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Commercial Motor Vehicle Size and Weight Enforcement in Europe

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U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration

In cooperation with:

  • American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
  • National Cooperative Highway Research Program



The Federal Highway Administration provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.

Technical Report Documentation Page

  1. Report No.: FHWA-PL-07-002
  2. Government Accession No.:
  3. Recipient's Catalog No.:
  4. Title and Subtitle: Commercial Motor Vehicle Size and Weight Enforcement in Europe
  5. Report Date: March 2007
  6. Performing Organization Code:
  7. Author(s): Jeff Honefanger, Julie Strawhorn, Rick Athey, Jodi Carson, George Conner, David Jones, Tom Kearney, John Nicholas, Pam Thurber, Randy Woolley
  8. Performing Organization Report No.:
  9. Performing Organization Name and Address:
    American Trade Initiatives
    P.O. Box 8228
    Alexandria, VA 22306-8228
  10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS):
  11. Contract or Grant No.: DTFH61-99-C-005
  12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address:
    Office of International Programs
    Office of Policy
    Federal Highway Administration
    U.S. Department of Transportation
    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
  13. Type of Report and Period Covered:
  14. Sponsoring Agency Code:
  15. Supplementary Notes: FHWA COTR: Hana Maier, Office of International Programs
  16. Abstract:

    Continued growth in commerce and traffic congestion makes it difficult for industry to move freight economically without using larger and heavier loads. This trend challenges the effective and efficient monitoring of vehicle size and weight compliance. The Federal Highway Administration, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and National Cooperative Highway Research Program sponsored a scanning study to evaluate procedures and technologies for enforcing commercial motor vehicle size and weight laws in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovenia, and Switzerland.

    The scan team learned that the European countries use various technologies, such as bridge weigh-in-motion systems, to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of motor vehicle size and weight enforcement. The team observed a greater use of mobile enforcement activities and fewer fixed roadside weight facilities in Europe than in the United States.

    The team's recommendations for U.S. implementation include a pilot installation of a bridge weigh-in-motion system, a demonstration of the European mobile enforcement approach to prescreening suspected overweight vehicles, and a synthesis of existing research on linkages between overweight commercial motor vehicles and roadway safety.

  17. Key Words: commercial motor vehicle, enforcement technology, harmonization, mobile enforcement, overweight/oversize vehicle, vehicle size and weight, weigh-in-motion
  18. Distribution Statement: No restrictions. This document is available to the public from the: Office of International Programs, FHWA-HPIP, Room 3325, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC 20590
  19. Security Classify. (of this report): Unclassified
  20. Security Classify. (of this page): Unclassified
  21. No. of Pages: 100
  22. Price: Free

Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72)

Reproduction of completed page authorized


This document is disseminated with the cooperation of American Trade Initiatives under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program for the interest of information exchange. The United States Government assumes no liability for its contents or the use thereof. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. The United States Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade and manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Commercial Motor Vehicle Size and Weight Enforcement in Europe - March 2007

Prepared by the International Scanning Study Team:

Jeff Honefanger (cochair), Ohio DOT
Julie Strawhorn (cochair), FHWA
Rick Athey, Arizona DOT
Jodi L. Carson (report facilitator), Texas Transportation Institute
George Conner, Alabama DOT
David Jones, FHWA
Tom Kearney, FHWA
John Nicholas, Washington State Patrol
Pam Thurber, Vermont Agency of Transportation
Randy Woolley, California DOT


Federal Highway Administration U.S. Department of Transportation

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

National Cooperative Highway Research Program


This report was developed in cooperation with the members of the scan team and numerous individuals who served as resources for information on commercial motor vehicle size and weight enforcement activities in the countries investigated. Special thanks are extended to the following individuals for their assistance in this study:


  • Ales Znidaric, Slovenia National Building and Civil Engineering Institute (ZAG)
  • Robert Brozovic, Cestel
  • Igor Lavric, Slovenia National Building and Civil Engineering Institute (ZAG)
  • Dean Herenda, Slovenia Ministry of Transport
  • Ljiljana Herga, Sector for Road Maintenance, Directorate of the Republic of Slovenia for Roads
  • Mladen Loncar, Traffic Enforcement Section, Uniformed Police, Slovenia Ministry of the Interior


  • Christoph Kaeser, Swiss Federal Roads Authority (FEDRO)
  • Roland Aellen, Road Traffic Division, Swiss Federal Roads Authority (FEDRO)
  • Lily Poulikakos, Empa
  • Martin Arraigada, Empa
  • Rico Muff, Empa
  • Ewald Weber, Zurich Canton Police
  • Walter Baumgartner, Winterthur Canton Police


  • Martin Rickmann, Toll Collect
  • Harald Lindlar, Satellic Traffic Management
  • Christian Silzer, Toll Collect
  • Siegfried Klar, Toll Collect, Enforcement
  • Ralf Meschede, German Federal Research Institute (BASt)

The Netherlands

  • Hans van Saan, Road and Hydraulic Engineering Institute, Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works, and Water Management
  • Hans van Loo, Road and Hydraulic Engineering Institute, Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works, and Water Management
  • Pieter Stienstra, Director, Road and Hydraulic Engineering Institute, Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works, and Water Management
  • Bert de Wit, Road and Hydraulic Engineering Institute, Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works, and Water Management
  • Govert Sweere, Road and Hydraulic Engineering Institute, Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works, and Water Management
  • Jean-Marie Stam, Road and Hydraulic Engineering Institute, Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works, and Water Management
  • Jan Kramer, National Traffic Management Center, Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works, and Water Management
  • Kees Hersbach, Inspectorate of Transport, Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works, and Water Management
  • Gerben Visser, Kalibra International
  • Danny van Grondelle, National Police Services Agency, Traffic Police Division


  • Xavier Cocu, Belgian Road Research Center (BRRC)
  • Davy Decock, Belgian Road Research Center (BRRC)
  • Charles Surmont, Directorate General for Energy and Transport, European Commission, European Union
  • Eddy Grief, Belgian Federal Police Services
  • Jo Goossens, Flemish Road Administration
  • Steve Phillips, Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories (FEHRL)


  • Bernard Jacob, Laboratoire Central des Ponts et Chaussees (LCPC)
  • Victor Dolcemascolo, Laboratoire Central des Ponts et Chaussees (LCPC)
  • Bouteldja Mohamed, Laboratoire Central des Ponts et Chaussees (LCPC)
  • Daniel Stanczyk, Infrastructure Technical Research Institute, East Laboratory (CETE de l'Est)
  • David Gil, Infrastructure Technical Research Institute, East Laboratory (CETE de l'Est)
  • Roger Bour, Infrastructure Technical Research Institute, East Laboratory (CETE de l'Est)
  • Charles Thiounn, Division of Sea and Transport, French Ministry of Transport

International Technology Scanning Program

The International Technology Scanning Program, sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), accesses and evaluates innovative foreign technologies and practices that could significantly benefit U.S. highway transportation systems. This approach allows for advanced technology to be adapted and put into practice much more efficiently without spending scarce research funds to re-create advances already developed by other countries.

FHWA and AASHTO, with recommendations from NCHRP, jointly determine priority topics for teams of U.S. experts to study. Teams in the specific areas being investigated are formed and sent to countries where significant advances and innovations have been made in technology, management practices, organizational structure, program delivery, and financing. Scan teams usually include representatives from FHWA, State departments of transportation, local governments, transportation trade and research groups, the private sector, and academia.

After a scan is completed, team members evaluate findings and develop comprehensive reports, including recommendations for further research and pilot projects to verify the value of adapting innovations for U.S. use. Scan reports, as well as the results of pilot programs and research, are circulated throughout the country to State and local transportation officials and the private sector. Since 1990, about 70 international scans have been organized on topics such as pavements, bridge construction and maintenance, contracting, intermodal transport, organizational management, winter road maintenance, safety, intelligent transportation systems, planning, and policy.

The International Technology Scanning Program has resulted in significant improvements and savings in road program technologies and practices throughout the United States. In some cases, scan studies have facilitated joint research and technology-sharing projects with international counterparts, further conserving resources and advancing the state of the art. Scan studies have also exposed transportation professionals to remarkable advancements and inspired implementation of hundreds of innovations. The result: large savings of research dollars and time, as well as significant improvements in the Nation's transportation system.

Scan reports can be obtained through FHWA free of charge by e-mailing international@fhwa.dot.gov. Scan reports are also available electronically and can be accessed on the FHWA Office of International Programs Web Site at www.international.fhwa.dot.gov.

International Technology Scan Reports

International Technology Scanning Program: Bringing Global Innovations to U.S. Highways


  • Safety Applications of Intelligent Transportation Systems in Europe and Japan (2006)
  • Traffic Incident Response Practices in Europe (2006)
  • Underground Transportation Systems in Europe: Safety, Operations, and Emergency Response (2006)
  • Roadway Human Factors and Behavioral Safety in Europe (2005)
  • Traffic Safety Information Systems in Europe and Australia (2004)
  • Signalized Intersection Safety in Europe (2003)
  • Managing and Organizing Comprehensive Highway Safety in Europe (2003)
  • European Road Lighting Technologies (2001)
  • Commercial Vehicle Safety, Technology, and Practice in Europe (2000)
  • Methods and Procedures to Reduce Motorist Delays in European Work Zones (2000)
  • Innovative Traffic Control Technology and Practice in Europe (1999)
  • Road Safety Audits — Final Report and Case Studies (1997)
  • Speed Management and Enforcement Technology: Europe and Australia (1996)
  • Safety Management Practices in Japan, Australia, and New Zealand (1995)
  • Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety in England, Germany, and the Netherlands (1994)

Planning and Environment

  • Active Travel Management: The Next Step in Congestion Management (2007)
  • Managing Travel Demand: Applying European Perspectives to U.S. Practice (2006)
  • Transportation Asset Management in Australia, Canada, England, and New Zealand (2005)
  • Transportation Performance Measures in Australia, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand (2004)
  • European Right-of-Way and Utilities Best Practices (2002)
  • Geometric Design Practices for European Roads (2002)
  • Wildlife Habitat Connectivity Across European Highways (2002)
  • Sustainable Transportation Practices in Europe (2001)
  • Recycled Materials in European Highway Environments (1999)
  • European Intermodal Programs: Planning, Policy, and Technology (1999)
  • National Travel Surveys (1994)

Policy and Information

  • European Practices in Transportation Workforce Development (2003)
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems and Winter Operations in Japan (2003)
  • Emerging Models for Delivering Transportation Programs and Services (1999)
  • National Travel Surveys (1994)
  • Acquiring Highway Transportation Information from Abroad (1994)
  • International Guide to Highway Transportation Information (1994)
  • International Contract Administration Techniques for Quality Enhancement (1994)
  • European Intermodal Programs: Planning, Policy, and Technology (1994)


  • Commercial Motor Vehicle Size and Weight Enforcement in Europe (2007)
  • Active Travel Management: The Next Step in Congestion Management (2007)
  • Managing Travel Demand: Applying European Perspectives to U.S. Practice (2006)
  • Traffic Incident Response Practices in Europe (2006)
  • Underground Transportation Systems in Europe: Safety, Operations, and Emergency Response (2006)
  • Superior Materials, Advanced Test Methods, and Specifications in Europe (2004)
  • Freight Transportation: The Latin American Market (2003)
  • Meeting 21st Century Challenges of System Performance Through Better Operations (2003)
  • Traveler Information Systems in Europe (2003)
  • Freight Transportation: The European Market (2002)
  • European Road Lighting Technologies (2001)
  • Methods and Procedures to Reduce Motorist Delays in European Work Zones (2000)
  • Innovative Traffic Control Technology and Practice in Europe (1999)
  • European Winter Service Technology (1998)
  • Traffic Management and Traveler Information Systems (1997)
  • European Traffic Monitoring (1997)
  • Highway/Commercial Vehicle Interaction (1996)
  • Winter Maintenance Technology and Practices — Learning from Abroad (1995)
  • Advanced Transportation Technology (1994)
  • Snowbreak Forest Book — Highway Snowstorm Countermeasure Manual (1990)


  • Audit Stewardship and Oversight of Large and Innovatively Funded Projects in Europe (2006)
  • Construction Management Practices in Canada and Europe (2005)
  • European Practices in Transportation Workforce Development (2003)
  • Contract Administration: Technology and Practice in Europe (2002)
  • European Road Lighting Technologies (2001)
  • Geometric Design Practices for European Roads (2001)
  • Geotechnical Engineering Practices in Canada and Europe (1999)
  • Geotechnology — Soil Nailing (1993)


  • Quiet Pavement Systems in Europe (2005)
  • Pavement Preservation Technology in France, South Africa, and Australia (2003)
  • Recycled Materials In European Highway Environments (1999)
  • South African Pavement and Other Highway Technologies and Practices (1997)
  • Highway/Commercial Vehicle Interaction (1996)
  • European Concrete Highways (1992)
  • European Asphalt Technology (1990)


  • Prefabricated Bridge Elements and Systems in Japan and Europe (2005)
  • Bridge Preservation and Maintenance in Europe and South Africa (2005)
  • Performance of Concrete Segmental and Cable-Stayed Bridges in Europe (2001)
  • Steel Bridge Fabrication Technologies in Europe and Japan (2001)
  • European Practices for Bridge Scour and Stream Instability Countermeasures (1999)
  • Advanced Composites in Bridges in Europe and Japan (1997)
  • Asian Bridge Structures (1997)
  • Bridge Maintenance Coatings (1997)
  • Northumberland Strait Crossing Project (1996)
  • European Bridge Structures (1995)

All publications are available on the Internet at: www.international.fhwa.dot.gov

Acronyms and Abbreviations

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
Transport Research Center (the Netherlands)
German Federal Office for Transport of Goods
Bundesanstalt fur Strassenwesen (Germany's Federal Highway Research Institute)
Belgian Road Research Center
bridge weigh-in-motion
European Committee for Standardization
commercial motor vehicle
department of transportation
dedicated short-range communications
Road and Hydraulic Engineering Institute (the Netherlands)
Electronic Control Measure
European Control Route
European Commission
European Parliament
European Union
Swiss Federal Roads Authority
Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories
Federal Highway Administration
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Global Positioning System
gross vehicle weight
heavy goods vehicle
high-speed weigh-in-motion
International Conference on Weigh-in-Motion
International Transport Research Documentation
intelligent transportation system
International Vehicle Weight Certificate
kilometers per hour
Laboratoire Central des Ponts et Chaussees (France)
Road Traffic Management Information System (Switzerland)
multiple-sensor weigh-in-motion
Nothing-on-the-Road/Free-of-Axle Detector
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
onboard unit
International Organization of Legal Metrology
Requirements for Enforcement of Overloaded Vehicles in Europe
Système Informatisé de REcueil de DOnnées (France)
public-private partnership
scan tour implementation team
European Traffic Police Network
Transportation Research Information Services
vehicle size and weight
Weighing-in-Motion of Axles and Vehicles for Europe
weigh-in-motion with video
Zavod za gradbenistvo Slovenije (Slovenia's National Building and Civil Engineering Institute)

Executive Summary

Significant growth in domestic and international commerce, coupled with ever-increasing traffic congestion and delay on surface transportation networks, challenges the ability of industry to move freight economically without the use of larger and heavier loads. This trend challenges limited enforcement resources tasked with monitoring vehicle size and weight compliance in the interest of infrastructure preservation and in response to the structural constraints of the existing infrastructure. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' (AASHTO) Technology Implementation Group has identified the weigh-in-motion (WIM) concept and its capabilities as a focus technology for enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of vehicle size and weight enforcement in the United States.

The potential benefits of WIM-based vehicle size and weight enforcement extend beyond infrastructure preservation to include the following:

  • Improved delivery of enforcement services by enhancing effectiveness and efficiency
  • Improved commercial motor vehicle productivity (i.e., supply chain velocity) by reducing the total number of vehicles required to stop for enforcement purposes
  • Fewer emissions by reducing unnecessary deceleration, idling, and acceleration of compliant vehicles
  • Higher commercial and general motor vehicle safety levels by controlling the operation of nonpermitted, noncompliant (i.e., overweight or oversize) vehicles
  • Better data quantity and quality to support pavement design, bridge/structural design, traffic engineering, and transportation planning efforts, as well as ongoing performance monitoring and evaluation of vehicle size and weight enforcement programs

The scanning study on commercial motor vehicle size and weight (VSW) enforcement, conducted June 16 through July 2, 2006, included a review and evaluation of contemporary European procedures and technologies for enforcing commercial motor vehicle size and weight laws and regulations.

Based on information obtained from reports on prior related scanning studies, published literature, various Internet sites, and U.S. and European experts in the field, recommended sites for the scanning study included France, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovenia, and Switzerland. In addition to visiting these countries, the scan team met with members of the European Union (EU) in Brussels, Belgium, to gain perspective on efforts to harmonize VSW enforcement activities among different countries.

The scanning study was conducted by a team of experts in the area of commercial motor vehicle size and weight enforcement. Jeff Honefanger, AASHTO cochair, and Julie Strawhorn, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) cochair, led the 10-member team, which included personnel from FHWA (three members), various State departments of transportation (DOTs) (five members), law enforcement (one member), and academia (one member). In addition to breadth across agency types, the team had expertise in motor vehicle size and weight technologies, procedures, data applications, public-private involvement, and harmonization.

Scan Purpose and Scope

The scope of the scanning study included a review and evaluation of contemporary European procedures and technologies for enforcing commercial motor vehicle size and weight laws and regulations. Specifically, the study considered the following, as applied in Europe:

  • Emerging vehicle size and weight enforcement technologies, including but not limited to third-generation WIM devices that can produce reliable evidence of specific violations capable of withstanding legal challenge
  • Unconventional vehicle size and weight enforcement procedures, including but not limited to alternative performance-based programs
  • Novel uses or applications of WIM data to support pavement design, bridge/structural design, traffic engineering, transportation planning efforts, or ongoing performance monitoring and evaluation of vehicle size and weight enforcement programs
  • Innovative public-private funding mechanisms for vehicle size and weight enforcement technologies or programs
  • Multinational programs to harmonize administrative and operational vehicle size and weight enforcement procedures or programs among member countries

Intrinsic benefits related to infrastructure preservation, enforcement efficiency and effectiveness, commercial motor vehicle productivity, emissions, safety, and data quantity and quality were considered concurrently in this investigation.

General Findings

General findings and observations resulting from the six-country scanning study are summarized below. Findings are generally categorized as enforcement technologies, enforcement procedures, unique data applications, public-private funding, and harmonization approaches.

Enforcement Technologies
  • Two of the six countries visited use technology for commercial vehicle size enforcement; the Swiss use an automated profile measuring device in low-speed applications and the Germans use a gantry laser system in high-speed applications. In low-speed applications (less than 10 kilometers per hour (km/h)) suitable for legal enforcement, these systems were purported to provide a more complete and accurate dimensional picture of a vehicle and allow enforcement officials to focus on other aspects of inspection. In high-speed applications, these systems can be used to preselect size-questionable vehicles from the traffic stream.
  • A bridge WIM system is being used successfully and extensively in Slovenia, is undergoing tests on several bridges in France, and is generating interest in several other countries visited. Primary applications include preselection for mobile enforcement activities; data support for planning, design, and structure analysis; overweight permit application processes; and monitoring of alternate routes (i.e., bypass detection). France is conducting a field trial to assess the accuracy and reliability of SiWIM™ technology and available devices and to extend application to other bridge types. To date, the Slovenian bridge WIM system has proven most successful on short, stiff bridge structures (i.e., integral concrete slabs). The Netherlands recently installed one bridge WIM system for testing under Dutch highway conditions and is now identifying potential bridges for implementation.
  • Research into the accuracy and durability of fiber optic-based, high-speed WIM systems was carried out in France in the late 1990s. Upgrades of the performance and design of these systems have led to field-based testing. Fiber optic-based systems overcome detector interference challenges caused by magnetic interactions with reinforcement bars in portland cement concrete slabs.
  • The use of technology to support commercial vehicle weight enforcement varies among the countries visited on implementation and application extent (the COST 323 Project lent consistency to deployment site selection and accuracy determination through development of a European WIM specification). A general consistency, however, was noted in the type of WIM sensor (i.e., piezoquartz or piezoceramic) used for roadway applications. Previously observed challenges with accuracy and maintenance are being addressed in the countries visited.
  • In general, the accuracy levels attained by WIM systems are sufficient for preselection of vehicles to weigh on static or low-speed scales for enforcement, for infrastructure design and maintenance, and for planning and statistical purposes, but are not sufficient for direct, automated enforcement.(1) France is nearing use of low-speed WIM for legal enforcement (i.e., issuing citations based directly on low-speed WIM measurements). The United Kingdom and Germany reportedly are using low-speed WIM for direct enforcement already, although this was not observed during the scanning study.
  • Both France and the Netherlands are investigating the use of multiple-sensor WIM to achieve sufficient per-truck accuracy levels to support direct, automated enforcement of commercial vehicle weight limits.
  • For WIM systems, calibration procedures in use include:
    1. Self- or autocalibration
    2. Calibration with vehicles of a known weight
    3. Calibration with instrumented vehicles using onboard WIM systems
    4. Continuous, ongoing calibration (during enforcement efforts) using sample vehicles from the traffic stream at the enforcement site weighed both statically and in motion.
    The Netherlands has developed a dynamic calibration vehicle that eliminates traditional dynamic-to-static measurement adjustments, particularly for multiple-sensor WIM installations.
  • In general, the use of technology in enforcing both commercial motor vehicle size and weight is viewed as beneficial in enhancing effectiveness and efficiency. For vehicle size enforcement, technology was also purported to improve the accuracy of dimensional measurements.
Enforcement Procedures
  • A greater use of mobile enforcement activities and few fixed roadside weigh facilities were consistently observed. This strategy results in a lower volume of trucks being processed and geographically and geometrically constrained inspection and offloading areas, but provides more flexibility to respond to industry loading and routing patterns and more efficient and effective enforcement action.
  • A high level of collaboration in commercial motor vehicle size and weight enforcement activities was observed in several countries visited between similar agencies of different jurisdictional levels (e.g., national and regional law enforcement agencies) and between different agencies (e.g., transportation and law enforcement agencies). It was also observed that private sector entities work closely with government and research bodies to refine and enhance product performance and accuracy.
  • Weigh-in-motion technology, commonly used with video technology, is used to support commercial vehicle weight enforcement through:
    1. Real-time preselection for mobile enforcement
    2. Scheduling time and location (to the extent possible) of enforcement activities
    3. Directing carrier/company advisory notices of non-compliance (i.e., warning letter) and preventive visits (this information is shared with enforcement personnel).
  • All countries visited noted consistent or lower weight limits on secondary and local roads.
  • Many countries visited had truck travel restrictions by day of the week (e.g., no truck travel allowed on Sundays) or hour of the day (e.g., no truck travel allowed after 10 p.m.).
  • Many European enforcement entities have dedicated personnel for size and weight enforcement. Often, size and weight enforcement personnel are not authorized to perform duties beyond size and weight enforcement (i.e., not authorized to stop vehicles, carry firearms, perform arrests). If an obvious safety, credential, or criminal problem is noted, personnel authorized to address these issues are called to assist.
  • Citation issuance procedures and fine amounts differed between and within the countries visited, varying by the assumed violator (i.e., driver, carrier, or both), unique procedures for foreign drivers and carriers, and the time allowed for establishing and responding to the fine (in many instances, the fine was immediate). In general, the citation amounts were reported to be sufficient as a deterrent.
  • Fully automated commercial motor vehicle size and weight enforcement using high-speed WIM is estimated to be 5 to 20 years in the future, as purported in France and the Netherlands. Primary challenges for high-speed WIM applications include:
    1. Attaining sufficient accuracy levels for the WIM systems (i.e., accuracy class A(5) with respect to the COST 323 European specification)
    2. Gaining certification approval from the national metrological bodies
    3. Modifying existing laws that require static weight measurements.
    France (as well as the United Kingdom and Germany) has obtained approval from the national metrology authority to certify low-speed WIM for use in enforcement, but related legal authority to introduce this application by statute is still required. In Belgium, low-speed WIM is used for direct enforcement, but it is unclear what legal or metrological changes were required to support this practice.
  • In many of the countries visited, bypass of enforcement activities was discussed as a concern. Mobile enforcement activities, by their nature, are generally able to address any bypass-related challenges. France has integrated bypass considerations as part of its WIM site selection process (i.e., locating WIM systems to discourage obvious or convenient bypass).
  • Unique procedures for addressing oversize/overweight (OS/OW) permitting in the countries visited focused on:
    1. The development and provision of Web sites allowing truck drivers to self-route based on origin, destination, and route restrictions (Switzerland)
    2. The use of calibrated influence lines derived from bridge WIM to calculate safety of the bridge under the special transport using the exact axle loadings and spacing (France, Slovenia)
    3. Remote field verification capabilities for OS/OW movements (Slovenia).
  • Benefits from the technologies or procedures used are not yet precisely quantified. General benefits related to increased enforcement efficiency through the use of technology (i.e., providing greater enforcement effort with less human resource) were reported by Swiss, Dutch, and French representatives. The most common quantified benefit reported related to onsite enforcement efficiency—the number of overweight penalties issued (i.e., warning, citation, etc.) per total trucks inspected.
Unique Data Applications
  • Real-time WIM system data are used most often for preselection during mobile enforcement operations and to a lesser extent for scheduling the best days, times, and locations for optimum mobile enforcement. Use of this data to support planning, historical trend analysis, policy and pricing decisions, design, structure analysis, permitting, etc., was more limited.
  • Data exchange and sharing within the countries visited varies. Limited data are exchanged with the European Union under special efforts such as the European Control Route (ECR).
  • Implementation of a European WIM database, as envisioned and initiated to a limited extent in the COST 323 and WAVE Projects, has not been fully realized.
  • Data quality was reported to be largely sufficient for each of the various applications (i.e., preselection, planning, etc.). The most common shortcoming noted was geographic coverage.
Public-Private Funding
  • Commercial motor vehicle size and weight enforcement is the responsibility of the public agencies (either police or transportation), with a few exceptions (the Netherlands, Slovenia, and Germany use limited authority enforcement personnel). Tolling activities have a higher involvement of private management partners.
  • Several countries visited demonstrated a high reliance on private contractors for services (e.g., setting up systems, maintaining software, processing data). In the United States, private industry is more often involved through supply contracts than service contracts.
  • Motivation for investment in commercial vehicle size and weight enforcement is often justifiable through environmental (e.g., noise, emissions, vibration), road safety (e.g., braking and stopping distances), and infrastructure (pavement and bridge lifetime preservation) impact considerations. The development of enforcement approaches, tools, and techniques is also driven by a desire to maintain fair competition among industry. In the United States, primary motivators include infrastructure preservation and safety, although the basis for safety benefits is not well quantified.
  • A strong focus on modal shift to rail was observed in the countries visited. Low commercial motor vehicle weight limitations, nighttime travel restrictions, and strict requirements on drivers' rest periods in Switzerland result in significant movements by rail. Rail industry unions appear to have an equal or, in some instances, stronger voice than trucking industry unions. European rail infrastructure is largely government owned and operated. The Netherlands also reported a heavy reliance on inland waterways for moving freight.
  • The countries visited use some form of tolling or pricing to help finance roadway operation, maintenance, or improvement, with a focus on heavy goods movement. The extent and nature (i.e., public-private system operation, weight- or size-based for heavy vehicle movements) of tolling systems varies from country to country, however. None of the tolling schedules observed is based on actual or real-time weights. More often toll schedules reflect a fixed registered weight capacity (e.g., trucks greater than 12 metric tons in Germany) and do not distinguish between fully loaded or empty transports. This latter trait encourages the trucking industry to operate more efficiently to avoid paying tolls for empty transports.
  • Similarly, the fee structure for special permits is not always based on actual or real-time weights, but instead reflects a flat-fee structure.
  • Emerging user fees (being investigated and developed as part of the European EUREKA Footprint Project) consider environmental impacts (e.g., noise, vibration, emissions) as well as infrastructure impacts for both road and rail.
  • A noted sensitivity for fair competition among trucking companies exists in both industry and government. Industry is largely supportive of enforcement approaches, tools, and techniques that will help ensure fair competition.
  • Despite industry support of enforcement efforts in the interest of fair competition, direct participation from the trucking industry to address commercial vehicle size and weight enforcement challenges was observed to be minimal. The Netherlands actively sought solutions from the trucking industry for size and weight enforcement challenges without any initial actionable feedback. Over time, the Dutch trucking industry has responded to enhanced commercial motor vehicle size and weight controls (e.g., through the use of WIM and weigh-in-motion with video (WIM/VID) systems) by developing new or adapting existing vehicle configurations (e.g., including additional axles) to increase compliance.
Harmonization Approaches
  • Commercial vehicle size and weight limits are largely harmonized between member countries for cross-border travel. Country-imposed limits for national travel vary, but must not be lower than EU requirements except in cases where the infrastructure along secondary roads cannot support the load.
  • A common goal or priority in decisionmaking for the countries visited is consistency within the European Union while maintaining the individual country's economic interests. This goal not only applies to commercial motor vehicle size and weight enforcement activities, but also to tolling.
  • The European Traffic Police Network (TIPSOL) provides a framework for multinational, coordinated highway enforcement actions.
  • In general, a greater focus on coordinated research efforts among EU member countries exists than among U.S. States. The European Union and Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories (FEHRL) provide the framework for administration of large-scale, multiyear coordinated research efforts.
  • The special permit process for oversize/overweight vehicles varied because of unique conditions in each country.
  • The COST 323 European specification for WIM systems—calling for tender and test-based acceptance procedures—provides a common and widely accepted prestandard used by all parties since its inception in the late 1990s.

Team Recommendations

Based on these general findings and observations, the scan team ranked a preliminary list of European commercial motor vehicle size and weight enforcement technologies and procedures as having "high," "medium," or "low" interest levels for implementation consideration in the United States. These relative rankings did not recommend implementation of the various technologies or procedures, but instead indicated interest in further investigation.

After the scan, the scan tour implementation team (STIT) focused on implementation opportunities assigned a high interest level and worked further with scan team members to prioritize the 17 initial opportunities included in this category. Some opportunities were later combined because of perceived overlap. Through this process, the STIT identified seven specific implementation opportunities as having the greatest potential benefit to U.S. commercial motor vehicle size and weight enforcement procedures:

  • Slovenia bridge weigh-in-motion (B-WIM, Slovenia, France)
  • Swiss heavy goods vehicle control facility (Switzerland)
  • Prescreening for mobile enforcement (Slovenia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France)
  • Applying WIM for direct enforcement: a template for implementation and certification (France)
  • Behavior-based enforcement activities (the Netherlands, France)
  • Synthesis of safety implications of oversize/overweight commercial vehicles (Belgium)
  • Effective use of WIM data: the Dutch case study (Netherlands)

Specific strategies for advancing these implementation opportunities were also identified, with various scan team members assigned supporting action items. These implementation opportunities and strategies are detailed below.

Slovenia Bridge Weigh-in-Motion (Slovenia, France)

Bridge weigh-in-motion (B-WIM) was initially identified in the late 1970s in the United States and developed in the WAVE Project. European researchers continued to advance field testing and applied research into the concept, leading to its widespread deployment in Slovenia. B-WIM is a vital component of Slovenia's commercial motor vehicle weight monitoring system and is used to prescreen commercial vehicles for weight enforcement purposes. SiWIM in Slovenia was developed and implemented through a partnership between research staff at the National Building and Civil Engineering Institute's (ZAG) Research Department and a private engineering firm, CESTEL. Deployment of Slovenian SiWIM targets short-deck (5- to 10-meter) orthotropic bridges. Extensive research into the reaction of the bridge deck to weights has led to the ability to estimate, within acceptable levels of accuracy for prescreening, a vehicle's static weight. Analysis and data collection leading to this capability centered on the behavior of the "influence line" when truck weights are applied to the bridge's deck. Weight-detection instrumentation is applied at the under-deck location of the structure, eliminating the need to disrupt traffic flow during installation. Multiple sensors are used to monitor travel lanes and a sensor data hub or cabinet feature is used to draw readings from the individual sensors and composite the deck loading readings. Axle weights, gross vehicle weights (GVW), axle spacing, vehicle speed, and vehicle class are captured through this data collection approach.

The Netherlands is analyzing its inventory of structures to determine the number and location of bridges where B-WIM could be deployed. Recently, one bridge WIM system was installed for testing under Dutch highway conditions. In France, significant applied research efforts are concentrated on advancing the use of B-WIM on multiple-span, multiple-lane structures and steel orthotropic deck bridges. The filtering of sensor readings from several vehicles on the bridge deck simultaneously is the target of current research efforts. The scan team visited the Autreville orthotropic steel bridge site on the A31 motorway outside of Nancy, France. French hosts provided a tour of the site layout and demonstrated the SiWIM under testing.

Eliminating the need to disrupt traffic flow and minimizing worker risk when installing traditional roadway telemetry, B-WIM was seen to possess major benefits over current U.S. practices. Also, as seen in Slovenia, the time required for installation is not significant and, once bridge deck superstructures are instrumented, B-WIM is highly portable. In Slovenia, five SiWIM devices are used to collect data for 1 week at 30 locations twice a year. U.S. applications of B-WIM would enhance prescreening capabilities for commercial motor vehicle weight enforcement, as well as provide important information to bridge management systems. The choice of a suitable bridge and the development of an appropriate instrumentation plan and related calibration procedures may be challenging and require a high expertise level.

Implementation Strategy (George Conner, Pam Thurber, and Randy Woolley)
  • Obtain detailed site layout specifications from Slovenian contacts.
  • Synthesize the French experience and analyze the accuracy and performance results.
  • Prepare and deploy a one-page information sheet presenting a compelling case for pursuing B-WIM implementation in the United States.
  • Present findings at AASHTO's Bridge Conference.
  • One-page information sheet detailing B-WIM requirements and benefits
  • Summary of French experience, including accuracy and performance results
  • Transportation Pooled Fund Program study focusing on deployment opportunities in the United States
  • Implementation of pilot B-WIM system (i.e., potential bypass route adjacent to enforcement location)
Swiss Heavy Goods Vehicle Control Facility (Switzerland)

To protect highway tunnel facilities and roadway infrastructure from the impacts of heavy trucks, Switzerland has developed and implemented an efficient and effective approach to simultaneously measuring commercial vehicle size and weight at stationary enforcement locations. The system also includes a high-speed weigh-in-motion (HS-WIM) and video (VID) technology component that is used to strategically select trucks requiring additional measurements.

The scan team had the opportunity to observe enforcement procedures at the control facility outside of Bern, Switzerland. Mobile enforcement details escorted vehicles into the facility for additional measurements using the HS-WIM/VID prescreening capability. Vehicles were directed onto a weigh bridge (i.e., static scale pad instrumented with several load cell scales) that provides simultaneous axle and gross vehicle weight measurements. An overhead gantry fitted with laser scanners capable of capturing commercial vehicle length, height, and width measurements is used simultaneously.

An attractive element of the Swiss heavy goods control facility operation is the user-friendly presentation of data to enforcement officers operating the system. A horizontal line on the computer screen represents legal axle and gross vehicle weight allowances with violations clearly presented as exceeding this allowance line. Size dimensions exceeding legal allowances are highlighted in red on a three-dimensional model of the vehicle. Size- and weight-related citations are generated automatically for issuance to the vehicle operator and submission to the appropriate judiciary officials. Swiss enforcement personnel described the advantages of this system over traditional portable scale and manual measurements efforts. More accurate measurements are conducted with less manpower, resulting in more effective enforcement performed in considerably less time. The Swiss operate three control centers, with additional centers in the planning and development stages. The scan team believes that U.S. deployment of such an enforcement station at key high-volume domestic or international land crossing locations would be beneficial.

Implementation Strategy (Jeff Honefanger and Tom Kearney)
  • Obtain control facility weigh bridge and laser scanner gantry specifications from Swiss contacts (i.e., number and type of load cell scales, number and type of laser scanners).
  • Evaluate domestic or international land-crossing locations as possible candidates for a model deployment pilot site.
  • List of locations viable for model deployment
  • Implementation of a control facility in the United States
  • Documentation of timesaving benefits realized through pilot deployment
Prescreening for Mobile Enforcement (Slovenia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and France)

A significant level of interest exists in the United States in the use of automation tools and technology to improve commercial motor vehicle size and weight enforcement. The scan team witnessed similar mobile enforcement activities in four of the six countries visited: Slovenia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and France. Common features and elements were identified in each. High-speed WIM technology was used in each case for mainline prescreening of suspected overweight commercial motor vehicles. Video capture (i.e., digital photo images) of the vehicle was triggered by overweight detections. Both weight and image data were transmitted via short-range communications to enforcement personnel, allowing them to identify appropriate commercial vehicles in the traffic stream and escort them off the mainline for further investigation. Such systems are referred to as WIM/VID in Europe. Such approaches were embraced by the COST 323 action and are used widely by EU member nations.

U.S. States use elements of this approach to varying degrees. The scan team identified the need for a comparative analysis to measure the differences between the state of the practice for mobile enforcement in the United States and that observed in several European countries. The team believes that advancement of the most effective mobile enforcement practices could be supported and delivered most expeditiously once State-level variations are identified and compared to European practices.

Implementation Strategy (Ric Athey and John Nicholas)
  • Survey U.S. States on mobile enforcement program components and aspects.
  • Obtain specific detail on mobile enforcement tools and techniques in use from European contacts.
  • Identify demonstration sites for a European mobile enforcement approach (may be combined with B-WIM deployment).
  • One-page information sheet on U.S.-versus-European state of the practice
  • Implementation of a pilot demonstration of European mobile enforcement approach
Applying WIM for Direct Enforcement: A Template for Implementation and Certification (France and the Netherlands)

In many cases, the difficulty in deploying advanced technologies stems from institutional barriers. The widespread deployment and use of technologies for commercial motor vehicle size and weight enforcement require support from both the metrological bodies responsible for equipment certification and judicial bodies responsible for related legal actions. Low-speed WIM systems can be tested and certified using similar methods as static weighing equipment, making deployment of the WIM systems a logical first step toward direct enforcement. The testing and certification process for high-speed WIM systems is more complex and requires the development of new acceptance methods.

French officials are leading in their efforts to overcome institutional challenges to the use of low-speed WIM systems for direct enforcement (i.e., gaining acceptance from the national metrology and judiciary communities). While the French are focused on the initial acceptance of low-speed WIM systems, the Dutch are focused on gaining acceptance of high-speed WIM.

Because a similar development process would be required in the United States, the scan team recommended an indepth review of the French and Dutch evolutionary process for acceptance of WIM systems for direct enforcement, with a concurrent review of the U.S. direct enforcement climate and requirements.

Implementation Strategy (Jodi Carson)
  • Characterize the U.S. climate toward the use of WIM for direct enforcement.
  • Identify issues that must be addressed to gain metrological and judicial acceptance in the United States.
  • Identify and review successful European practices on direct weight enforcement using WIM technology.
  • Establish legal basis and gain judicial support for citing overweight trucks directly from low-speed WIM initially and later from high-speed WIM.
  • Modeled after the French and Dutch process, an outline of the required steps leading to legal acceptance of WIM technology for use in direct weight enforcement in the United States
Behavior-Based Enforcement Activities (the Netherlands and France)

Using the European WIM/VID (photo) approach of simultaneously capturing a digital image of the vehicle when an overweight condition is detected, officials in the Netherlands and France have gained additional knowledge of the trucking firms most frequently operating in an overweight condition. This information is captured continuously (i.e., 24 hours a day, 7 days a week), regardless of whether mobile enforcement activity is taking place. Historical WIM information is reviewed, typically on a monthly basis, to determine trucking firms that most frequently engage in overloading practices. Enforcement officials contact the most frequently offending firms to encourage compliant loading behavior. After this contact, the trucking firm begins a probationary period. If no positive change is observed through continued monitoring by WIM/VID systems, graduated enforcement actions are taken. France is beginning a 3-year study to determine the effectiveness of this process.

The scan team observed that this general process is similar to the safety inspection steps routinely followed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in its oversight of trucking firms operating commercial vehicle fleets. The application of this process to commercial motor vehicle weight enforcement in the United States shows promise for firms that could have reasonably brought their loading practices into legal compliance with relevant laws.

Implementation Strategy (Julie Strawhorn and Mike Onder)
  • Obtain specific details on the behavior-based enforcement approach from Dutch and French contacts.
  • Obtain estimates of approach effectiveness (i.e., percentage of reduction in the proportion of overweight trucks) from Dutch and French contacts.
  • Coordinate with FMCSA officials to gain understanding of their behavior-based approach to commercial vehicle safety enforcement.
  • One-page information sheet on behavior-based approach to commercial motor vehicle weight enforcement in the Netherlands and France
Synthesis of Safety Implications of Oversize/Overweight Commercial Vehicles (Belgium)

In the United States, justification and authority for the conduct of commercial vehicle weight enforcement are vested in the public's interest in preserving highway infrastructure and promoting a climate of equity and fairness among trucking firms (i.e., not allowing violators to be rewarded at the expense of law-abiding firms). These same principles and interests were reported in each of the countries the scan team visited. In addition, several of the countries identified safety as a primary motivator for commercial vehicle size and weight enforcement. In Belgium, officials have linked weight enforcement activities to the public's interest in safe operating conditions on the highways. After years of weight and speed data collection and analysis, Belgian officials noted direct relationships between excessive speed by overweight vehicles involved in highway accidents and the frequency of fatalities occurring in accidents including such vehicles. As a result, they were able to build the case to legislative leaders that weight and speed needed to be aggressively regulated. Governors, or speed-monitoring devices, are installed on trucks to control their maximum speed. Speed violations are treated as criminal offenses, since excessive speeds can be achieved only by tampering with the speed-control devices.

The scan team indicated a desire to better understand the relationship between commercial motor vehicle weight condition and safety in the United States. While public concerns about the impact of overweight vehicles on bridge and pavement conditions and on equitable trade practices are valid, the safety benefits tied to commercial vehicle weight enforcement activities need to be better defined. The scan team proposes an assimilation of existing safety studies and research to improve understanding.

Implementation Strategy (George Conner and Mike Onder)
  • Invite university research communities, via the University Transportation Research Consortium (UTRC) initiative, to conduct a synthesis effort on the linkages of overweight commercial motor vehicles and safety.
  • Obtain detailed information on the use of safety as a compelling case for commercial motor vehicle weight enforcement from Belgium contacts.
  • One-page informational sheet describing the basis for Belgium's regulations
  • Synthesis of existing research describing relationships between commercial motor vehicle weight condition and safety in the United States
Effective Use of WIM Data: The Dutch Case Study (the Netherlands)

In the Netherlands, every Wednesday morning at 7 a.m., an e-mail with an attachment detailing the frequency of truck weight violations by location, time of day, and day of the week is distributed to enforcement personnel responsible for scheduling enforcement actions and transportation personnel charged with infrastructure condition monitoring and multimodal freight planning and forecasting. The data report is a product of a rather extensive database management operation constructed by Dutch officials. Extensive quality control and quality assurance protocols have been built into the operations of this data management system.

In the United States, State-level officials operate data management systems to manage highway and bridge programs and to monitor travel for supporting program and policy development. The scan team determined that documentation of the Dutch database management system could assist States in extracting greater value from the database systems they operate.

Implementation Strategy (David Jones and Tom Kearney)
  • Obtain detailed information on the architecture and system specifications for the data model used in the Netherlands from Dutch contacts.
  • Conduct a comparative scan of data management operations employed in the United States.
  • Propose a National Cooperative Highway Research Project synthesis topic related to WIM database management and potential enhancements.
  • Case study report on WIM data processing, reporting, and distribution opportunities based on findings from the Netherlands
  • Presentation of case study report findings at the next scheduled North American Traffic Monitoring and Equipment Conference

Next Steps

Next steps include defining specific timeframes and funding requirements for implementation. Once defined, funding sources can be identified and secured.

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