Economic and Environmental Analyses of Carriers' Choice of Truck Size

Economic and Environmental Analyses of Carriers' Choice of Truck Size


M Abate, DTU Transport, DK


The is an econometric study of how variations in haul characteristics & factor costs affect the optimal vehicle size choice. Also, the paper discusses environmental implications of carriers's choice of trucks.


The demand for freight transport has been growing rapidly, and is predicted to grow in the future. There has also been a proliferation of just-in-time inventory practices by shippers and receivers, resulting in increased overall freight transport activity. As a result of this trend, leading truck manufacturers are expecting the demand for medium and heavy-duty trucks to increase (Daimler, 2011; Mathyssek, 2009). From the side of policy makers, the growth prospect has brought attention to the issue of allowing higher capacity vehicles on the roads, and the impact these vehicles have on safety, the environment and efficiency (OECD, 2010).

It is well-established in the literature that shipment size determines the choice of mode/vehicle (Baumol and Vinoud 1970; McFadden et al. 1986; Abdelwahab and Sargious, 1991; Holguín-Veras 2002; Arunotayanun and Polak, 2011; Holguín-Veras, 2011). Empirical evidence suggests, however, that for a given shipment size, carriers choose various types/sizes of vehicle, which implies that factors other than shipment size play important roles. Little is known about these factors, and this paper contributes to the literature by studying how variations in route/haul characteristics and factor costs affect the optimal vehicle size choice. Furthermore, the paper quantifies and discusses environmental implications of carriers' choice of truck size under different policy scenarios. To guide the empirical investigation, the paper develops a theoretical argument based on shipment size optimization theory. For model estimation, a dataset from the Danish heavy trucks trip diary will be used. The dataset has detailed one-week operational information on a trip-by-trip basis for about 3000 trucks in 2006 and 2007. The findings from this paper shed light on the implications of the optimal truck size on congestion, environmental pollution and road capacity.


Association for European Transport