Adding value
to every trip

Delivering efficiency and calculating costs

Reliable access to high-performance metro, regional and rural roads is critical to the ongoing growth of Australia’s freight industry. If freight carriers can’t get goods where they need to be, and when they need to be there, the costs—to productivity, overheads, cash flow and reputation—can be significant. And these costs can flow-on to everyone in the supply chain: the sender; the receiver; the carrier; and everyone in-between.

Of course, carrying freight costs money as well, including the cost of using toll roads. Here we share data and information explaining the costs and value of toll-road travel.

Adding value to every trip

Delivering efficiency and calculating costs

Reliable access to high-performance metro, regional and rural roads is critical to the ongoing growth of Australia’s freight industry. If freight carriers can’t get goods where they need to be, and when they need to be there, the costs—to productivity, overheads, cash flow and reputation—can be significant. And these costs can flow-on to everyone in the supply chain: the sender; the receiver; the carrier; and everyone in-between.

Of course, carrying freight costs money as well, including the cost of using toll roads. Here we share data and information explaining the costs and value of toll-road travel.

How freight rolls on our roads

Toll road icon
Cost of tolls
for freight

Why tolls cost what they do, and what they pay for

Economic benefits
of toll roads

What toll roads contribute to cities and businesses

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Cost of tolls for freight

Tolls on our roads are higher for large vehicles than for cars and motorcycles.
For example, in Sydney, large vehicles pay between two and three times the car toll, depending on the road.

The time savings large vehicles gain by using our roads is factored into these higher costs—as this the additional cost of wear-and-tear caused by heavy vehicles (more info on this here).

Toll calculators

In Australia, you can use the Linkt toll calculators to see how much your travel will cost.

Choose your city and head over to Linkt to calculate toll costs on your chosen route.

Linkt accounts

Interested in opening a Linkt account?

Visit Linkt to find out more.

Generating value for freight operators

Our toll roads have been purpose-built for freight vehicles. All road users benefit from the increased travel efficiency travel-time reliability, smoother travel and reduced vehicle wear-and-tear our roads deliver—but for freight operators, these benefits contribute to operational costs savings.

Roads with built-in travel efficiency

Efficiency is built into the design of our roads. With no traffic lights, freight can maintain steady speeds (and maximum fuel efficiency) for longer. And our road surfaces are maintained to high standards—encountering a pothole on a Transurban road is extremely unlikely.

Travel time savings

In FY22 our customers collectively saved 323,000 hours in travel time every work day by choosing our toll roads over the alternate route. For example, the following table, shows when travel time saved on our Sydney roads is highest, compared to the time it would take you on the alternate route.

For information about how much time, fuel and emissions toll roads could save you, check out the Linkt Trip Compare tool.

Road users save time travelling on our roads during both the first (AM) and second (PM) half of the day

Mitigating risks and delays

Our roads are also separated from cyclists and pedestrians, removing interface risks and travel delays.
And we also provide a rapid incident response service if there’s an incident on our roads—
keeping traffic moving, maintaining safe driving environment and helping our customers. This service is provided free-of-charge to our customers.

Most direct routes

Our roads generally provide the most direct route through (or underneath) cities or, in some cases, the quickest path around a city.
Further, our roads connect with critical transport and service hubs and with major roads and routes relied on by freight carriers.
And our roads are also twice as safe as like roads. Read more about our road safety performance on our safety page.

Road maintenance

Given that millions of vehicles roll along our roads each year, keeping our roads in the best possible shape is essential for both safety and efficiency. As shown below, on average, light vehicles contribute around 4.39 cents worth of wear-and-tear per vehicle kilometre.

By contrast, wear-and-tear contributed by combination vehicles (the heaviest trucks on our roads, weighing 40+ tons when fully loaded) is more than five times higher, at 24.85 cents per vehicle kilometre. The amount of wear-and-tear a vehicle contributes is not a per-tonne calculation—wear-and-tear contributed by heavier vehicles increases exponentially.

Source: Transport for NSW [PDF]

Road wear and tear icon

Wear and tear explainer

Most Transurban roads are what’s known in road-construction circles as ‘flexible pavements’—they generally comprise four layers (or courses): the surface, base, subbase, and subgrade courses. Bridge and tunnel road surfaces are laid over a concrete structural base.

Flexible structures on high-speed, high-traffic motorways such as ours have a typical design life of 40 years. This means, once built, they’re expected to last 40 years. However, the surface course, the part of the road that’s visible, needs to be renewed throughout a road’s life. The surface renewal process ensures an ongoing high-quality riding surface for motorists—no potholes, cracks or rough surfaces. We conduct regular tests on all our road surfaces, to check these surfaces are performing as expected.

Tests include:

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Laser and visual testing

Driving a vehicle, fitted with laser sensors and HD cameras, down each lane to record and measure the surface’s texture, profile and roughness and to find signs of wear-and-tear such as cracking and roughness.

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Falling weight
deflectometer testing

Dropping a nominal 50kN load on to the road to measure pavement deflection and evaluate underlying pavement layers’ strength.

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Sideways-force coefficient
routine investigation machine (SCRIM) testing

Tests that capture the sideways force of a wetted test wheel travelling at 40–60km/h along each lane, measuring the road’s skid resistance.

Following each round of testing, we renew the sections of road that performed below our specifications/standards.
This ensures our roads perform with optimal efficiency and safety throughout their design life.

The costs associated with these renewal works are significant. And, as cities grow and freight demand increases, so does our maintenance task.

Clear roads ahead

Transurban’s roads are supported by a fleet of rapid incident response crews—teams that attend incidents and provide support to motorists, clear roads of debris and ensure traffic can slow smoothly while the incident is in progress.

We use traffic data to identify ‘hot spots’ to help determine where incident response vehicles should be positioned to ensure a fast response time. Incident response services are provided complimentary for all our customers.

Efficiency is built into the design of our roads. For example, our NorthConnex tunnels (Sydney) have been designed with a smoother and flatter road gradient. This gradient design enables freight carriers to maintain normal travel speeds within the tunnels, resulting in better fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. With all vehicles travelling at even speeds, lane-changing is also reduced, reducing the need for large vehicles to brake as other vehicles change lanes and overtake.

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Economic benefits of toll roads

Delivering key road assets

Transurban’s roads, developed in partnership with both Australian and state governments (across all parties) are vital links connecting Australian cities’ road networks.

Often, we front up the money to build the roads cities need, enabling governments to spend their budgets on other key infrastructure (public transport, hospitals, schools and more).

We charge tolls, in part, to recoup the costs of building and operating these roads. But our roads also deliver broad economic benefits.

Business and freight economic benefits

The economic benefits of the roads we operate are significant, including to businesses and freight operators who use our roads. For example, Sydney’s toll road network will create $35.8 billion economic benefits over 30 years due to its accelerated delivery by the private sector. Businesses and freight users will realise an estimated $11.8 billion in benefits through travel-time savings, reliability gains and reduced operating costs.

Transurban's toll road network delivers an estimated:

$11.8B

total benefits to business and freight users

$10.5B

in travel-time savings

$0.7B

in vehicle operating savings

$0.6B

in travel-time reliability savings