Berlin, December 15 2016. In comments on the Federal Highway Research Institute’s long-awaited final report on allowing the unrestricted use of longer vehicles, the German Pro-Rail Alliance has commented that the conclusions are “sobering”. “The trials of the so-called Gigaliners ends in two weeks and Germany has had to wait until now to see the final conclusions. Whoever now reads the report at the eleventh hour will be severely disappointed. It’s no wonder that federal transport minister Dobrindt would have rather left the report in a drawer somewhere,” said Dirk Flege, managing director of the Pro-Rail Alliance, on Thursday in Berlin. Flege said it was positive that the report had at least made a clear reference to the expected price dumping in the HGV transport sector. “The Highway Research Institute confirmed that allowing mega trucks would make road freight transport 26 percent cheaper. In contrast, the issue of how much freight would as a consequence be shifted from the railways to the roads was not addressed in the report. However, although academic research, and practical experience in Sweden, have already provided the answers, the Highway Research Institute’s report on the Gigaliner trials does not even mention them in its list of references. Such a report can hardly be used as a basis for making intelligent transport policy.”
The Pro-Rail Alliance also argues that the trials do not allow reliable conclusions to be drawn about impact on the environment. “After looking at less than one in a thousand HGV journeys that were subjected to road tolls, the Highway Research Institute has certified that Gigaliners have a positive impact on the climate. This sample is not only ridiculously small, it is also completely irrelevant, which is worse. It does not consider the market shares of the three main modes of transport: inland waterways, HGVs and freight trains. It says even less about how these market shares will develop when faced with cheaper road freight.”
Above all, the Pro-Rail Alliance criticised the official conclusions that were based on very little data. “The final report, which was initially suppressed and has now been released on the quiet, shows just how inconclusive the trials were. The report lists 59 road haulage companies that registered 158 longer vehicles over the trials‘ five-year period. However, the Highway Research Institute did not even know how many of these vehicles were actually used. This has absolutely nothing to do with serious academic research,“ criticised Flege.
In the final days of the five-year trials of longer heavy goods vehicles on designated routes, the Pro-Rail Alliance verdict on the whole concept of longer vehicles is a clear rejection:
Additional information (German)