Dec 192019
 

Dear IFRTT subscriber,

As another calendar year draws to a close, it is my pleasure to share a few truck-related notes that have recently crossed my desk. In this issue of the newsletter, you’ll find information about ongoing work to quantify truck loads on infrastructure and the challenge of accommodating trucks in urban areas.

Truck loads on infrastructure

For those of you planning to attend the Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) in Washington DC next month, consider attending Workshop 1086: Employing Weigh-in-Motion Data to Design, Rate, Manage, and Preserve Our Nation’s Bridge Structures. This workshop brings together bridge and traffic data collection experts and practitioners to discuss how real-world truck weight data can be leveraged to reduce risk and more efficiently address bridge needs. The workshop features an overview of the bridge-related research needs identified in the 2019 TRB Consensus Study Report on Research to Support Evaluation of Truck Size and Weight Regulations[1].

The Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) also recognizes the need for better truck load data to support highway infrastructure design and management. TAC recently launched a pooled-fund project[2] to compile truck load data from Canadian jurisdictions and determine whether load provisions for bridge and pavement design adequately represent observed load distributions.

Accommodating trucks in urban areas

As was evident at HVTT15 in Rotterdam, the topic of urban logistics has become a prominent issue worldwide. In North America, recent emphasis on the design and development of liveable urban communities has resulted in more compact pedestrian and bicycle friendly street designs. In some cases, this has created operational challenges for large trucks deliveries—deliveries that underpin the economic vibrancy and liveability of the area. Research is needed to understand the circumstances when street designs should prioritize certain modes over others, the trade-offs associated with such prioritization, and the geometric and operational treatments required to support the desired modal balance[3].

Of course, an urban truck trip usually represents only the ‘last-mile’ of a much broader and more complex supply chain. As transportation professionals, it is instructive to remind ourselves of the enormity of the freight transport task. A recent book by Edward Humes[4] paints a compelling picture by tracing the logistics required for common household items (e.g., the aluminum can, your morning cup of coffee) to reach their final destination. The book reveals how the freight transport system has evolved to meet societal demands and the striking safety and environmental impacts of doing so.

From frosty Winnipeg, I wish you all the best in this season of increased small package deliveries—and a Happy New Year!

Jonathan Regehr

IFRTT Vice President, North America

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[1] National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Research to Support Evaluation of Truck Size and Weight Regulations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25321.

2 See https://www.tac-atc.ca/en/projects/progress/vehicle-loads-synthesis-and-recommendations

3 Moshiri, M. Forthcoming. A Decision Support Tool for Accommodating Truck Turning Movements at Intersections in Walkable Communities. Doctor of Philosophy Thesis, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB.

4 Humes, E. 2016. Door to Door: The Magnificent, Maddening, Mysterious World of Transportation. HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY.

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