Date of this Version



Civil Engineering


Ground freight transportation is essential for the economy of any region. The efficient movement of goods from one location to another connects businesses with suppliers and customers, that enhances commerce and ultimately boosts the economy. The high volume of freight that has been transported on the nation’s highway network has allowed the trucking industry to provide enormous socio-economic benefits. Unfortunately, these benefits come with some costs associated with the operation of overweight (OW) trucks, such as accelerated deterioration of highway pavement and bridge assets, and passenger and freight traffic safety degradation. Thus, to manage safety risk, traffic mobility, and infrastructure deterioration on the highway network, state agencies have established weight restrictions and permit policies to regulate the operation of OW trucks in their jurisdictions. However, the task of finding a balance between an adequate recovery of highway asset repair expenditures and reasonable OW permitting policies that do not impair the propitious economic environment of trucking operations in the state is challenging. Consequently, to make informed decisions, highway agencies are in need of knowledge regarding the potential effects of changes in these policies in terms of infrastructure damage, revenues collection, traffic operation, and road user costs. To address the various costs and benefits associated with the operation of OW truck operations, this study proposed a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) framework to enable prioritization of the wide range of criteria involved in changes in policies related to trucking operations. A major feature of this framework is its ability to allow the simultaneous consideration of different standpoints such as economic, public, and private sector that can assist agencies achieve more balance, rational, and defensible decisions. The proposed MCDA framework incorporates some of the most relevant performance criteria used in the evaluation of OW permitting policies including infrastructure damage, safety, traffic mobility, OW permitting revenues, vehicle operation costs for trucks and shipping inventory cost. Lastly, the proposed framework was applied to I-70, a highway corridor with some of the highest OW truck traffic in the state of Indiana, to demonstrate its implementation.