Science and Technology

Mapping Australian freight: SWOT analysis

Mapping Australian freight

This R&D project will research existing Australian freight and supply chain geospatial initiatives to identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities in national freight mapping.

It will apply these learnings to develop options and strategies to improve National Key Freight Routes and other datasets. Key industry and government stakeholders will be consulted to understand their freight mapping needs and to identify recommendations to bridge the gap from the current state.


Australian Road Research Board
Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications

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Project background

The National Key Freight Routes (KFR) map is an initiative of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (DITRDC) in collaboration with state and territory governments.

The map, which was last reviewed in 2018, provides a detailed picture of road and rail routes connecting Australia’s nationally significant places for freight, such as ports, airports, and intermodal terminals. It is available for use by governments and industry as a policy tool to inform strategic planning and investment decisions across the freight network and to better understand and plan for critical freight flows. It also informs a range of national transport infrastructure policy, regulatory, planning, and operational issues.

The importance of this geospatial picture is acknowledged in the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy Action Area 4, which commits to national action to enable better freight location and performance data. It is important to ensure the map continues to support Action Area 4 and remains fit for purpose as a policy tool for key users including the transport and logistics industry, all levels of government, land use planners, and researchers.

There is benefit in improving the mapping experience for users by exploring its ongoing use, existing governance arrangements, and whether there is scope to improve the KFR geospatial datasets by using different means or datasets, for example potentially combining with heavy vehicle movement data collected by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator or other bodies.

Comparative analysis of current geospatial initiatives across jurisdictions would inform such improvements, and help identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for the KFR.

Project objectives

The aim of this project is to improve geospatial freight data in Australia with a focus on the existing KFR map.

To facilitate this approach, two sub-aims are defined as:

Part 1: Consolidate knowledge of the Australian freight and supply chain’s geospatial capability by considering mapping systems, current and emerging initiatives, and key stakeholders to identify gaps, overlaps and opportunities in this space.

Part 2: Identify and review opportunities to improve the KFR by leveraging existing geospatial capability, increasing engagement through better design, alignment with relevant data standards, and explicit evidence-based approaches for managing KFR data and access.

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