All European countries are experiencing an ever increasing volume of traffic. In particular, the volume of freight transport on roads increased even more over the years and the demand is expected to grow significantly in the next decade. Coupled with this, the increasing gross weights and the changing load configurations of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) has led to accelerated damage to bridges and pavement fatigue as well as creating major traffic management problems to maintain safety and reduce congestion. For truck operators, there are the combined challenges of reducing ever increasing fuel costs, maximising efficiency and profitability whilst maintaining safety. For the truck drivers they have the additional tasks of ensuring compliance with driver's working hours regulations and finding appropriate, safe and secure overnight rest areas.
In 2000, the total volume of road transport in the EU-25 was in 1.482 billion tonne-kilometres and is predicted to grow to more than 3.133 billion tonne-kilometre by 2030 (DG Transport and Energy - 'trends to 2030'). This will have significant influence congestion and damage to road network infrastructure over that period. In addition, freight distribution is predicted to out pace passenger cars as the largest source of CO2 from transport over the same period.
With over 50 000 road users are killed in the European Union annually, road freight also has a influence in contributing to achieving the road death reduction targets set by the EC.
The role of trucks is demonstrated by the example of France. In 2002, trucks were involved in 5,0 % of all the accidents having injured people, through which there were 940 deaths compared with the 7 242 deaths for all types of road accidents. Since the rate of deaths per 100 accidents with injuries is equal to 7.42 for all accidents compared with 17.90 for the accidents in which a truck was involved, fatality risk is 240% when a truck is involved compared with passenger cars and other vehicles.
Clearly the growth in the volume of trucks (increasing faster than passenger car traffic) coupled with the increasing size and weight of trucks on the network will create special problems. These will include such safety related factors as:
- increased bridge and infrastructure damage due to tight-turning circles at normal traffic speeds or other geometric conditions;
- growing accident risk at major junctions for passenger cars attempting to cross lanes congested with trucks;
- Increased a
The project focused on applying and combining existing and newly developed systems, technologies, databases and models to develop an advanced HGV management and route guidance system.
The objectives were to improve road safety and capacity while reducing the negative impacts on the environment and the road and bridge maintenance costs (reducing the rate of deterioration caused by heavy traffic).
Activities in HeavyRoute focused on the following objectives:
System conception and user requirements
- Assessment of state-of the-art in fleet management and HGV guidance systems/services;
- Identifying stakeholder and user requirements on an advanced HGV management and route guidance system;
- Identifying factors that influence the 'route optimization';
- Deriving a system architecture concept.
Databases and vehicle /infrastructure interaction models
- Inventory of available static, periodic and dynamic road, bridge and traffic data in national databases;
- Inventory of available effect models for deriving the 'optimum' route and reducing impacts on the infrastructures.
Route guidance and driving support
- Design and development of innovative route guidance and driver support applications for HGVs based on database contents and effect models
Traffic simulation and effects of management strategies
- Traffic simulation and assessment of possible effects and future scenarios from traffic management solutions implemented on European scale using route guidance solutions, particularly taking into account critical sections (bridges, ferries, tunnels, cities);
- Simulation of traffic flows due to different management strategies using economical incentives (price differentiation, etc) and legislative means.
Dissemination and clustering of results
- Effective communication of the objectives and results of the project to road authorities and fleet operators. Road authorities will need to be convinced of the benefits to them – the business case - of providing their data (and where necessary collecting new data) that is needed for the mapping functions;
- The project will lead towards proposals for a full-scale pilot of the system functionality leading to wide-spread implementation.
The project methodology focused on applying and combining existing and newly developed systems, technologies, databases and models to develop an advanced HGV management and route guidance system.
Working with all the major stakeholders, the Heavyroute project worked to provide the tools, the systems and the data collection and interpretation processes that will effectively link Europe's road infrastructure via electronic mapping systems to the truck operators and drivers. This will provide a major boost to the efficiency, profitability and safety of the haulage sector whilst contributing to overall road safety and congestion and infrastructure asset management objectives.
Three main applications were developed based on vehicle/infrastructure interaction models together with detailed data on the vehicle itself, the infrastructure and the traffic.
Pre-trip route planning
- Allowable route were derived based on 'HGV specific data' together with physical and legal restrictions on the Infrastructure
- Arguments addressing fuel consumption, emissions, noise, safety, driver comfort and infrastructure maintenance costs
- Real time driver warning and recommended driving to avoid critical situations (for example recommended speed to avoid roll-over)
Monitoring and management of HGV’s at bridges
- Advice on speed, minimum vehicle spacing and/or lane change to keep appropriate loading of bridges
The special feature of the system is its ability to locate the hot spots of the road network where problems can be expected; for some of them information to the operator may be the most efficient measure taken while for others more tailored and efficient regulations may be the solution. More tailored regulations at hot spots may also open up other part of the network for less strict regulations which will enhance the efficiency of the European transport sector.