the use of heavy freight vehicles makes a significant contribution to our modern way of life but whilst decreasing the unit costs of transport, the operation of larger and heavier vehicles has other effects. some of these are economic and some are social; many of them are disbeneficial, and their magnitude and distribution within the community vary considerably. because this is so, society is concerned that the use of such vehicles should be controlled to take advantage of the benefits without incurring disproportionate disbenefits. so that sound decisions can be made to achieve an appropriate balance it is necessary to investigate in detail the nature, magnitude and distribution of all the relevant effects and to present the resulting analysis in the most objective and comprehensive manner possible. this paper is intended to be a contribution to the development of that process. such an analysis comprises several stages: these are basically (i) identification of the whole range of effects, (ii) understanding the characteristics of each effect, (iii) development of a method for describing the distribution of the impacts, (iv) quantification of relationships and distributional evaluation in cost/benefit terms. attention is focused mainly on the first three stages, many individual aspects of which are dealt with in other papers to this conference, and the fourth is specifically excluded.(a)

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