Longer semi-trailers have proved significant benefits says DfT

A report into the first two years of the longer semi-trailer, conducted on behalf of the Department for Transport, has said that it has reduced vehicle kms, lowered carbon emissions and shown a higher standard of operating safety than the wider articulated fleet in the UK.

It has taken two years to get 613 LSTs into live operation under  vehicle special orders (VSOs), with approximately 100 comprising of the 14.6m variant, and the remainder the 15.65m variant. The planned total allocation is 1,800 LSTs.
To date 76 operators have put an LST into operation but a total of 130 operators have provided evidence to the DfT of an order being placed to a manufacturer under a VSO.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport Stephen Hammond said: “Freight operators help to keep the wheels of our economy well-oiled so we are determined to do all we can to support UK trade and industry in transporting the day-to-day goods we need.”

The report, compiled by Risk Solutions, states that an estimated 608,127 net vehicle kms have been saved by operators using LSTs in the past two years. And while the study does not collect direct environmental impact data it estimates, using the same methodology to collect vehicles kms and assuming Euro-5 emission standards, that the trial is expected to save over 3,000 tonnes of CO2 over its 10 year duration.

Hammond added: “Longer semi-trailers enable freight companies to transport more goods, more efficiently so could have significant economic and environmental benefits – it is great news that these longer lorries are now delivering real results in fewer journeys and it is encouraging that there have been involved in fewer incidents than standard lorries.”

Since the trial began there have been no fatal accidents involving LSTs. One serious injuries have been reported, but neither incident have recorded the LST as a contributing factor, while five slight incidents have been recorded, two of which were directly attributable to the LST. In a like-for-like comparison with traditional articulated trailers of 12.6m the risk of injury or collision is significantly lower for vehicles pulling LSTs.

* You can read the full report on the DfT website, or buy Commercial Motor next week for a more detailed analysis.