The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has released the findings of its analysis on the potential energy and emissions impacts of expanding the federal gross vehicle weight (GVW) exemption to additional portions of Maine’s Interstate system. As part of TEA-21, the Maine Turnpike and a portion of I-95 in Kittery were provided an exemption from the federal weight limit.
Using simulation modeling, the analysis found that traveling a slightly longer route with higher average speeds resulted in less fuel consumed and fewer emissions than traveling on a route with lower average speeds, numerous speed limit changes, and traffic signals.
In comparing the operation of a vehicle with a GVW of 100,000 pounds over two different routes—an Interstate route versus a state highway route—trip-specific fuel efficiency improvements, measured in miles per gallon, of 14% to 21% were identified when traveling over the Interstate route. Trip-specific emissions were also estimated to decrease by 6% to 11% for carbon dioxide and 3% to 8% for particulate matter and NOx + NMHC over this route.
“This research quantifies how the mutual goals of resource conservation and emission reductions could be advanced by allowing Maine to apply state weight laws to its Interstate highways,” stated Mike Card, President, Combined Transport, Inc. and a member of ATRI’s Board of Directors.
A link to the full report, which was prepared for the Maine Department of Transportation, can be found in the Research Results section of ATRI’s website at www.atri-online.org.