U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Motivation for investment in commercial vehicle size and weight enforcement is often justifiable through environmental (e.g., noise, emissions, vibration) and safety (e.g., braking and stopping distances) impact considerations. Emerging user fees (being investigated and developed as part of the European EUREKA Logchain Footprint Project) consider environmental impacts (e.g., noise, vibration, emissions) as well as infrastructure impacts for both road and rail. In the United States, primary motivators include infrastructure preservation and safety, although the basis for safety benefits is not well quantified.
Investment is also driven by a desire to maintain fair competition among industry. 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.
A strong focus on modal shift to rail was also 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.
Much of the available funding to support commercial motor vehicle size and weight enforcement activities in the countries visited comes from traditional funding sources, including fuel-, heavy vehicle-, and mileage-related taxes and overweight or oversize citations and fines. Significant variability was observed in the penalty structure and fine amounts among the countries visited. Consistently, however, heavy vehicle taxes were assessed according to weight capacity rather than actual observed weight. Additional sources of more general transportation funding include a motorway vignette— a ticket purchased when a vehicle enters the country— and tolling revenues. Each of the countries visited uses some form of tolling or pricing, although the extent and nature of tolling systems varies from country to country.
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 vary 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) 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 generally is not based on actual or real-time weights, but instead reflects a flat-fee structure. Germany has recently implemented an extensive and advanced tolling system, Toll Collect, which has demonstrated significant success in generating revenue to support transportation systems. This system is detailed below.
In addition, emerging user fees, being investigated and developed as part of the EUREKA Logchain Footprint Project, uniquely consider environmental impacts (e.g., noise, vibration, emissions) as well as infrastructure impacts for both road and rail. More accurately assessing a user fee based on environmental impact and across different modes has the potential to recover transportation costs equitably. This effort is also described in more detail below.
In its White Book Mobility 2001, the European Union set clear targets to establish a Europe-wide road toll for vehicles weighing more than 3.5 metric tons by 2015 to encourage a mode shift to rail. Currently, only 15 percent of goods moved in Switzerland travel by rail. The technical basis for this process is to be supplied by the Eureka Logchain Footprint Project. More specifically, the Footprint project aims to deliver the scientific basis for a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) surcharge similar to that in force in Switzerland since 1998 (i.e., the Swiss Heavy Vehicle Fee, LSVA). The Footprint surcharge will consider the dynamic load of the vehicle captured through WIM, tire pressure, audible noise, ground-borne vibration, and gaseous emissions. The LSVA considers a vehicle's weight capacity rather than observed weight, distance traveled, and the European emissions rating of the engine and does not consider noise or vibration effects.(34) A similar analysis will be conducted for rail, with comparable impact measures.
Several road and rail Footprint Monitoring Sites (FMS) have been established throughout Europe. On the A1 motorway toward Bern near Lenzburg, Empa is operating a barely visible measuring station, which records the footprint of each vehicle that passes over it. The measurement station in Lenzburg is limited to heavy vehicles (more than 3.5 tonnes) only. The parameters recorded include not only dynamic load, ground vibration, and noise, but also the deformation, humidity, and temperature in various layers of the road surface. New technologies used at this measuring station include a stress-in-motion (SIM) sensor developed by Kistler that measures the tire pressure distribution over the road surface using two sensors, each consisting of 32 individual channels positioned parallel to the roadway (see figure 33). In addition, Empa developed a novel sensor that detects deformation within the road surface (see figure 34). Operated by Baas Engineering, a measuring station for rail has been installed in Zevenhuizen, Netherlands, to systematically measure the environmental footprint of rail vehicles, based on the same criteria as those to be applied by Empa in Switzerland. This allows road and rail transport to be compared on an equal basis.
Figure 33: Switzerland: Eureka Logchain Footprint Project test site.
Figure 34: Switzerland: Eureka Logchain Footprint Project test site.
With a focus on heavy trucks, preliminary observations from the Footprint Project at the A1 motorway site include the following:
Research institutions, governmental bodies, and companies from eight European Union countries are also participating in the overall project, with the United Kingdom acting as project coordinator. Data from the Swiss and Dutch measurement stations and other sources will be used to develop cost evaluation models. At the close of the 3-year study, data will be provided to support development of a pan-European heavy goods vehicle surcharge, with its value determined by the unique environmental effects of a particular vehicle.
In January 2005, a new toll system was introduced on 12,000 kilometers of German autobahn for all trucks with a maximum weight capacity of 12 metric tons and above. Previously, Germany had only a few bridges or tunnels that were tolled. Before the implementation of this toll system, toll roads totaled 24,000 kilometers in Europe. An increase of 50 percent in tolled road kilometers was accomplished through the addition of a single additional toll operator. The system is operated by Toll Collect, a consortium formed by DaimlerChrysler, Deutsche Telecom, and Cofiroute. Toll Collect levies tolls on behalf of the government through a public-private partnership. Toll Collect is contracted for services to the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building, and Housing's Federal Office of Goods Transport. Toll Collect returns toll revenue to the government each night before midnight for more than 800,000 trucks in the system. Private industry, which provided funding to establish Toll Collect, obtains returns on investment.
Tolls, based on the distance driven in kilometers, the number of axles, and the emission category of the truck, vary from 9 to 14 eurocents (10 to 16 U.S. cents) per kilometer, with higher tolls during congested traffic conditions to encourage truckers to avoid congested highways. The tax is levied for all trucks with a weight capacity of 12 metric tons and above using German autobahns, whether they are traveling full or empty. This latter policy—charging the same toll rate for both empty and full runs—encourages the trucking industry to become more efficient in its operations by reducing the number of empty runs. Toll Collect estimates a 15 percent reduction in empty runs and a 7 percent jump in container traffic on the nation's railroads.
Some discussion is underway on the tolling of lighter trucks (7.5 to 12 metric tons). While European law allows tolls for truck with a weight capacity of less than 12 metric tons, Germany is concerned about a greater volume of heavy trucks using bypass routes (secondary roads, design, congestion, etc.) to avoid tolls.
The German system is the first to use advanced Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to collect tolls depending on the weight of a truck and the route it uses. The toll system operates via several methods:
OBUs work via GPS and the onboard odometer or tachograph as a backup to determine how far the trucks have traveled by reference to a digital map and the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) to authorize the payment of the toll via a wireless link. The GPS system is supplemented with mobile beacons in a few locations (e.g., tunnel locations, locations where parallel routes exist) for real-time differential correction for travel distance. Trucks on a nontoll parallel route may be incorrectly detected because of GPS inaccuracies.
The GSM network provides cellular communication with the vehicle that is not necessarily in real time. If communication fails initially because of black areas, another attempt is made later. Communication with the trucks occurs over the cellular network, resulting in costs associated with roaming and communication activities. It is not clear, at this time, who should pay for these costs—the user or the government.
As of January 2005, more than 300,000 vehicles had been fitted with OBUs. The target for the end of the year is more than 500,000. The user does not pay for the OBU, but does pay for installation. Service providers do not charge a fixed fee for installation, so users can negotiate an installation rate. Toll Collect defined an appropriate timeframe for installation as 3 to 4 hours, and the average cost for installation is €50 to €70 per hour. Because the installation of OBUs has a dramatic effect on the accuracy and success of the system, Toll Collect selected 1,900 service partners and trained them in proper OBU installation. Only these service partners are certified and allowed to install the Toll Collect OBUs. The number of service partners will go down as truck manufacturers include OBUs in new truck designs. About two-thirds of the vehicles obtaining OBUs are German and the remaining one-third are foreign. The OBU will also be able to work with the new Galileo satellite system, which is being developed in Europe as a more accurate alternative to GPS and is expected to be fully operational in 2008.
Manual payment is available for vehicles not equipped with an OBU. There are more than 3,500 toll payment terminals at motorway service stations or rest areas where drivers can enter the details of their journey, pay the toll in advance (in euros only if it is cash, or with a credit card or oil company/fuel card), and receive a ticket receipt. Drivers who would like to pay the toll well in advance have the option of paying via the Internet.
Toll operators report that the manual payment terminals and Internet access were important for the interim implementation of the program. As confidence in the system grew, more trucking industry representatives were willing to use OBUs. Since inception, the use of OBUs among the trucking industry has gradually increased from 72 percent to more than 99 percent. The use of other methods, including manual payment terminals or the Internet, has decreased comparatively.
Toll Collect's first-year toll revenue was U.S.$3.5 billion. Comparatively, the project's reported development and implementation costs were $9.8 billion, with an expected service life of 12 years. Annual program operating costs are estimated at $944 million. Many of the development and maintenance activities result from the need for an accurate digital roadway network map. Toll Collect surveyed and digitized the entire network of 24,000 km of roadway, 2,600 junctions, 600 parking areas and service facilities, and all parallel roads in a corridor 250 meters to the right and left of the motorway. Toll Collect personnel regularly drive and survey the motorway network to ensure accuracy.
With this level of effort, Germany reports a high system accuracy (i.e., the system correctly identifies the vehicle and assesses a toll) of 99.2 percent. A 0.1 percent change in accuracy (e.g., 99.2 to 99.3 percent) results in a €2.5 million increase for government. Toll Collect receives a bonus for improved accuracy. Of the 1.4 billion toll statements processed, about 9,000 resulted in claims. None of these claims, however, has been successful. The tolls collected are used by the government on road improvements and new road construction, 51 percent to fund road infrastructure projects and 49 percent to fund improvements on the rails and inland waterways.
Commercial motor vehicle size and weight enforcement is almost always the responsibility of the public agencies (either police or transportation) with few exceptions (the Netherlands, Slovenia, and Germany use some limitedauthority enforcement personnel). Tolling activities have a higher involvement of private management partners.
Several countries visited demonstrated a higher reliance on private contractors to set up commercial motor vehicle size and weight enforcement systems, maintain software, process, etc. For example, public enforcement officials in Slovenia rely heavily on private CESTEL personnel to transfer, install, and operate the portable bridge WIM systems, process data for mobile enforcement scheduling and dispatch, perform remote field verifications for OS/OW movements, and more. This involvement of private agencies frees up public personnel to focus on enforcement activities. In the United States, private industry is more often involved through supply contracts than service contracts.
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 WIM/VID systems) by developing new or adapting existing vehicle configurations (e.g., including additional axles) to increase compliance.
Unlike in the United States, where qualifying members of the commercial motor vehicle industry can pay a voluntary fee to participate in a weigh station bypass program, the commercial motor vehicle industry in the countries visited does not have an opportunity to participate in a similar program. A strong focus on modal shift to rail was observed in the countries visited, so programs that would benefit movement by truck would be counter to efforts to encourage rail transport. 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.
More than the United States, 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 of tolling systems vary 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 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 generally is not based on actual or real-time weights, but instead reflects a flat fee structure.
Motivation for investment in commercial vehicle size and weight enforcement is often justifiable through environmental (e.g., noise, emissions, vibration) and safety (e.g., braking and stopping distances) impact considerations. In the United States, primary motivators include infrastructure preservation and safety, although the basis for safety benefits is not well quantified.
Like in the United States, European industry and government are sensitive to fair competition among trucking companies. Industry is largely supportive of enforcement approaches, tools, and techniques that will help ensure fair competition. Despite support of enforcement efforts in the interest of fair competition, trucking industry participation in addressing commercial vehicle size and weight enforcement challenges was observed to be minimal.
A strong focus on modal shift to rail was observed in the countries visited. Rail industry unions appear to have an equal or, in some instances, stronger voice than trucking industry unions. Unlike in the United States, European rail infrastructure is largely government owned and operated.
Several countries visited demonstrated a high reliance on private contractors in a service capacity (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.
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