Double trailer trucking lowers emissions
The study, which took two years to complete, was undertaken as part of a Memorandum of Understanding between the CTA and NRCan to reduce climate change emissions from trucks.
The research involved the collection of live data from ten fleets from western Canada and Quebec that operate turnpike doubles and single trailers. The study was conducted by third party consulting firms and overseen by a steering committee that included representatives from Climate Change Central, the Centre for Sustainable Transportation, Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation, Transport Canada and the Canada Safety Council.
The study was the first to use live operational data from fleets operating turnpike doubles to calculate the environmental and safety benefits of these configurations.
According to the CTA, the data are “staggering” from both a safety and environmental perspective:
- Turnpike doubles are about two to three times safer than the overall tractor-trailer population travelling Ontario’s multi-lane highways when measured on a per-vehicle-kilometre-of travel basis.
- Turnpike doubles are estimated to save on average of 28.8 litres of diesel per 100 km of truck travel when compared to single-trailer configurations moving the same volume of freight - a 55 percent saving.
- Turnpike doubles could reduce the number of trucks on the road by between 6 and 10 percent.
Overall, the study estimated that 900 million kilometres of truck travel would be saved annually by an expansion of the turnpike double network, resulting in a reduction of 260 million litres of fuel and 730 kilotonnes of greenhouse gases per year.
“These trucks have been operating for a long period of time in Western Canada, Quebec and 17 US states without any safety issues. The data now shows that the safety performance of these vehicles is stellar and that those provinces utilizing these truck configurations are reaping huge climate change rewards,” said CTA CEO David Bradley.
According to the study, the big winners of an expanded turnpike double network would be Ontario, followed by Quebec and the Maritimes. It is estimated that for freight movements in Ontario, the annual savings would be 54 million litres of fuel and 151 kilotonnes of greenhouse gases. The creation of a turnpike double system from the Maritimes to Ontario would create an annual fuel savings of 106 million litres of fuel and 297 kilotonnes of greenhouse gases.
“Trucks are now running on clean fuel and near zero emission engines; they are increasingly using speed reduction and aerodynamic technologies to reduce fuel consumption,” added David Bradley.
Last year, the CTA released a 14-point action plan to ‘drastically reduce smog and greenhouse gas emissions in the freight transportation sector’. Recommendations include government incentives for the adoption of smog-reducing vehicles, and regulations for truck speed and equipment that will help cut overall emissions.