European Study on Heavy Goods Vehicles' Weights and Dimensions (2008)

European Study on Heavy Goods Vehicles' Weights and Dimensions (2008)


H Arki, Sétra, FR


The paper presents the results of the study on the likely effects of adapting Directive 96/53/EC. It gives an overview of known official reactions of Member States. A third part highlights points which are worth further and deeper investigations.


Survey of the 2008 DG TREN study on heavy goods vehicles' weights and dimensions

Sétra was a member of the consortium who carried out the 2008 DG TREN study on heavy goods vehicles' weights and dimensions. It was especially in charge of assessing effects on infrastructure (bridges and roads). It studied moreover the way the European modular concept could be used, and its likely consequences on modal shift.

The paper first presents the context, the methodology and the results of the study.
The aim of the study was to provide advice on the optimal weights and dimensions of heavy vehicles. The European modular concept has been particularly examined, among other possibilities.
The first stage was collecting opinions by means of literature review, workshop with stakeholder, questionnaire.
Four scenarios were examined : 1 "business as usual" (used as reference), 2 "LHV Full Option" (Europe-wide permission of 25.25 m 60 t lorries), 3 "Corridor / Coalition" (bilateral agreements to use LHV across the borders of some countries), 4 "intermediate" (Europe-wide permission of 20.75 m 44 t lorries).
Assessing demand and modal split, the study predicts a decrease of railway traffic (in tkm) bounded by ?4% and ?15% (scenario 2 versus scenario 1) and for inland waterways, between ?3% and ?10%.
The variation of the number of vehicles kilometres is foreseen to be bounded by - 13% and + 1%
The assessment of road safety aspects did not reveal an inherent increase of safety risk in general, but more research is needed.
The effect on infrastructure depends on the number of axles and their distribution. Some combination of shapes and weight could have important effects on pavement and bridges.
the energy consumption, thus CO2 and noxious emissions, are predicted to go down.
All effects (but the ones on infrastructure) produce benefits, according to the chosen hypothesis.

The second part gives an overview of known official reactions of Member States.
Austria, France and United Kingdom gave their opinion in the consultation stage. The author hopes to be able to collect official reactions at the publication of the study.

A third part is devoted to highlight points which are worth a further and deeper investigation, namely:
· a modal split assessment, to reduce the range of predictions
· research on safety and
· ideas on countermeasures.

The need of a deeper investigation on modal split follows from the large range of results on the variation of foreseen vehicles kilometres, with the repercussions on safety and energy efficiency.
Precautions should be taken regarding access to certain infrastructures (bridges, but also some roads).
Limitation of overtaking for LHV must be needed.
LHV should be easily identifiable.
Technical improvements may be made mandatory on LHV.
Fair competition between modes can only be achieved when every mode is held accountable for all costs it causes.
A taxation system can be introduced, both to partly compensate the gain of productivity and to finance infrastructure reinforcement
Route restriction could also avoid competition with more environmental friendly modes.

Presentation of Sétra
Sétra is a Technical Department for Transport, Roads and Bridges Engineering and Road Safety of the French ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Town and Country Planning. As a centre of excellence in infrastructure and transport engineering, Sétra has to produce and spread state of art knowledge and know how.
Sétra?s essential aim is to support national and local authorities in their policies to provide an efficient and safe road network for people and goods, and to develop an integrated and sustainable European transportation system. In all the strategic fields dealing with road, bridges, multimodal and intermodal facilities, it provides expertise, methodologies, guidelines, as well as software and information systems.


Association for European Transport