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Intelligent Route Guidance for Heavy Vehicles

The objective of HeavyRoute is to develop an advanced route guidance system for deriving the safest and most cost-effective routes for road freight transport throughout Europe. The system will take into account road user needs, vehicle operating and environmental costs, but also maintenance costs due to the deterioration of roads and bridges.

Tags: Road


The increasing volume of freight transport, together with the increasing gross weights and the changing load configurations of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), has led to accelerated damage to bridges and pavement fatigue, as well as creating major traffic management problems to maintain safety and reduce congestion. For truck operators, there are the combined challenges of reducing ever-increasing fuel costs, maximising efficiency and profitability whilst maintaining safety.

In 2000, the total volume of road transport in the EU-25 was 1 482 billion tonne-kilometres and this is predicted to grow to more than 3 133 billion tonne-kilometres by 2030 (DG Transport and Energy - Trends to 2030). This will have asignificant influence on congestion and damage to the road infrastructure over that period. In addition, freight distribution is predicted to outpace passenger cars as the largest source of CO2 from transport over the period. Also the fatality risks when trucks are involved in an accident are significantly higher than those compared with passenger cars and other vehicles.

Clearly the growth in the volume of trucks, coupled with the increasing size and weight of trucks on the network, will create special problems. Finding the means to reduce the costs associated with the increasing traffic volumes is therefore a major challenge for the road research community, as well as the road authorities and operators.


The overall objectives are to improve road safety and capacity while reducing the negative impacts on the environment and the road and bridge maintenance costs (by reducing the rate of deterioration caused by heavy traffic). The route guidance system aimed for in this project will be built on available and implemented systems, and technologies such as fleet management and logistics systems, guidance/rerouting systems, traffic monitoring and management systems, dynamic map updating and various ITS solutions. The following needs, focusing on different stakeholder and user requirements, will be addressed in HeavyRoute when developing the HGV management and route guidance system:

  • Different routing solutions will be developed taking into account HGV constraints of the infrastructure (bridges, tunnels, roads, environmental zones, etc.), deriving ‘allowable’ routes and thereafter deriving ‘recommended’ routes based on arguments addressing the road safety, energy, environment, infrastructure costs and tolling.
  • An onboard system will support the driver during the journey with relevant local information such as speed limits and overtaking restrictions, as well as relevant changes, i.e. dynamic data on traffic flow, road and bridge conditions, etc. The system will also provide real-time driver warnings and recommended driving to maintain or improve vehicle safety, using vehicle and infrastructure data.
  • Real-time data on road, load and journey will be transferred from the onboard system for road, bridge and traffic management.

Description of work

The activities in HeavyRoute will be 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 a European scale using route guidance solutions, particularly taking into account critical sections
  • simulation of traffic flows due to different management strategies using economical incentives 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 (or collecting new data) which will be needed for the mapping functions.
  • The project will lead towards proposals for a full-scale pilot of the system functionality leading to widespread implementation.


The prototypical HGV guidance applications developed in HeavyRoute, together with the simulation results, will be used to exploit technology and expertise in three directions:

  • to provide an improved guidance application for the transport industry and to link these guidance approaches with fleet management, trip planning and navigation solutions. The main focus when developing the advanced heavy vehicle route guidance system is to be able to derive the fastest, safest and most efficient routes for HGV transport
  • to integrate HVG routing strategies in traffic management centres and guidance service providers
  • to enrich the map provision and EServer solutions by integrating HGV specific attributes in future releases.