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Investigating the Impacts of Truck Platooning on Transportation Infrastructure in the South Central Region

  • 19PITSLSU14

  • $365,894

  • POP: 18 mths

  • Aug. 2019 - Feb. 2021

  • Role: PI

  • Dates Involved: Aug. 2019 - Dec. 2019

  • Duties: Project Conception; Competitive Proposal; Project Management; Lead Investigator; Technical Contributor



Freight and the efficient movement of freight is a critical component to the economy of the southern U.S. One connected and automated vehicle (CAV) application of particular interest to the freight industry is truck platooning. Truck platooning describes a number of trucks equipped with CAV technology that closely follow one another in a "platoon". Benefits of truck platooning include energy savings from aerodynamic drag reduction, reduced highway congestion due to short following distances, and safety improvements from faster reaction times and automated support systems. However, the short following distances maintained between vehicles and more precise lane-keeping lead to a higher concentration of load being placed on the transportation infrastructure. It is unclear how these greater weight concentrations and new load configurations will impact the deterioration/damage to pavements. Addressing this uncertainty is critical, especially considering the current state of sever financial constraints in which not all state-owned infrastructure can be maintained.

Average daily long haul freight truck traffic in 2012 (left) and forecasted in 2045 (right)

Vertical stress distribution across pavement thickness. Vertical stress in asphalt layer for a 5 mph moving tire at 2.75 (top plot), 3 sec (center plot), and 3.75 sec (bottom plot). Example analysis. 


The main objectives of this study are: (1) through a series of modeling case studies located in the South Central region, the operational and environmental (fuel savings/emissions) impacts of various truck platooning implementations, configurations, and assumptions will be quantified at both the corridor- and network-level, (2) impacts to the structural pavement resulting from these truck platooning implementations will be investigated and quantified using finite element modeling (FEM), and (3) a feasibility study for implementation will be performed comparing the (potential) operational and environmental (fuel savings/emissions) benefits of truck platooning with the (potential) costs associated with increased pavement loads. This will also be compared with an equivalent “base case” with human-driven trucks.   

Example of related corridor-level analysis and research approach. Impact of market penetration on adaptive cruise control (ACC) driver model's fundamental diagram.


  1. Stakeholder Engagement

  2. Literature Review

  3. Operational and Environmental Analysis at the Corridor -Level

  4. Operational and Environmental Analysis at the Network-Level​

  5. Pavement Analysis

  6. Feasibility Study and Final Recommendations

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