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Intelligent Route Guidance of Heavy Vehicles

Final Report Summary - HEAVYROUTE (Intelligent Route Guidance of Heavy Vehicles)

The aim of the HEAVY ROUTE project was to develop a first prototype of an advanced route guidance and driver support system for heavy good vehicles (HGVs), based on the improvement in the generation and usage of digital maps, as a tool for deriving the safest and the most cost effective routes for road freight transports. As this includes reducing fuel consumption, it also implies a contribution to the reduction of green house gases.

The transport of goods between EU Member States is set to increase by 50 % between 2000 and 2020 (Europa, 2007). Road transport - which already conveys more than 70 % of goods on land - can be expected to take the main part of this expansion. The increase of HGVs on the European road network will obviously have consequences for safety and congestion as well as for the environment. In addition, increasing gross weights and changing load configurations of HGVs are causing accelerated damage of bridges and pavements. Consequently, traffic management problems to maintain safety as well as to reduce congestion and the damage to the infrastructure can be foreseen from the viewpoint of road operators.

The activities in HEAVYROUTE were focused on the following objectives:
- system conception and user requirements;
- assessment of state-of the-art in fleet management and HGV guidance systems / services;
- identifying stakeholder and user requirements on an advanced HGV management and route guidance system;
- identifying factors that influence the 'route optimisation';
- deriving a system architecture concept.
- databases and vehicle / infrastructure interaction models;
- inventory of available static, periodic and dynamic road, bridge and traffic data in national databases;
- inventory of available effect models for deriving the 'optimum' route and reducing impacts on the infrastructures;
- route guidance and driving support;
- design and development of innovative route guidance and driver support applications for HGVs based on database contents and effect models;
- traffic simulation and effects of management strategies;
- traffic simulation and assessment of possible effects and future scenarios from traffic management solutions implemented on European scale using route guidance solutions, particularly taking into account critical sections (bridges, ferries, tunnels, cities);
- simulation of traffic flows due to different management strategies using economical incentives (price differentiation, etc) and legislative means;
- dissemination and clustering of results

Effective communication of the objectives and results of the project to road authorities and fleet operators. Road authorities will need to be convinced of the benefits to them - the business case - of providing their data (and where necessary collecting new data) that is needed for the mapping functions.

Three main applications were developed based on vehicle / infrastructure interaction models together with detailed data on the vehicle itself, the infrastructure and the traffic. They were:
- pre-trip route planning;
- navigation and dynamic on-trip route guidance;
- monitoring and management of HGVs at bridges.

The pre-trip route planning was done in two steps. The first step was to derive allowable (accessible) routes based on the characteristics of the specific HGV and considering preferred networks for HGVs. This required that all relevant truck attributes are integrated in the digital map. The second step was then to derive recommended routes considering the effects on fuel consumption, safety, environment (noise and emissions), road deterioration, etc or rather the associated marginal costs that were established. An important part of the project was to identify and adapt the effect models that would be used to calculate the recommended routes as well as identifying the data needed as input to the models. One of the observations from these policy scenarios is the unique level of details in the HEAVYROUTE system. A conclusion from a developed HEAVYROUTE system is that it can be used to monitor a change from general regulations to specific regulation.

It was seen that the states are well estimated and the speed is sent to the driver in real time. However, some false alarms occurred during the tests. To have better result and reduce false alarms it is recommended to add some sensors such us accelerometers to measure the vertical acceleration of the wheels, LVDT sensors to measure the suspension deflection etc.

Field test were carried out in Austria in order to validate the method for calculating dynamic effects of rolling HGV's over the bridges. The comparison between measured and calculated results showed that the dynamic amplification is lower than predicted. Nevertheless, the influence of dynamic amplification on fatigue lifetime is not to be neglected. It was shown, that even at low levels of dynamic amplification, the estimated fatigue lifetime reduction is considerable. For example, a 5 % dynamic amplification produces 16 % of reduction in fatigue lifetime.

The data analysis showed that some of the drivers did not respect the inter-vehicular time of 2 seconds (between 2 light vehicles) and the 50 m between heavy trucks imposed by highway code. A significant number of drivers changed their driving behaviour in the presence of the panels of 'gap 70 m'. The installation of traffic management and control system to regulate speeds and inter-distances need the deployment of high technology information services. The lawful framework must be simplified in order to be more comprehensible and thus better applied and controlled and supporting the emergence of automated solutions. The co-operation with foreign (European) administrations must be reinforced.

In the micro simulation of the bridge management application it was clear that a general simple advice or even regulation to reduce the speed does not lead to a change in the headway distribution. It is obvious that the distances between vehicles changes due to the speed; however, these distances change relatively. The aim to break up platoons cannot be fulfilled by such an advice. This result, that a speed limit is unsuitable for bridge management if platoons are to be re-arranged, is important for the implementation in reality. Such a system could rather easily be put into practice by available technical solutions like WIM and VMS. However, the micro-simulations indicated this solution as not appropriate. Only with a more advanced system that is able to address individual vehicles, like a cooperative V2X implementation, could such an approach be feasible.

The HEAVYROUTE project has been disseminated using different tools and at various international conferences and workshops.