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Unintended Impacts of Increased Truck Loads on Pavement Supply-chain Emissions


  • Sathaye, Nakul
  • Horvath, Arpad
  • Madanat, Samer M


In recent years, the reduction of freight truck trips has been a common policy goal. To this end, policies aimed at influencing load consolidation, load factors and increasing maximum truck weight limits have been suggested and implemented, resulting in higher gross vehicle weights. The purpose of such policies has generally been to mitigate congestion and environmental impacts. However, trucks cause most of the damage incurred by highways pavements. The supply chain associated with pavement maintenance and construction releases significant air emissions, raising the question of whether increased vehicle weights may cause unintended environmental consequences. This paper presents case examples with estimated emissions resulting from shifts in load consolidation and increased maximum weight. These examples indicate that increased load factors in local and long-distance freight movement can cause significant increases in emissions of certain pollutants. Emissions associated with pavement construction are also found to increase as a result of pavement design specifications that account for heavier trucks.

Suggested Citation

  • Sathaye, Nakul & Horvath, Arpad & Madanat, Samer M, 2009. "Unintended Impacts of Increased Truck Loads on Pavement Supply-chain Emissions," Institute of Transportation Studies, Research Reports, Working Papers, Proceedings qt1jf6v73z, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:itsrrp:qt1jf6v73z

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Madanat, S M & Prozzi, Jorge A & Han, Michael, 2002. "Effect of Performance Model Accuracy on Optimal Pavement Design," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt42b5n5j6, University of California Transportation Center.
    2. Campbell, James F., 1995. "Using small trucks to circumvent large truck restrictions: Impacts on truck emissions and performance measures," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 445-458, November.
    3. Holguín-Veras, José & Thorson, Ellen, 2003. "Modeling commercial vehicle empty trips with a first order trip chain model," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 129-148, February.
    4. Small, Kenneth A & Winston, Clifford, 1988. "Optimal Highway Durability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 560-569, June.
    5. Horvath, Arpad, 2003. "Life-Cycle Environmental and Economic Assessment of Using Recycled Materials for Asphalt Pavements," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt5jz3x91z, University of California Transportation Center.
    6. Geroliminis, Nikolaos & Daganzo, Carlos F., 2005. "A Review of Green Logistics Schemes Used in Cities Around the World," Institute of Transportation Studies, Research Reports, Working Papers, Proceedings qt4x89p485, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley.
    7. McKinnon, Alan C. & Woodburn, Allan, 1994. "The consolidation of retail deliveries: its effect on CO2 emissions," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 125-136, March.
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