If trucks are heavier, they should also be longer

Sustainable transport

A new study shows that if Sweden allows larger trucks compared to today’s standards, it can bring economic and climate benefits. The largest benefits are achieved if the trucks are allowed to be both heavier and longer, and if they are combined with other measures that increase environmental performance. The impacts of trucks that are only heavier are more uncertain.

Today, the maximum weight for trucks in Sweden is 64 tonnes, and the max length is 25.25m. Researchers from Trivector, Lund University, KTH and Chalmers have worked together to study the impacts of allowing heavier and longer trucks in Sweden. The results are presented in a new report, the final report from a research project funded by Vinnova (Swedish Innovation Agency) and the Swedish Transport Administration.

Studied impacts over a 40-year period

In the report, the possible impacts of allowing 74 tonne/25.25m and 74 tonne/34m trucks are studied. The report analyses the impacts for economics, vehicle km, and CO2 emissions over a 40-year period. The result shows that heavier and longer trucks result in more efficient transport, which leads to lower transport costs, lower capacity needs, and lower emissions. This is despite the fact that heavier and longer trucks are expected to result in a certain freight mode shift from rail and sea to road, and that the demand for road transport will increase somewhat due to lower transport costs.

–  Making transport more efficient is generally a good thing, and HCT (High Capacity Transport) can be one way of doing this. However, it is important to realise that it is expected to bring a mode shift from rail and sea. Additionally, freight transport vehicle  km as a whole can increase, says Emeli Adell, sustainable transport consultant at Trivector.

Heavier and longer vehicles are best

The study shows that a combination of heavier and longer trucks (74 tonnes/34 meter) has the most pronounced positive impact from an economic point of view as well as regarding emissions, whereas trucks that are only heavier have less of a positive economic impact, with an uncertain impact on emissions.

One of the conclusions from the study is that the introduction of heavier and/or longer trucks should be done in combination with policies and measures that strengthen environmental performance, such as capacity improvements for rail and sea, and introduction of vehicles and fuels with lower emissions.

More information

Read more (in Swedish with English summary) Systemanalys av införande av HCT på väg i Sverige.

Contact Emeli Adell, 004610-456 56 22.