TRB Special Report 227 - New Trucks for Greater Productivity and Less Road Wear: An Evaluation of the Turner Proposal evaluates the approach to regulation of the size and weight of trucks using U.S. roads known as the Turner Proposal. This approach had its origin in a proposal put forth in a 1984 address to AASHTO by former Federal Highway Administrator Francis C. Turner.
The approach evaluated by the committee differs in an important respect from Turner's original concept: in the committee's approach, use of the new trucks would be voluntary; that is, truck operators would be offered the choice of continuing with existing equipment and weight rules or adopting the new trucks with the new weight regulations. The committee designed a package of changes in size and weight limits, safety restrictions, and procedures regarding bridge deficiencies, routing, and enforcement that would be a practical regulatory scheme for implementing the Turner concept.
The committee recommends that every state, with careful assessment of the risks and uncertainties, consider this proposal as a supplement to current size and weight regulations. If Turner trucks were adopted in all states according to the recommended rules, they would reduce the cost of shipping freight and would not degrade safety. The total cost of maintaining the road system would be reduced, although pavement wear savings would be partially offset by higher bridge costs.
The committee that carried out this study identified two truck configurations outside the weight and length limits established by federal law that would offer greater productivity without increasing infrastructure or safety costs. These vehicles formed the basis for the configurations recommended in a later (2002) TRB report, Special Report 267: Regulation of Weights, lengths, and Widths of Commercial Motor Vehicles.