Overloaded vehicles not only represent a serious threat to health and safety, they can also cause major damage to the road infrastructure, resulting in extremely costly repair bills. The EU-funded Top Trial project developed a rapid, accurate and simple-to-use technique that resulted in a high detection rate and could be used for enforcing legal regulations. Project partners included researchers, administrators and representatives of the road haulage industry from four Member States. The consortium conducted a trial of 'Weigh-in-motion' (WIM) technologies, which are designed to record a vehicle's gross and axle weight as it drives over the system. Conventional WIM systems have been limited to monitoring overloaded vehicles on motorway lanes, when the police have to escort suspect vehicles to slow moving or static weighbridges. The Top trial initiative is helping improve traffic safety and infrastructure protection having developed a highly accurate multi-sensor WIM system. Project partners set up a test site and conducted WIM trials using bending plate and crystal sensor technology to determine axle loads. A video camera records images of the overloaded vehicle. Data from the Top Trial project can help reduce the number of overloaded heavy goods vehicles thereby improving road safety and infrastructure. By ensuring that heavy goods vehicles are carrying the correct size of load, the Top trial project is also helping to protect fair competition in the freight transport market on Europe's motorways.
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14 January 2021