Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Research & Innovation

Truck Size and Weight Impacts on Vehicle Miles Traveled

Need Statement 711


Minnesota has a goal of reducing VMT by 20% per capita by 2050. MnDOT has identified several tools to support achieving this goal. VMT reduction tools have not been identified for freight. Would increasing truck size/weight regulations have a positive impact by reducing freight VMT? How much freight VMT would be reduced by increasing load limits by 10, 15 or 20%? What are the considerations in discussing load limits that would be important to consider?


The objective of this research is to determine:

  • How would increasing truck size/weight impact freight VMT and ultimately reduce carbon from the transportation section? 
  • What are the incremental potential changes?
  • What are the issues surrounding each incremental change?
  • If truck size/weight were increased, how would the changes affect life cycle costs for pavements and bridges including preventative maintenance on a system basis.

Previous research


MnDOT Strategic priorities

  • Innovation & Future Needs:  Reducing VMT is an aspirational goal of MnDOT.  Need tools to impact this goal
  • Asset Management:  Changes in load limits may impact life cycle of pavements and bridges.
  • Safety: This should also consider safety as truck size/weight always has a safety impact.
  • Climate Change & Environment: Reducing VMT is a goal to positively impact climate change.

Expected outcomes

  • New or improved policy, rules, or regulations
  • New or improved business practices, procedure, or process
  • New or improved decision support tool, simulation, or model/algorithm (software)

Expected benefits

  • Environmental Aspects/Other environmental impact. Decrease freight VMT by allowing greater load limits would have a reduction in carbon benefit. Impact climate change
  • Reduce Road User Cost: Reduce  congestion

Technical advisory panel

  • Kristina Heggedal – MnDOT office of Sustainability and Public Health
  • Tim Anderson, Materials
  • Yihong Gao, Bridge Office
  • Deb DeLucca, Duluth Seaway Port Authority
  • Jon Huseby, D8 District Engineer
  • Other Freight Advisory Committee Members
  • Others TBD