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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number: FHWA-RD-00-164
Date: January 2001

Highway Effects on Vehicle Performance

The publication is divided into smaller files for easier downloading & printing:

Cover - Chapter 2
(pages 1-6, PDF - 1,037 KB)

Chapter 3 - Appendix A
(pages 7-30, PDF - 2,973 KB)

Appendix B - References
(pages 31-71, PDF - 2,192 KB)

Abstract: This report presents an overview of the efforts to develop a convenient procedure to simulate operation of motor vehicles on highways of an arbitrary configuration and to estimate fuel consumption and exhaust emissions resulting from reasonable operations of those vehicles.

Highway pavements, grades, curves, and wind and traffic flow rates affect the fuel consumption and air contaminant emission rates for a given section of highway or a network of highways. A limited number, four vehicles, were tested on a large-roll dynamometer and under various road and traffic flow conditions. Evaluations of other analytical and experimental results were also made. Based on experiments and evaluations, clear relationships were developed relating specific loads and speeds to pollutant emissions and fuel consumption rates. These data were used to develop a user-friendly personal computer program called the Vehicle/ Highway Performance Predictor Algorithm. This model is intended to receive any reasonable mix of data for a selection of various vehicles that may approximate the traffic mix for given locations for past, current, and reasonable future years. The procedure can be used by highway planners and designers, environmental engineers, and traffic engineers, particularly those involved in Intelligent Transportation Systems, to evaluate local microspace air quality evaluations or larger area air pollution emission rates to determine impacts and conformity to the State Implementation Plans for the areas. This model is intended to use modal emissions and fuel usage rates that are based on various speeds and loads of vehicles in operation.

This report reviews the principles involved in determining the external loads on vehicles from longitudinal and lateral accelerations, aerodynamic drag, rolling resistance, and various grades. Examples of loads measured in the field and related dynamometer tests for selected vehicles for fuel consumption and air contaminant emissions are provided.

Detailed data have not been archived. However, informal interim reports containing added experimental information are available from the Federal Highway Administration Offices of Natural Environment, Infrastructure Research and Development, Traffic Operations Research and Development, and four Federal Highway Administration Resource Centers.

Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101