Transport law (or transportation law) is the area of law dealing with transport. The laws can apply very broadly at a transport system level or more narrowly to transport things or activities within that system such as vehicles, things and behaviours. Transport law is generally found in two main areas:
Transport laws can apply at a global transport system-wide level. A transport system can encompass a wide range of matters which make up the system. These include -
A transport system includes not only system infrastructure and conveyances, but also things like -
Individual components can be identified from this broad transport system formulation and then regulated discreetly. For example, a bus or a car forms part of a broad transport system but are commonly regulated on an individual basis in terms of identification (registration), control of the vehicle (driver licensing and drug and blood alcohol controls), vehicle forms and fittings (vehicle standards) and other safety requirements.
Victoria again provides an example of a jurisdiction with a suite of transport legislation which operates both at transport system and modal or activity levels.
The Transport Integration Act sets out the overall policy framework for transport in Victoria. It also establishes and sets the charters of the key government agencies which make decisions affecting the planning and operation of the State's transport system and each agency is required by the statute to have regard to the policy framework.
As a general rule, transport agencies and officials do not exist in their own right and have no existence or power without conferral from a transport law. Legislation is commonly required for this purpose. Transport decision makers and agencies established and/or empowered by the Transport Integration Act include -
The Transport Integration Act establishes these agencies and sets their statutory charters. The charters circumscribe the agencies' jurisdiction or power to operate in and to regulate their respective components of the transport system.
Victoria has a range of statutes which regulate transport modes and transport-related activities throughout the State. These include—
Areas of transport law governed by court decisions and other non transport statutes or laws include property law, contract law, torts law and specialist regulation governing the contract of carriage, and the relationship between carriers and passengers in public transport and shippers and cargo owners in shipping.