The Productivity Commission says important transport reforms need to be sped up.

Reforms to the transport sector have been implemented at a “disappointingly slow” pace, according to a new report.

The commission says road freight is expected to grow by 50 per cent over the next two decades, but plans to create national regulators and laws for the sector in 2011 are taking longer than anticipated.

Commissioner Paul Lindwall says there is still “much more” to be done, though safety regulations of heavy vehicles, boats and trains have improved.

He said authorities should focus on lowering compliance costs for businesses and improving access to local roads for heavy vehicles.

Safety has improved in the road and rail sectors following reforms in the last few years.

Rail fatalities have dropped by 50 per cent over the past decade, while heavy vehicle crashes are on a long-term decline too.

However, the Heavy Vehicle National Law was labelled “inflexible”, and criticised for encouraging a “tick the box” attitude to safety.

Western Australia and the Northern Territory are not part of the national heavy vehicle regime.

The commission also recommended changing grandfathering provisions that exempt some boats from national law, and for small for-hire vessels such as tinnies and kayaks to be regulated by state agencies rather than a national body.

The draft report is accessible here.