OECD Report Highlights Improvements of Road Freight Policy, Vehicles and Infrastructure

6 May 2011: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) International Transport Forum (ITF) has published a report titled “Moving Freight with Better Trucks: Improving Safety, Productivity and Sustainability," which aims to identify potential improvements in the regulation, enforcement, efficiency and productivity of trucking.

In particular, the report aims to inform deliberations over more extensive use of higher capacity vehicles. In addition to literature reviews and expert interviews, the authors undertook comprehensive benchmarking of 39 truck configurations to assess their performance in terms of dynamic stability, productivity and impact on infrastructure.

Key messages of the report include that: the safety and environmental impacts of road haulage require regulatory intervention for optimal outcomes; compliance can be improved greatly through legislation that assigns responsibility across supply chains as well as through roadside checks and GPS technologies; a performance-based approach to regulation offers the potential to meet community objectives for road freight transport more fully; many higher-capacity vehicles have equivalent or even better intrinsic safety characteristics in some respects than most common workhorse trucks; and higher capacity vehicles have the potential to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions, and result in fewer vehicle-kilometers travelled.

The conclusions of the report include that: freight must be addressed as the amount of freight transport is increasing, with road haulage carrying the major part of the growth; "trucks are here to stay" and managing their impacts is therefore critical to sustainable transport policy; governments have a responsibility to establish regulatory conditions that improve road transport efficiency, safety and sustainability; and innovative approaches and new technologies are already available for achieving more effective compliance with regulations. [Summary Document] [Publication: Moving Freight with Better Trucks: Improving Safety, Productivity and Sustainability]