In recent years the UK Department for Transport (DfT) has been considering their policy towards the permitted masses and dimensions of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). The masses and dimensions that can be permitted for goods vehicles within national traffic are partially constrained by European Directive 96/53/EC and previous studies of the likely effects of changes have been based on the presumption that the UK would work within the existing EU legislation. However, the European Commission has also been reviewing it’s policy on the control of goods vehicle weights and dimensions and has commissioned several studies. The most recent study is still ongoing but has reported (Knight et al, 2010a) that the study will analyse the potential effects of permitting heavier 44 tonne articulated vehicles on 5 axles and longer articulated vehicles of up to 19.4m length as well as three different variants of the European Modular System (EMS). The main objective of the study reported here was to investigate the likely technical implications in the UK, if the EU Directive was amended to permit the first two changes listed above in terms of vehicle specifications, performance, safety, infrastructure and emissions.

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