CO2 emission impacts of introducing heavier and longer trucks in the Swedish transport system

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceeding


In recent years the possibility to increase maximum length and weight of heavy goods vehicles to allow for High Capacity Vehicles (HCVs) has been debated in Sweden. Proposals to increase maximum weight to 74 tonnes, and length to 34m have caused controversy. Key arguments among proponents are that HCVs will bring about benefits, such as: increasing energy efficiency and decreasing CO 2 emissions, decreasing transport costs for transport buyers and thus increasing competitiveness of the Swedish industry and trade. Key arguments among the opponents are that the weight and length reform will erode the competitiveness of the railway sector, incite a modal shift from rail and coastal shipping to HCVs and thus in the long run lead to increases in CO 2 emissions. The purpose of this paper is to increase the body of knowledge on the impacts of HCVs on CO 2 .emissions. The aim is to develop policy recommendations concerning how HCVs could be introduced in a way that CO 2 emissions do not increase. We apply a systems analysis approach, which combines quantitative scenario-based modelling studies with qualitative methodologies including interviews and expert focus groups. The results show that an introduction of HCVs has the potential to support both the competitiveness of Swedish industry and to reduce transport sector CO 2 emissions. However, the CO 2 reduction potential of HCVs is limited by modal shift from rail and maritime transport and induced road transport demand. The magnitude of emission reductions vary considerably depending on combination of scenario and implementation strategy, but allowing for both longer and heavier vehicles will reduce emissions more than just allowing for heavier vehicles. To counteract potentially negative environmental impacts of HCVs, an introduction could be made in combination with other measures. These complementary measures need to be well-designed to balance the benefits in environmental protection and economic growth.


External organisations
  • Trivector
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Civil Engineering


  • Modal shift, CO2 emissions, High Capacity Vehicles, Freight transport
Original languageSwedish
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul 15
Publication categoryResearch
Eventthe 14th World Conference on Transport Research, Shanghai, 10 – 15 July 2016 -
Duration: 2016 Jul 102016 Jul 15


Conferencethe 14th World Conference on Transport Research, Shanghai, 10 – 15 July 2016