trialled to better understand ways to manage the occupation of arterial roadways.  

The engagement process has given us an insight into the needs of industry and how the initiative can improve the operation of the road network.

The industry response has been positive and supportive of a road occupation fee model, provided it helps to address the problem of congestion on roads stemming from occupations and lane closures.

Trial with City of Yarra 

VicRoads is partnering with the City of Yarra to trial a road occupation fee within their municipality. The trial will use a road occupation fee which has been set in consultation with the Valuer-General Victoria and uses VicRoads Movement and Place Framework (MPF).

  • The road occupation fee is proposed to be levied on private entities that seek to occupy public land for a private purpose.
  • The MPF classifies roads based on the ability to move people and freight, and takes into consideration the surrounding environment as a destination. 
  • The MPF allows VicRoads to design a road occupation fee model which considers the cost to the community of any Road occupation.

International Precedent

A similar model was trialled by Transport for London and proved that road user occupation charges could reduce congestion and improve the safety of site workers and the community.

This trial in 2015/16 showed that where a lane rental scheme was in effect, traffic flow was 21% higher than in areas without a lane rental scheme. Transport for London has now passed legislation that allows road occupation fees in the form of a lane rental scheme to continue beyond the trial.

We’re also working with Transport for London and their data integrator on a way to improve assessment of impacts we can measure. If funding is approved for this initiative, we could begin to introduce rich new data sets to improve the value of road space occupied for private construction.

Why is the change to the current road occupation process being introduced?

The occupation of roadways for developments on adjoining land and within the road reserve can contribute to congestion and impact the operation of public transport and safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

VicRoads is considering changes to better manage congestion, improve safety and access for road users and increase understanding of the impact on the community of road occupations.

The main objective is to ensure that where a road occupation is deemed necessary and will not significantly impact the primary purpose of the road, a charge will apply. This aims to encourage shorter occupations and the consideration of possible alternatives.

What is changing?

There are several changes being trialled in the City of Yarra:

  • Some road occupations will now incur a fee proportional to the impact on the community.
  • Current processes will be reviewed to ensure a transparent, seamless process with more support given to applicants seeking a road occupation permit.
  • Community will have greater clarity regarding road occupations and the impact on their journeys and access to amenities.

Which road occupations will incur a charge?

An exemption list has been developed for instances where a charge will be exempted.

Primarily, this relates to a reasonable occupation, solely related to the provision of a service for the community, either:

  • Defined as a utility service under the Road Management Act 2004, or 
  • A responsible road authority or their agent (including Eastlink, CityLink, LXRA, MMRA, NELA, WDA or other Administrative Offices, established under the Public Administration Act 2004).

How are the charges being calculated?

The charges are calculated based on the total area and period of time the roadway is occupied (including bicycle lanes where applicable) and the importance of the road to the local and travelling community. 

The applicant goes to VicRoads Journey Services to occupy a space, journey services considers what is fair and reasonable, once a reasonable occupation is agreed to, a charge applies. 

There is no ‘length’ of occupation because it is congestion based, so the occupation area is one average area of occupation.

Charges will range from $1,285 - $1,865 per lane per week.

What will the charges be used for?

Any revenue generated will be used to improve VicRoads’ capability and capacity to assess road occupation applications and to provide additional surveillance to ensure applicants are operating within permit conditions.

What benefits will I see with the new system?

The new system aims to create greater clarity and simplicity for road occupation applications, and provide more support for applicants. It will also better consider community needs and the impact on community of road occupations. 

Most councils already levy a charge on private parties who wish to occupy council roads. Occupation of council roads is typically by developers who are constructing a development and can include temporary loading bays, scaffolding, site works or plant and equipment located on council roads. 

The current VicRoads policies and associated business rules and guidelines provide little guidance as to the specific circumstances where VicRoads will and will not charge for road occupations. Local council policy in this area is well developed, understood and accepted by the building and construction industry.  This approach aims to bring the current VicRoads policies and business rules in line with council policies to create transparency and consistency for applicants and the community.

The initiative aims to contribute to VicRoads goals of improving journeys; making journeys pleasant and predictable, and improving productivity; strengthening the economy through better use of roads.

When will the new changes come into effect? 

A trial will begin from 1 June, 2018 within the City of Yarra municipality and will expand into other municipalities from this point onwards.

Will there be penalties for non-compliance? What other penalties may apply? 

The current penalty model for non-compliance will be reviewed and amended to bring it in line with occupation charges.

How will non-compliance be monitored?

VicRoads will actively work with councils to develop an effective surveillance and education framework to ensure that road occupations are better monitored and enforced in instances where illegal and non-compliant road occupations are in place.

What notice have you given to potential lane use occupiers?

VicRoads is implementing the road occupancy trial and associated charge from 1 June 2018. This follows extensive stakeholder engagement.

This engagement process has informed the project on industry needs and how the initiative can support a positive outcome for congestion. 

Engagement so far has been positive and supportive of a road occupation fee model, provided it helps to address the problem of congestion on roads stemming from occupations and lane closures.

The decision to start the trial on 1 June 2018 was made in conjunction with the Victorian Government, City of Yarra and VicRoads. 

If you feel that you have been unfairly affected by the implementation of a road occupation charge trial as you have already quoted for work, please contact us. VicRoads will consider instances on a case by case basis.

Contact us

If you need more information, please get in touch.

Email: [email protected]

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