Minimizing Illegal Overweight Truck Frequencies through Strategically Planned Truck Inspection Operations

Over the past two decades, heavy truck traffic volumes and cargo weights have been steadily increasing due to economic growth and improved transportation system efficiency. These changes are producing an exponential increase in the damage caused to highway pavements and bridges. A disproportionate amount of highway damage is caused by extremely heavy trucks, many of which are illegally exceeding existing truck weight limits. To control the number of illegal overweight trucks, many states have installed fixed truck weighing stations on main highways and have deployed specially trained state police units that perform random roadside inspections to verify the safe operation of trucks and their compliance with the applicable legal weight limits. However, a preliminary study of police roadside inspections shows no correlation between the regions of high enforcement operations and those where overweight trucks are most frequent. Such random deployment of enforcement teams reduces the efficiency of the effort at a time when resources for such activities are in short supply. To help optimize the efficiency of the enforcement process, this paper investigates the possibility of developing a tool that utilizes available weigh-in-motion (WIM) data to plan truck traffic enforcement operations in a manner that minimizes the number of illegal overweight vehicles around a state. The proposed approach is consistent with the concept well known to sociologists and criminologists as the broken windows principle. The principle has been extensively used in many large U.S. cities to help reduce the level of crime. The implementation of the proposed methodology is demonstrated using a large truck database collected in New York State. The examples provided in this paper demonstrate that the implementation of the proposed approach will help reduce the numbers of illegal overweight trucks, which can result in a reduction of New York State’s expenditures on pavement and bridge repair and maintenance by an amount ranging from $16.0 to $53.2 million per year excluding the amount collected as fines.


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  • Accession Number: 01600472
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, ASCE
  • Created Date: May 17 2016 3:07PM