As vehicle weights increase, the impact on pavement and bridge conditions increases exponentially. One 36-tonne truck can cause as much pavement damage as 9,600 cars. A new multi-party pilot program in Indiana will use tolling technology to enhance the state’s efforts to preserve road and bridge conditions, improve motorist safety, and, if necessary, make legislative changes.
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), Indiana Department of Revenue (INDOR), Indiana State Police, Purdue University, and Kapsch TrafficCom, have announced the start of a pilot program to study a technology-driven approach to overweight vehicle and credential enforcement, which holds the potential to extend highway pavement life, to capture fees now being evaded, to increase truck compliance, and to enhance road safety. Under the pilot program, INDOT will use Kapsch’s commercial enforcement platform to identify, weigh and assess the legal compliance of all trucks in real time and at highway speeds, 24 hours per day. The project will gather information about overweight commercial vehicles traveling Indiana’s highways, providing specific data for INDOT to recommend legislative changes to modernize the state’s overweight vehicle enforcement program.
The system that Indiana is testing combines high-speed cameras with sophisticated in-pavement scales to identify and weigh all trucks as they travel, eliminating the need for trucks to slow down and pass through a weigh station. The system, when combined with compliance information from federal and state databases, provides a near real-time compliance assessment report to assist enforcement officers in targeting potential violators or, if proven accurate, generate citations for some violations.
The Kapsch technology to be used in the pilot is similar to what is used for open road tolling systems, such as the RiverLink system planned for the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges. Weigh-in-motion sensors (WIMS) will be embedded in the pavement along I-94 in northwest Indiana, allowing INDOT to measure the gross vehicle weight and axle weight of vehicles moving at highway speeds. The agency will use camera technology in tandem with WIM sensors to create virtual weigh stations. License plate images will be captured from potentially overweight vehicles, and drivers deemed to have disregarded the conditions of their permit would be sent a violation.
The Joint Transportation Research Program at Purdue University will review the results of the pilot program to validate the accuracy of the sensors and provide third-party verified results to recommend possible future legislative changes to the state’s enforcement program. The state recognizes that modernized enforcement of vehicle weight limits ensures a competitive playing field for businesses that desire to follow Indiana’s permit rules for overweight and oversize vehicles.
“As the volume of trucks on the state’s highways continues to increase, Indiana is leading the way in developing a 21st-century approach to compliance,” said INDOT commissioner Brandye Hendrickson. “This pilot program will give us valuable insights to develop a modern approach to enforcement that extends pavement life and enhances safety.”