Positive feedback on UK Longer Semi Trailer Trial

The UK Department of Transport has published an interim report on the 10-year ‘Longer Semi Trailer Trial’ it commenced in January 2012.

According to the report, some 90,000 truck journeys have been cut during the first four years of the trial, resulting in 10.6 million fewer kilometres travelled.

Total economic benefits are estimated at £33 million (€39 million) over the life of the scheme – equating to about £1,800 a trailer (€2,125) million.

“At the time of the launch, there were mixed views on the trial, with some vehemently opposed. However, [the] progress report shows that, so far, it’s been very successful,” said Nigel Base, Commercial Vehicle Manager at the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT).

“As we all know, commercial vehicles are a key part of the UK's economic infrastructure and this pilot scheme is helping operators deliver the day-to-day goods we need more efficiently.

“Interestingly, longer semi-trailers appear to be safer. The report shows they have been involved in around 70 per cent fewer collisions and casualties per kilometre in comparison to the average for standard vehicles.”

According to Base, the Department of Transport is now seeking views on extending the trial. “If it continues to be as successful as recently reported, the potential for its full rollout at the end of the 10-year period, should be considered.”

Background: The operational trial aims to see if using longer semi-trailers brings about anticipated environmental and economic benefits.

As part of it, a total of 1,800 longer semi-trailers have been allocated to approximately 160 operators across the UK. It is anticipated that the 10-year trial will save 3,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

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