A pilot program commissioned by the British Department of Transport (DfT) indicates longer trailers provide safety and environmental benefits.
The British government’s transportation agency launched the 10-year trial in 2012, permitting up to 1,800 exceptions to established size and weight laws. The trial is designed to evaluate the impact of longer trailers on efficiency, emissions, and safety. According to a mid-trial analysis of the results, the trailers—up to 2.05m (6’9”) longer than the standard 13.6m (44’7”) units commonly seen on the roads in this country are achieving positive results. According to an interim report published in July:
• There is good evidence that LST operations are realizing significant savings in the number of trailer vehicle kilometres driven on GB roads, with consequential environmental benefits.
• There is no evidence to date that the safety risk from LSTs is worse than that of normal HGV trailers.
• Looking at all operations, there may be evidence that they are performing better, but data collection should be continued till the end of 2017 in order to confirm this with statistical confidence.
• The Dft does not yet have sufficient data regarding the safety risk performance of the longer trailers in in urban operations.
“At the time of the launch, there were mixed views on the trial, with some vehemently opposed,” says Nigel Base, SMMT Commercial Vehicle Manager. “However, a recent interim progress report shows that, so far, it’s been very successful.”
Base points out that the longer trailers have reduced the number of trips by 90,000 fewer trips, resulting in 10.6 million fewer kilometres being travelled. This has led to cleaner air and reduced congestion. Total economic benefits are estimated at £33 million over the life of the program—about £1,800 per trailer.
“Interestingly, longer semi-trailers appear to be safer,” Base says. “The report shows they have been involved in around 70% fewer collisions and casualties per kilometre in comparison to the average for standard vehicles.”
To read the full report, click here.