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7 CHAPTER 1 Background 1.1 Problem Statement 2. Evaluate the applicability of this experience to truck size and Research Objective and weight limits in the United States. Interest is building across the United States in allowing longer and heavier trucks access to the national road 1.2 Scope of Study network. Canada's provinces and territories have all agreed to allow The study was divided into two phases, which together a set of heavy truck configurations with specified dimensional included five major tasks, as follows: and weight limits on specific highways defined by each juris- diction. The trucks are allowed considerably higher weight Truck size and weight regulations in Canada: than those required by federal regulation in the United States, Some history of the evolution of size and weight regula- and double trailer combinations are allowed slightly greater tion in Canada, length. While provinces allow other configurations for do- A summary of current size and weight limits, and mestic and regional needs, the national configurations now An outline of the institutional framework for truck size form the backbone of the truck fleet in Canada. The process and weight regulation in Canada, and to achieve this was put in place when the provinces realized Impacts and lessons of harmonization of truck size and that the increasingly diverse limits and configurations arising weight limits in Canada: from provinces acting independently, or regionally, were Summary of the impacts of changes in truck size and leading to significant barriers to internal trade. The result was weight regulations in Canada, and achieved from a process of negotiation to consensus among Identification of areas where the Canadian truck size the provinces, and was based on a substantial research proj- and weight limits have resulted in particular successes ect to address significant road, bridge, and vehicle configura- or problems and the identification of constraints that tion and performance issues. might limit that applicability of Canadian practices in The process used in Canada for the national harmoniza- the United States. tion of truck size and weight limits in the 1980s can provide considerable insight to policy makers who are evaluating The study was based primarily on available research and changes to truck regulations in the United States, and partic- institutional documentation focusing primarily from 1980 ularly, the need to understand how vehicle configurations onward. should be specified so that specific regulatory changes actu- ally result in the desired outcomes. This research therefore had two objectives: 1.3 Terminology The term "size and weight regulations" is used through- 1. Review and summarize the most current information on out this report to describe the body of rules for configura- the Canadian experience with changes in truck size and tion, sizes, and allowable weights of heavy trucks set by a weight limits and given jurisdiction.

OCR for page 7
8 Canada has ten provinces and three territories. The term list of common abbreviations used here may be found at the "provinces" or "provincial" is used as a simplification through- end of the report, after the references. out this report, and, where used, includes the Canadian This work uses a number of terms to identify or describe ve- territories. hicle configuration, components, axle groups, dimensions, and A number of organizations, pieces of legislation and other other aspects of heavy trucks. Definitions of terms may be things are widely known by an abbreviation of their name. A found at the end of this report, after the table of abbreviations.