Driving Restrictions Heavy Goods Vehicles

Driving restrictions for heavy goods vehicles in the EU

This project investigated the extent to which heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) with a Gross Vehicle Weight of 3,5 tons or more are being confronted with in international road transport driving restrictions.

Legal entities (national, regional, and local governments) impose all kinds of driving restrictions on transiting HGVs. There are fixed-date driving restrictions as well as non-fixed date driving restrictions. Night, Sunday, or weekend restrictions are examples of fixed-date restrictions. Non-fixed date restrictions are linked to, for example, weather or traffic conditions. These restrictions hinder international road freight transport and make the planning procedures of transport operators more complex.

The first main result of this study is a clear and well-structured overview of driving restrictions that are hindering international freight transport by HGVs. A second result is the assessment of the direct and indirect effects of these restrictions on the European transport market.

The calculations show that the direct cost effects of fixed-date driving restrictions is limited. Several scenarios and case studies did show that, if a driving restriction was effective, the consequences of this restriction on the trip cost price is generally a rise of less than 5 percent. This limited effect is largely due to the smart trip planning in which driving restrictions were surpassed or incorporated in for instance mandatory rest periods. The more indirect (cost) effects of these types of driving restrictions are also limited. As the restriction can be foreseen, the transport company has ample time to make proper arrangements to compensate potential delays. In contrast to the fixed-date driving restrictions mentioned previously, the non-fixed date driving restrictions, for instance weather related, could have a very disturbing effect on the trip performance of transport companies. Although the direct cost price effect of this type of restrictions is very limited, calculations show a percentage of less than 2%, the cargo delivery might be delayed substantially. As this delay was not foreseen, the indirect costs could have been disproportionately high.

In cases when the communication (of the adaptation) of a driving restriction has been suboptimal, strong negative effects could be expected for the transport sector. The transport operators planning procedures could be severely disrupted with suboptimal planning schemes as a result. Examples showed that the adaptation was sometimes communicated solely in the native language.


The final report is available at the website of the European Commission: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/road/studies/doc/2010_12_driving_restrictions_for_heavy
goods_vehicles_in_the_european_union.pdf  or here: Final report HGV



funded by

European Commission, DG MOVE


Eef Delhaye


NEA (lead), TNO


Eef Delhaye

+32 16 74.51.22
reference: 08.16