IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Virtual Weigh Stations: The Business Case


  • Santero, Nicholas J
  • Nokes, William
  • Harvey, John T


Overweight trucks traveling illegally on the California highway network cause a significant and disproportionate amount of damage to pavements. Truck traffic is expected to account for some percentage of damage to pavements, however the percentage of pavement damage caused by overweight trucks is much greater than the expected damage from measured truck traffic volume on California highways. Many of these overweight trucks travel unmonitored throughout the network and cost the taxpayers millions of dollars every year in maintenance and rehabilitation costs. Currently, Weigh and Compliance Stations run jointly by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) are the sole instrument used to enforce weight and other restrictions on trucks. Currently, 38 weigh stations are strategically located throughout California. When a station is open, trucks not given a bypass signal must enter the scales and have each axle weighed. Trucks not in compliance are cited. The effectiveness of these weigh stations is limited by their operating hours, the routes they can monitor, and their operating and installation costs. Moreover, these stations can cause user delays from extended queue times for trucks waiting to be weighed. Development of a new technology known as a Virtual Weigh Station (VWS) is currently underway. The VWS utilizes weigh-in-motion (WIM) sensors, located throughout the state, as tools for weight restriction enforcement. Caltrans Division of Traffic Operations traditionally has used these WIMs to provide data about traffic loads applied to California highway pavements. As a truck passes over a WIM, the type of truck, weight of individual axles, speed, and other data are recorded and stored by the WIM. Through the use of cameras, this data can be linked to the truck license plate and/or registration number. This data can then be relayed to the enforcing authorities, at which point trucks violating weight restrictions can be cited appropriately. This memorandum was initiated by Caltrans for the Partners for Advanced Transit and Highways (PATH) in order to explore the idea of installing VWS in California. The study included a literature survey and expert interviews, as well as an analysis of estimated pavement performance benefits from VWS. The Pavement Research Center (PRC) was asked by PATH to estimate these benefits and other pertinent pavement information concerning overweight trucks. Specific objectives were the following: * Estimate pavement damage caused by overweight trucks on the network. * Estimate costs of this pavement damage to Caltrans. * Estimate potential savings induced by the installation of VWS.

Suggested Citation

  • Santero, Nicholas J & Nokes, William & Harvey, John T, 2005. "Virtual Weigh Stations: The Business Case," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt2432w0wj, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:itsdav:qt2432w0wj

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:;origin=repeccitec
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Marković, Nikola & Ryzhov, Ilya O. & Schonfeld, Paul, 2017. "Evasive flow capture: A multi-period stochastic facility location problem with independent demand," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 257(2), pages 687-703.

    More about this item


    UCPRC-TM-2005-03; Engineering;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:itsdav:qt2432w0wj. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lisa Schiff). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.