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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Public Roads - March/April 2011

March/April 2011
Issue No:
Vol. 74 No. 5
Publication Number:
Table of Contents

Training Update

Enforcing Freight Regulations

by Lilly Pinto

The freight industry is responsible for moving the items the Nation depends on every day -- food, clothing, household wares -- in a quick, reliable, and economical manner. In 2008, the U.S. transportation industry moved an average of 58.9 million tons (53.4 million metric tons) per day. The highway infrastructure on which the majority of these goods are moved represents a sizeable investment of Federal, State, and local funds. Federal commercial motor vehicle size and weight requirements help to manage highway assets by requiring that commercial vehicles operate at sizes and weights highways can support.

The National Highway Institute’s (NHI) Principles of Effective Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Size and Weight Enforcement (FHWA-NHI-139004) is designed to help transportation professionals who are responsible for enforcing size and weight regulations obtain necessary training. This course provides “continuity and uniformity of the enforcement of size and weight regulations by law enforcement, which can help shape industry expectations of goods movement,” says Tony Furst, director of the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Office of Freight Management and Operations. “No one likes surprises that can cause loss of time and money.”

Effective Enforcement Course

Federal commercial motor vehicle size and weight (VSW) regulations describe the length, width, and weight limitations of commercial vehicles operating on the Nation’s interstates and highways. The Principles of Effective CMV Size and Weight Enforcement course is a 2-day training designed to provide an advanced, indepth understanding of Federal commercial motor VSW regulations and how States oversee the regulations through enforcement programs.


Enforcing vehicle size and weight helps to protect the Nation’s roads and bridges. Shown here, a commercial truck carries freight across the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville, WV.


During the training, participants complete various exercises that help to demonstrate what should be included in a State commercial motor VSW enforcement plan and how to evaluate the plan. The exercises also address the critical relationship between size and weight enforcement and the condition of pavements and bridges.

The training is geared toward transportation professionals responsible for overseeing the asset management of highway infrastructure, the development and review of annual planning for VSW enforcement and Federal certification, and commercial motor VSW enforcement. Those who would benefit the most from the training include FHWA division office staff, employees from State and local transportation agencies with responsibility for overseeing commercial vehicle operations, personnel from State and local law enforcement agencies, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration field office personnel, trucking company managers, trucking association officials, law enforcement associations, and training staff from State transportation agencies.

According to Furst, “The training reinforces the idea that when Federal and State departments of transportation and enforcement agencies understand their roles and responsibilities, the agencies can work together with better efficiency to help preserve State assets.”

Additional Freight Course Scheduled in 2011

In addition to preserving infrastructure, transportation professionals are concerned about the environmental impact of freight transportation. To this end, NHI designed its Linking Freight to Planning and the Environment (FHWA-NHI-139005) course to inform participants of the impacts of freight transportation on the environment. In this 2-day course, transportation, environmental, and freight planners and engineers can learn to integrate environmental considerations more effectively into public sector freight planning and project development.

Course participants receive an overview of the transportation planning and programming process as it relates to freight’s impact on the environment, and then identify the transportation needs and deficiencies in their State or region. Participants then develop an improvement plan and project implementation process to address the needs.

Upon course completion, participants should be able to identify strategies that balance statewide, regional, and metropolitan freight mobility needs with community and environmental goals. NHI is holding sessions of the Linking Freight to Planning and the Environment course between April and June 2011 at its headquarters in Arlington, VA.

For more information on these and other courses related to freight management, please visit the NHI Web site at