Dear IFRTT subscriber,
It was a pleasure to attend HVTT15 in Rotterdam where I was appointed the new IFRTT Vice President, North America. I wish to extend my gratitude to John Woodrooffe for the leadership he provided to IFRTT in this role. I look forward to working with IFRTT more closely in the future!
Being new to the IFRTT Board, please allow me a very brief introduction. I am an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering (Transportation) at the University of Manitoba, in Winnipeg, Canada. Over the last 15 years, I have worked on numerous truck-related research and consulting projects in Canada and the United States. I have been a member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee on Truck Size and Weight and recently participated in the ITF working group that developed a report focused on the role of trucks in the deterioration of road assets. I currently Chair the TRB Committee on Highway Traffic Monitoring and also sit on the Board of the International Society for Weigh-in-Motion.
I have been informed that all newsletter contributions must be accompanied by some type of reference to the local weather conditions. Being from Winnipeg, this is easy to do! In the last week or so, spring has finally emerged in this part of the world—a welcome change after a winter in which Celsius met Fahrenheit on more than one occasion! (Hint: that happens at -40).
In this issue of the newsletter, you’ll find information about a recently-released report outlining research needed to support the evaluation of truck size and weight regulations in the United States and the evolving regulatory environment in Canada.
Research to support evaluation of truck size and weight regulations
In 2018, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) sponsored a Transportation Research Board committee to develop and articulate research needed to support the evaluation of the effects of changes in truck size and weight regulations. Building on the work and recommendations documented in the 2016 Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Limits Study, the new report1 identifies a total of 27 research projects, and prioritizes seven of these because of their likelihood to produce useful results. These seven include (p. 2):
- “Development of a truck traffic, weight, and configuration database from nationwide weigh-in-motion installations and other sources.
- Development of a discrete continuous choice model, or suitable alternative, capable of estimating the effect of changes in truck size and weight regulations and other policies on shippers’ and carriers’ choices of freight mode, vehicle configuration, and shipment size.
- Development of pavement analysis methods for heavier axle limits, multiaxle groupings, and alternative tire and suspension types.
- Development of a comprehensive model of the relationship of bridge deterioration and service life to vehicle loads.
- Comparative evaluations of crash risks of alternative configurations by the case-control method.
- Development of protocols for evaluating the performance of configurations with simulation, track testing, and field trials.
- Measurement of relationships between frequency of overloads and enforcement methods and level of effort.”
It would seem that many countries could benefit from research in these areas. Please following the link in the citation below for further details.
Evolving truck regulations in Canada
Canada has a long history of dealing with the harmonization of truck size and weight regulations between provinces. (In fact, in the late 1980s, the policy and technical challenges surrounding these issues motivated a group of experts to convene to form the predecessor organization of the IFRTT!) Recent regulatory work has focused on harmonizing regulations governing longer combination vehicle (LCV) operations in Canada. A nationwide examination2 of these regulations (as at 2016) revealed that nine of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories permit LCV operations on a network totalling 17,000 km. Although physical and regulatory gaps remain, fully-connected regional networks are now present in the Prairie Provinces and the Northwest Territories, between Ontario and Québec, and between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
While truck size and weight regulations continue to evolve, a new type of regulation—a federally mandated price on carbon—has emerged with the familiar challenges of inter-jurisdictional regulatory differences. These differences pose concerns for the trucking industry, particularly inter-provincial carriers who buy and burn fuel in multiple jurisdictions. Given the independent authority of provinces and territories in these matters, it appears that these challenges will persist.
 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Research to Support Evaluation of Truck Size and Weight Regulations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25321.
2 Wood, S., & Regehr, J.D. 2017. Regulations governing the operation of longer combination vehicles in Canada. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, 44(10): 38-849, https://doi.org/10.1139/cjce-2017-0050
IFRTT Vice President, North America