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Longer and heavier road freight vehicles in Sweden: Effects on tonne- and vehicle-kilometres, CO2 and socio-economics

Henrik Pålsson (Department of Design Sciences, Division of Packaging Logistics, Lund University, Lund, Sweden)
Lena Winslott Hiselius (Department of Technology and Society, Lund University, Lund, Sweden)
Sten Wandel (Department of Industrial Management and Logistics, Lund University, Lund, Sweden)
Jamil Khan (Department of Environmental and Energy and Systems Studies, Lund University, Lund, Sweden)
Emeli Adell (Trivector Traffic, Lund, Sweden)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 7 August 2017



The Swedish government is likely to implement longer and heavier road freight vehicles, so-called high-capacity vehicles (HCVs), in the near future. The purpose of this paper is to analysis the expected effects on the whole transport system regarding tonne-kilometres, vehicle-kilometres on road, CO2 and socio-economics with three possible implementation strategies (HCVs on all roads, a designated road network and a designated road network with a kilometre-based truck charge) and two vehicle types (74 t/25.25 m and 74 t/34 m).


Calculations are based on two well-established scenarios for transport development in Sweden. Changes per tonne-kilometre are modelled for ten product groups with considerations taken to their transport networks. Socio-economic effects are analysed using the net present value rating method over a 40-year period.


The study shows the increase in demand for transport and the modal shift, from rail and sea to road, in terms of tonne-kilometres, vehicle-kilometres and CO2 emissions for three implementation strategies of HCVs in two scenarios. All implementation strategies show a positive social net-benefit with the introduction of HCVs.

Research limitations/implications

The results reveal potential benefits to the implementation of HCVs. The results are limited by possible over/under-estimations of effects considered in the calculations, due to uncertainties and assumptions.

Practical implications

The results highlight expected levels of modal shift and induced transport for different HCV implementation strategies and how they depend on transport and climate policies and the expected growth of tonne-kilometres.


The calculations consider socio-economic effects, particularly from increased CO2 emissions due to modal shift and induced traffic, which is lacking in previous studies. To balance conflicting economic and environmental goals, the findings indicate that the implementation of HCVs could be accompanied by other policy measures. The findings are based on the Swedish context, but the model can be adapted to other countries or regions and to study other freight transport reforms.



The authors would like to thank the Swedish Transport Administration for valuable input, the Swedish Association of Road Transport Companies for access to their tools, and VINNOVA for funding.


Pålsson, H., Winslott Hiselius, L., Wandel, S., Khan, J. and Adell, E. (2017), "Longer and heavier road freight vehicles in Sweden: Effects on tonne- and vehicle-kilometres, CO2 and socio-economics", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 47 No. 7, pp. 603-622.



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