Introduction Since the road freight industry begun, there has always been a large demand for goods to be transported around the country by road due to the benefits, which it brings. Due to the high demand, vehicles sizes have increased over time into the lorries which we see on our roads to this present day. In 2001 the last increase in weight was improved for HGV’s to carry up to 44 tonnes in weight (U. K) from the original 40 tonnes in weight. The current maximum length of a HGV is currently at 16. meters for an articulated vehicle and 18. 75 meters in length for drawbar combination vehicles. The maximum width of any HGV vehicle is 2. 55 meters. This paper looks to identify increasing lorry weights and dimensions within the European Union. I am going to look at a possible increase from the current dimensions (as seen above) to a possible 25. 25 meters in length and 60 tonnes in weight. For this increase to be possible a vehicle must pass a number of tests set by the European Union in order for it to become road legal.
The Dick Denby Eco-link B double trailer does this with ease; the vehicle is split into three parts. The first part is a standard tractor unit and the final part of the vehicle standard semi trailer. However what makes the Eco-link B double so much different from other lorries is the middle part of the vehicle. This has two special features, the first, two rear axles steer with an Ackerman style linkage linked to the tractor trailer articulation angle and the second is a king pin style coupling allowing another standard semi-trailer to be used as a second trailer. Savoy 2006) The vehicle is over nine meters longer than an original Articulated lorry but still manages to abide by the rules of the EU turning circle and has passed all technical tests a new vehicle must pass to become road worthy. The Eco link nearly has the same turning capabilities as of a normal articulated lorry and has a better breaking system in place. As roads become more and more congested each year something must be done to reduce congestion the Eco-link is the perfect solution as two of the Eco-links are equivalent to three 16. meter articulated lorries meaning a reduction of 30 percent in road space overall. The Eco-link would bring many benefits for the road haulage industry as it would lead to the number of tonne-miles on road space used would be decreased dramatically overall. This would lead to a reduction in fuel costs for haulers, which would reflect on the overall price for the movement of goods. Such a dramatic increase in size would also lead to a reduction in Co2 emissions being produced, making the eco-link far more environmentally friendly than an average articulated lorry.
If a decrease in the amount of lorries on the road is made this means less strain will be placed upon our road networking system meaning less damage shall be made to the roads infrastructure. A test on high speed performance was monitored on the Denby Eco-link and then as a standard articulated lorry the results were as followed; Source Table 12-1 Denby Eco link evaluation. (BTAC) (2004) Vehicle Distance Diesel L/100km (MPG) KilometresMilesLitresGallons B Double73. 1345. 4432. 167. 843. 98 (6. 42) Standard Vehicle73. 1345. 4424. 795. 4533. 90 (8. 33) The Eco-link completed the test travelling a total of 45. 44 miles using 32. 16 litres carrying 59. 12 tonnes in weight, when the trailer was detached making the Eco-link into a standard vehicle it completed the test using 24. 79 litres at 42 tonnes in weight. The Eco-link carried 40. 76% more in weight and created 29. 76% in emissions, proving that the Eco-link is far more fuel efficient and more environmentally friendly than a standard Arctic vehicle. The Eco-link also caters for lighter loads which it may have to carry with a choice of two trailers.
Both of the trailers can be detached separately from the tractor unit, this allows better loading efficiency and gives the hauler a choice of which trailer to use depending on the size of the load. The Constraints However increases in the past have not had the desired affect which people may have predicted, as the increases made in the past have not resulted in a decrease HGV’s on the road with vehicles over 38 tonnes still continuing to rise. Although benefits are brought environmentally by LHV’s this depends upon the efficiency of how they are run, high levels of load utilisation ust be achieved in order to bring environmental benefits and this cannot always be guaranteed. Source: Transport Statistics Great Britain (TSGB Freight on rail (2008) With the increase being so large, this would have a major impact on other modes of transport such as rail. The possibility of cheaper transportation of goods through road may lead to businesses deciding to shift over to road transport rather than rail. This would lead to higher demand for road freight creating more congestion and emissions to transport goods which would be more environmental to be transported via rail.
Another key issue which must be addressed is the safety issues of Eco-link which it brings to the roads. Although it has advanced breaking and cameras for blind spots, LGV’s have a past of been linked to a high amount of road accidents. Infrastructure is also a main concern with bridges and tunnels only designed for up to 44 tonnes in weight and crash barriers would have to be reinforced in order to with stand the increase in weight. Conclusion There are many complex issues which must be assessed before coming to a judgement on whether or not there should be an increase in dimensions and weight within the European Union.
These issues must be looked at in further in depth before I can make a clear judgment. The Dick Denby Eco-link was rejected by the U. K government without trial based on safety, infrastructure and the shift from rail freight, to road freight which it may have, leading to increasing congestion on our roads. However I still feel further research is needed to investigate whether or not the EU should increase maximum dimensions and weight to solve the many problems which we with the road haulage industry at present. References
Griet De Ceuster, TML, Tim Breemersch, TM, Bart Van Herbruggen, TM, Kees Verweij, TNO, Igor Davydenko, TNO, Max Klingender, RWTH, Bernard Jacob, LCPC, Herve Arki, Setra, Matthieu Bereni, Setra (2008) Effects of adapting the rules on weights and dimensions of heavy commercial vehicles as established within Directive 96/53/ECAccessed online 08/11/2009 [Available at] http://ec. europa. eu/transport/strategies/studies/doc/2009_01_weights_and_dimensions_vehicles. pdf Freight on rail ‘No evidence’ for longer heavier lorries says new research (2008) Accessed online 07/11/09 [Available at] http://www. reightonrail. org. uk/PressReleases /’No evidence’ for longer heavier lorries says new research 17-10-2007. mht SAVOY (2006), Denby Transport, The Eco-Link Trailer, Accessed online PDF 5/11/09 [Available at] http://savoy. co. uk/news/CaseStudies/Denby%20-%20Eco-Link%20Trailer. pdf BRITISH TRANSPORT ADVISORY COMMITTEE (BTAC) (2004) ANNUAL FUEL EFFICIENCY AND TECHNICAL EVALUATION EVENT Accessed online PDF 09/11/2009 [Available at] http://www. btac. org. uk/trials/Fuel_Efficiency_2004. pdf