Is now the time for Longer/Heavier Vehicles (LHVs) to be trialled on Ireland’s roads and play a role in the Government’s commitment to decarbonise road transport and improve air quality? John Loughran looks at advantages and disadvantages of longer/heavier vehicles in the haulage industry and for the environment.
The advantages and disadvantages of longer and heavier vehicles depend on a variety of factors, including the type of cargo being transported, the infrastructure in place, and the regulatory framework governing transportation.
While there are potential benefits to increasing the size and weight of vehicles in the haulage industry, careful consideration must be given to the potential impacts on safety, infrastructure, and the environment.
- Increased payload capacity: Longer and heavier vehicles can carry more goods and materials, reducing the number of trips required to transport the same amount of cargo, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing transportation costs.
- Reduced emissions: With fewer trips required to transport the same amount of cargo, longer and heavier vehicles can help reduce emissions and fuel consumption per unit of freight moved.
- Reduced congestion: By reducing the number of trips required to move goods, longer and heavier vehicles can help reduce congestion on roads, which can improve traffic flow and reduce travel times.
- Safety concerns: Longer and heavier vehicles are more difficult to maneuver and can pose a greater risk to other drivers on the road, particularly in urban areas with narrow streets and tight turns.
- Road damage: Heavier vehicles can cause more wear and tear on roads, leading to increased maintenance costs for infrastructure.
- Environmental impact: While longer and heavier vehicles can reduce emissions per unit of freight moved, they also require more fuel to operate, resulting in increased overall emissions and a greater impact on the environment.