The infrastructure in cities is falling apart under the weight of heavy vehicles. Cities, therefore, are putting more weight restrictions on urban freight. Monitoring, and enforcing these restrictions are not only a technical challenge for local authorities but also for transport companies that have to plan their trips taking into account the restrictions and the actual weight of the truck.
Weigh-in-motion systems (WIM) are designed for unobtrusive and continuous collection and monitoring of vehicle weight information. The range of collected data may vary from precise individual weight measurements for each heavy vehicle to aggregate vehicle weight profiles for selected road sections.
This research paper by Jacek Oskarbski and Daniel Kaszubowski from Polish Gdansk University presents how the Weigh-in-Motion system can be used for managing Gdynia’s freight traffic (Poland). Potential sites for weight pre-selection were identified in an analysis of the technical and location conditions. Situated directly in the east part of the Port of Gdynia a site was selected for a pilot implementation.
Theoretical scenarios were simulated using an extended WIM system as a tool for controlling access to selected parts of the city. The results suggest that emissions can be reduced and traffic flows can be improved.
These scenarios, however, are very general in character and should only be seen as an introduction into further and more detailed analyses to give a fuller understanding of the problem and the objectives of urban transport policy. In the researcher’s opinion, this work must be complemented with a verification of how the WIM can be introduced in Gdynia in formal and organizational terms. This should build on the experience from the CIVITAS Dyn@mo project.
WIM systems can offer an effective tool for access control of not just overloaded vehicles but also other vehicles depending on their weight. If access is to be restricted, an in-depth analysis is needed to ensure that the original goals are met. A hasty change may deteriorate traffic. Such analyses can be aided with transport system models that compare different scenarios of change and how they affect traffic and the environment.
If WIM systems are to be used effectively, the legislation must be revised to allow road authorities an municipal enforcement officers to extend their checks. It is also important to allow the Inspectorate of Road Transport to do more.
The revised law should allow penalties without vehicles having to go from a WIM station to a stationary weighing station. It should also be legal to use the WIM system for controlling vehicle access.