The first Heavy Vehicle Weights and Dimensions (HVWD) symposium was held in 1986 to mark the completion of the three-year Canadian Heavy Vehicle Weights and Dimensions Study. At the time, this was the most comprehensive size and weight study undertaken and it produced the first set of performance measures designed to support the regulatory process. The Roads and Transport Association of Canada organized the first symposium. It was held in a mountain resort near Kelowna BC far from any metropolitan center, capturing the delegates in close surroundings. The symposium was designed as a multidisciplinary event bringing together international experts in various fields of land transport. The synergy created during this event was remarkable and there was a strong consensus that a second symposium should be planned. In 1999 the second symposium (HVWD2) was held again in Kelowna Canada.
In 1992, the third symposium (HVWD3) was held at Cambridge University UK. During this conference it was decided to form an independent body to oversee future symposia and to foster communication and contact among practitioners of road transport. The organization was quickly created and formally named “The International Forum for Road Transport Technology”. Its first President was Byron Lord of the USA Federal Highway Administration.
The primary goal of the symposia is to bring together in close proximity, the various disciplines of road transport to broaden knowledge and perspective. The following are example areas of interest for the symposia:
- Vehicle and road safety
- Vehicle road and bridge interaction
- Bridge design and response
- Road wear and use
- Transport logistics
- Vehicle dynamics
- Tire development and mechanics
- Crash avoidance
- Regulatory principles and issues
- Intermodal transport
- Transport software development and tools
- Pedestrian safety
- Cargo securement
- Transport related instrumentation and measurement
Since Cambridge, further symposia have been held as follows:
- HVWD4: 1995 Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
- HVWD5: 1998 Maroochydore, Queensland, Australia
- HVWD6: 2000 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
- HVWD7: 2002 Delft, The Netherlands
- HVWD8: 2004 Misty Hills, Johannesburg, South Africa
- HVWD9: 2006 Penn State University, USA
- HVTT10: 2008 LCPC/ENPC, Paris Marne-la-Vallee, France. Held in conjunction with the ICWIM 5
- HVTT11: 2010 Melbourne, Australia
These symposia have provided a unique opportunity to discuss the technology, safety and policy aspects of transport technology. The purpose of the Forum remains to formalize and support the running of regular international symposia and to facilitate information exchange between researchers, policy makers, regulators, road authorities and the transport industry.
Since the Forum was established, there has been a vast tide of international research co-operation generated by the OECD (DIVINE Project), European Commission COST projects and NAFTA activities in North America. The Forum has played a role in publicizing and presenting the results from these international activities and provides an on-going opportunity for the international networks developed in these projects (which have a finite life) to continue and flourish.