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Synthesis of Truck Size and Weight Studies and Issues







                        



                U.S. Department of Transportation

            Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Study

                           Report No. 1





                       Activity V:  Task D

         Identify and Evaluate State Versus Federal Role

                       in TS&W Regulations





                           March, 1995







                           Prepared by













                                 

                           Alan Clayton

                            Phil Blow

                           Ben Ritchey



                                 

 





The primary objectives of the U.S. Department of Transportation's

Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight (TS&W) Study are to:



o    assess the potential economic, safety, and  environmental

     impacts of changing existing TS&W limits;  and

o    identify opportunities to increase the efficiency of 

     freight transportation while preserving safety and highway

     infrastructure.



Reports which have been completed for the TS&W Study, to date,

include the following:



     (1)  Synthesis of Truck Size and Weight Studies and Issues

     (2)  Analysis of the Truck Inventory and Use Survey from the

          Truck Size and Weight Perspective for Trucks with

          Five-Axles or More

For more information, call Jim March, FHWA, 202-366-9233,

202-366-7696 (FAX), or e:mail:  jim.march@fhwa.dot.gov



This document was prepared for use in the U.S. Department of

Transportation's Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Study.  The

views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not

necessarily those of the U.S. Department of Transportation.




Table of Contents Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .ES-1 1.0 Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 1.1 Purpose. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 1.2 Study Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 1.3 Federal TS&W Regulation Development. . . . . . . . .3 1.4 Previous Studies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 1.5 New Pressures and New Opportunities. . . . . . . . .9 2.0 Current TS&W Laws and Regulations . . . . . . . . . . . 11 2.1 TS&W Regulations and Trucking. . . . . . . . . . . 11 2.2 State and Local Law. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 2.3 U.S. Federal Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 2.4 Canadian and Mexican Laws. . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 3.0 The Policy Environment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 3.1 Policy Controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 3.2 Highway Investment and Pricing Considerations. . . 16 3.3 Enforcement and Compliance . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 3.4 Policy Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 4.0 Current Knowledge of Policy Issues. . . . . . . . . . . 19 4.1 Pavement and Bridges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 4.2 Roadway Geometry and Traffic . . . . . . . . . . . 25 4.3 Safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 4.4 Permits, Pricing, and Enforcement. . . . . . . . . 34 4.5 Truck Costs and Logistics. . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 4.6 Truck Travel and Mode Share. . . . . . . . . . . . 44 4.7 Environment and Energy Conservation. . . . . . . . 47 5.0 Knowledge Gaps and Research Needs . . . . . . . . . . . 50 5.1 Pavement and Bridges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 5.2 Roadway Geometry and Traffic . . . . . . . . . . . 51 5.3 Safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 5.4 Permits, Pricing, and Enforcement. . . . . . . . . 52 5.5 Truck Costs and Logistics. . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 5.6 Truck Travel and Mode Share. . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Executive Summary This is the Summary Report of Phase I of the Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight (TS&W)Study announced by the Federal Highway Administrator in June 1994. It summarizes 13 working papers prepared during Phase I. The study is to be completed in three phases: Phase I--Synthesis of TS&W Studies and Issues--assessed past policy studies and technical research. Technical knowledge about relationships between TS&W policy controls and relevant evaluation and decision criteria was synthesized. State and Federal TS&W regulations were summarized. Research needs for later phases were identified. Thirteen working papers were prepared examining the regulations and TS&W policy controls and: truck accidents, vehicle stability and control, pavements, bridges, roadway geometry, traffic operations, truck costs, shipper logistics costs, truck travel and mode share, enforcement, environment, energy, permits and pricing mechanisms. Based on a review of the information, FHWA has identified several policy and technical issues for consideration in Phases II and III of the study. No policy conclusions were drawn in Phase I and none are discussed in this report. Consideration of policy options is being done in the later phases. This interim report is being issued at this time to gather wide input from both the public and private sectors on the issues of importance to this study. Phase II--a Preliminary Option Analysis--will evaluate specific policy options using existing databases and analytical tools (completion summer 1995). Phase III--an Extended Impact Analysis--will expand the scope and depth of the policy analysis of PHASE II using new databases and analytical capabilities becoming available in late 1995 with projected completion by the end of 1996. Based on a review of many policy and technical studies done over the last 10 to 15 years, the following are among the most important issues summarized in this Phase I report: o There has been no significant change in Federal TS&W law since 1982 except for the 1991 freeze of State provisions for longer combination vehicles (LCV). There have been many changes in factors interrelated with TS&W laws over the past 20 years. These include growth in freight traffic, changes in freight characteristics and origin-destination patterns, global economics and trade, containerization and intermodalism, economic deregulation, enhanced safety programs, and truck equipment. o New questions about Federal TS&W law related to the National Highway System (NHS), North American trade harmonization, and retention of the 1991 freeze of State LCV provisions should be addressed in Phases II and III. o There are a myriad of different TS&W regulations affecting U.S. trucking emanating from local, State and Federal Governments. Many reflect considerations such as differences in economic and industrial activities, freight movements, infrastructure design characteristics and status, traffic densities, mode options and engineering philosophies. The importance of State TS&W regulations cannot be over-stated since they govern trucking on the vast majority of U.S. road mileage. o Federal law now regulates trucks by specifying basic TS&W standards and excepting certain situations from those standards by grandfather right and provision for special permits. Thus, current Federal regulations state that the gross vehicle weight limit of a truck is 80,000 pounds on Interstate highways, but allow trucks to carry international containers at more than 80,000 pounds, an exception to the standard. o Performance-standards regulation offers an alternative approach. Specifications are madeas to acceptable performance measures--in terms such as stability, turning, or acceleration--with these measures then becoming the basis of regulation either directly or indirectlysurrogate measures. The performance-standard approach has been successfully applied tosubstantial components of trucking in Canada. While there is a growing technical interestin this method, there is also debate about details and about enforceability. o Consideration should be given to the enforceability of policy options. Enforcement of theexisting relatively simple regulations has proven difficult for many jurisdictions. o Developments in domestic containerization will effect new demands on TS&W limits. The intermodal implications of TS&W policy options also need further study. o The results of this study will provide a base of knowledge that can be used for the ongoing trilateral consultations on vehicle weights and dimensions required by the North American Free trade Agreement (NAFTA). Chapter 5 identifies several research topics that will be important to carry out during Phases II and II to more definitively resolve TS&W policy options.


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