Toll Roads Can Keep Trucks Moving and Reduce Emissions

New research finds encouraging trucks to use toll roads can have a positive impact on the environment.
Donna Fuscaldo
Toll station on a highway egon69/iStock

Drivers may bemoan coughing up money to drive down a road with a toll associated with it, but it turns out it could be beneficial to the environment, particularly if truck use these routes. 

That's according to researchers from Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University who created a method to determine how many stops trucks make on their way to transport and deliver goods. Cars are the main source of air pollution in Russia and around the globe. Its made worse when cars and trucks are forced to stop and go because of traffic lights, traffic jams and other obstructions on their route.  


Toll roads reduce stop and go of cars and trucks 

Enter toll roads. These are designed to make the government money but also to keep traffic flowing, reducing the amount of time a vehicle or truck slows down or is idle. Trucking companies focused on saving money, often choose regular routes, bypassing toll roads. But these roads often go through towns and settlements causing the drivers to have to slow down and stop often, which burns more fuel and harms the environment

To encourage more trucking companies to use the toll roads, the researchers created a method to calculate how many stops truck makes along their normal routes that include traffic lights and traffic jams. Their calculations concluded that using toll roads is not only more environmentally friendly but it can save the trucking companies money. Many of the companies don't realize or forget that toll roads reduce the amount of fuel consumption and the time it takes to transport the goods, canceling out the fees associated with toll roads. The research was published in the journal E3S Web of Conferences

Researchers keep their method easy 

"Using the new model, we studied certain advantages of toll roads that regular roads lack. The idea was to show transportation companies that tolls can be less that the costs they incur when using regular roads," said Nikita Lukashevish, an assistant professor at the Higher School of Management and Business, Institute of Industrial Management, Economy, and Trade SPbPU in a press release highlighting the research. 

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The researchers made sure the method they created was easy to use so that the trucking companies could adopt it. They used the Yandex.Traffic app, which provides information of the size of traffic jams and the speed vehicles are moving. The researchers said data from GLONASS and GPS systems is necessary to gain widespread adoption for their method.

"Transportation companies can help with it as many trucks have these systems installed on board. In the future the companies might be able to use this method in order to develop the most efficient routes," said Egor Temirgaliev, a senior lecturer of the Higher School of Management and Business, Institute of Industrial Management, Economy, and Trade SPbPU in the same press release.

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