Class Wars – The Ford Ranger Case Study

We recently assisted a client who was trying to classify their fleet of 2017 Ford Ranger vehicles. This utility is on the larger side, with a kerb weight of 2151kg. Based on the type of vehicle, it was assumed that it would fit into Class 1: Short Vehicle, so it came as a surprise to see it classified as TB2: Two Axle Truck or Bus.

Puzzled by the outcome, the client set up a series of tests with different tube lengths and tube spacing to see if installation techniques were to blame for the misclassification.

The Austroads class scheme identifies Class 1 as a Sedan, Wagon, 4wd, Utility, Light Van, Bicycle, Motorcycle. Based on this information, it is logical to think the Ford Ranger would be classified as Short Vehicle.

The results of further investigation provided an interesting outcome. The unexpected classification was not due to an error in tube spacing and length or by a faulty counter. Its explanation lies in SV Class definition, according to the Austroads scheme. With a wheelbase longer than 3.2m, this vehicle doesn’t slot into Class 1 and is pushed into the TB2 group.

The Austroads ’94 classification scheme has evolved with pavement management in mind. This explains why the Ford Ranger would be grouped together with trucks and busses, considering its impact on the road surface. While from an appearance-only point of view, the Ranger seems to be a Class 1 vehicle, perhaps Class 3 is where it logically belongs.

MTE: Vehicle Classification Options

The MetroCount software does, however, allow for data to be reanalysed with customised classification schemes. This should be approached with caution as shifting class boundaries might have the unwanted side effects like including short busses and small trucks in Class 1.

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