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Performance based analysis of current South African semi trailer and b-double trailer designs

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Thorogood, Rhys L.

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South African heavy vehicles are currently designed according to prescriptive standards designed and enforced by the National Department of Transport (DoT); these standards are regulated in terms of mass, dimensions and vehicle configuration. However, the current prescriptive standards leave little room for innovation in terms of heavy vehicle design. Performance Based Standards, or PBS, is a new Australian based innovative alternative to the current heavy vehicle prescriptive standards, mass, dimensions and vehicle configuration. PBS seeks to align actual vehicle performance efficiencies, productivity and safety objectives as well as road and bridge infrastructure to the current road network. Vehicle performance measures are based on engineering and science, supporting superior safety and known road and bridge wear performance criteria. PBS produces “a result orientated approach” to improved heavy vehicle operations and safety rather than a „one size fits all approach‟ utilised by the current prescriptive legislation. Currently, dynamic vehicle simulations are not carried out on South African manufactured vehicle combinations. Evidence exists that this has, in some cases, resulted in safety compromises. The computer dynamic vehicle simulation technology developed and validated could be employed for the credible assessments of the vehicle design concepts/prototypes for compliance with PBS. This service, which includes vehicle performance simulation and testing, development of high productivity vehicle concepts, assessment and development of risk management strategies, advice on safety and productivity issues, would have a substantial commercialisation potential for the implementation in the larger transport industry in South Africa.


Thesis (M.Sc.Eng.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2009.


Truck trailers., Trucks--Design and construction., Trucks--Design and construction--Computer simulation., Theses--Mechanical engineering.