The PITKÄ (LONG) sign has become a familiar sight for all Finnish road users during the last year. The largest number of HCT trucks travel on road 4 at Mäntsälä, where trucks over 30 metres long travel in both directions on weekdays, over 50 trucks per day in both directions. There are more than 300 trucks over 30 metres long in traffic in Finland.
"Before long trucks became common, there was a great deal of concern about how they affect traffic safety. Based on our experiences from the first year, I can say that the safety requirements for long trucks have been effective and traffic safety has not declined. For example, intersections may be challenging for HCT trucks, but cooperation has solved every situation without serious problems,” says Otto Lahti, Chief Adviser at the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom.
The Finnish road network is mainly suitable for long trucks, even though there are some regional road intersections that cannot be cleared by trucks over 30 metres. The significance of long trucks is greatest on longest transport distances, for example from the Helsinki Metropolitan Area to Ostrobothnia, Kainuu and northernmost Finland.
"Especially on long distances, HCT trucks reduce transport costs because three long trucks replace four conventional trucks. In addition to cost savings and climate benefits, traffic safety can also be improved when you need fewer trucks for carrying the same load,” explains Tuomas Toivonen, Head of the Maintenance Management and Development Unit at the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency FTIA.
International interest in HCT trucks
Increasing the length of trucks has been found to be one of the most significant ways of reducing CO2 emissions from road freight transport. For this reason, Finland's experiences with HCT trucks and the related legislation have garnered the interest of authorities and businesses all over Europe. "For example, Traficom and FTIA currently have authorities visiting from Sweden and the Netherlands who have great confidence in the possibilities of long trucks," says Lahti.
"The greatest challenge for road freight transport in Europe in this decade will be reducing fossil (CO2) emissions and reducing energy consumption. These challenges are so massive that all methods must be used to achieve our goals. Thanks to HCT trucks, goods such as food loads are transported in Finland with emissions that are up to a third less than in Central Europe,” says Lahti.
Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom: Otto Lahti, Chief Adviser, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358 29 534 5259. On Twitter @otto_lahti. Blog: Pitkät HCT-rekat yleistyvät (Long HCT trucks are becoming more common)
FTIA: Tuomas Toivonen, Head of the Maintenance Management and Development Unit, email@example.com, tel. +358 29 534 3618