Nov. 27, 2018


New Report Details Priority Research Projects for U.S. Department of Transportation Regarding Truck Size and Weight Regulations

WASHINGTON – A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine presents a research roadmap to address gaps and uncertainties in estimating the impacts of proposed changes in truck size and weight limits -- the regulations that set the maximum weights, lengths, and numbers of trailers allowed for trucks on U.S. highways.  The report defined a program of 27 research projects focused on pavements, bridges, safety, enforcement, and shippers' decisions to transport freight by truck, rail, or other modes.  The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration tasked the National Academies to develop a plan for a research program to reduce uncertainties in estimates of the impacts of changes in the limits.

The committee that carried out the study and wrote the report identified seven core research tracks, each made up of one or several projects, that have a good probability of producing useful results within a practical time period and budget and would significantly contribute to reducing uncertainty in truck size and weight limit evaluations.  The committee estimated that this core program could be completed within four to six years for $4 million to $6 million.  The core research tracks are:

The committee concluded that a targeted research program, plus improvements to data systems, would strengthen the federal and state governments' capabilities to project impacts of changes in truck regulations.  Of equal importance, the research could reveal opportunities to improve safety and productivity and control highway costs, regardless of whether truck size and weight limits are changed.

The study was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation.  The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology, and medicine.  They operate under an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln.  For more information, visit  A committee roster follows.

Andrew Robinson, Media Relations Assistant
Office of News and Public Information
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Copies of Research to Improve Estimates of Impacts of Changes in Truck Size and Weight Regulations are available from the National Academies Press on the Internet at or by calling 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242.  Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above).

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Transportation Research Board

Truck Size and Weight Limits Research Plan Committee

James Winebrake (chair)
Professor, and
College of Liberal Arts, and
Laboratory for Environmental Computing and Decision Making
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, N.Y.

Imad L. Al-Qadi
Bliss Professor of Engineering, and
Advanced Transportation Research and Engineering Laboratory, and
Founding Director
Illinois Center for Transportation
University of Illinois

Gongkang Fu
Professor of Civil and Architectural Engineering
Illinois Institute of Technology

David L. Harkey
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and
Highway Loss Data Institute
Arlington, Va.

Douglas W. Harwood
Program Director
Transportation Research Center
Kansas City, Mo.

Susan E. Hida
Assistant State Bridge Engineer
California Department of Transportation

José Holguín-Veras
William H. Hart Professor, and
Volvo Research and Educational Foundations Center of Excellence for Sustainable Urban Freight Systems, and
Center for Infrastructure, Transportation, and the Environment
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, N.Y.

Clinton V. Oster, Jr.
Professor Emeritus
School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Indiana University

Michael Tooley
Montana Department of Transportation

Dennis F. Wilkie*
Corporate Vice President (ret.)
Integrated Electronic Systems Sector
Motorola, Inc.
Birmingham, Miss.

Sharon L. Wood*
Cockrell School of Engineering, and
Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering
University of Texas


Joseph R. Morris
Staff Officer

*Member, National Academy of Engineering