SolarVoice

Trucks can achieve Efficient Transport by Learning from Trains

With diesel fuel costs skyrocketing from $4 to $10, transportation companies are looking into the concept of road trains. A road train consists of several trailers hauled by a single truck. This strategy of road transport has been used in Australia, the western United States and Canada for years. This is not a safe practice within cities, heavy traffic or on windy roads and mountain passes. In North America road trains cannot be longer than 100 feet in length and can only travel on roads with at least two lanes on each side of the highway. To create a road train of four or more trailers they would need to travel in lanes specifically dedicated to these trucks. 

Many trucking companies have gathered together to express their willingness to help fund such an undertaking in exchange for special taxes or tolls. Many of us are familiar with the new hybrid buses that are taking over many roadways around the world. The idea behind these buses is the ability to utilize both diesel and electric fuel sources for this transportation method. This technology has made it into the automotive industry in the way of gas/electric hybrids and now heavy weights in the diesel automotive world are working on diesel/electric hybrids. International Harvester has already debuted a mid-size diesel-electric truck. It's a short matter of time for semi-tractor trailers to follow suit. For a road train to work safely and effectively, they would need to arrive at their destination at a switching yard, much like a convention train would, and the trailers would need to be separated to contine on their journey. These trailers would be picked up by the local trucks for the merchandise to be delivered properly.

This system would need to be rolled out over a series of steps to ensure the safety and efficiency of the strategies success. As with many major transportation undertakings, this idea was actually utilized when the first railroads were build over a century ago by New Haven, Pennsylvania and New York Central Railroads. The companies spearheading this road train concept are merely referring to those technologies of the first railroads, only without the rails.

Once these trailers are able to make it toward running on electric power current and future drivers will want to utilize the EV and PHEV highway catenaries much more often.