Recent decades have seen a rapid increase in road and motorway traffic and a major expansion in the number of heavy goods lorries on European roads. It is of particular concern that heavy lorries are damaging the bridges and pavements and that a significant number of lorries are illegally overloaded. Thus, it is essential for road authorities to have at their disposal up-to-date and on-line measurements of axle and vehicle weights in order to:
- improve knowledge of traffic (economic surveys, statistics, management);
- establish principles which form the technical basis for pavement design and maintenance;
- prepare a basis for legislation relating to road safety and fair competition in transport, leading to harmonisation of enforcement across Europe;
- provide to government authorities the information necessary for a harmonised tax system.
For legal purposes, static weigh stations are used at present, but the procedure is expensive and ineffective.
The objective of the WAVE project is to initiate a significant step forward for those responsible for road networks, through the following actions:
- improvement of the accuracy of conventional WIM systems to estimate static loads from the measurements of dynamic impact forces through use of arrays of sensors whose results can allow for the dynamic interaction between vehicle and pavement;
- development and improvement of the functioning and accuracy of bridge based WIM systems through more sophisticated vehicle/bridge interaction modelling and data processing;
- development of common data structures, formats and quality assurance procedures, to facilitate the exchange and comparison of WIM data throughout the EU, to increase confidence in such data and to provide reliable management information to decision makers;
- testing of WIM systems, particularly in cold regions where pavements are weaker during the thaw and sensors are susceptible to studded tyres and de-icing salt, in order to assess their durability and performance in various climatic conditions;
- development of standardised calibration methods and procedures by improving existing methods, applicable to all European climates and types of WIM systems, to assess the reliability of WIM and facilitate relations between vendors and users;
- development and improvement of new WIM technology, based on an innovative fibre optic sensor which is very promising in terms of quality and the extent of information provided and its insensitivity to harsh climatic conditions.
The project will involve:
- Providing accurate estimation of static weights using WIM systems by investigation of multiple sensor and bridge WIM systems.
- Preparation and development of:
- WIM data quality assurance;
- WIM data format and database structures for management and exchange of WIM data.
- Testing the consistency of accuracy and durability of WIM systems in cold climates and the calibration of WIM systems in different climates.
- Developing and manufacturing optical WIM systems, which will be the technology for the future.