ICT/IDOT Propose the First Oversize/Overweight Permit Fee Structure Incorporating Safety Cost Analysis

Published July 5, 2017

Trucking is the lifeblood of commerce for the State of Illinois. In order to ensure the infrastructure of the state can safely support the movement of goods and services, the state regulates oversized and overweight (OSOW) vehicles, such as semis and large trucks, using a fee-based permit system. This fee system had not been evaluated, to ensure fees correspond to the effects OSOW vehicles have on infrastructure, for several decades. IDOT recognized that this system needed to be reviewed and possibly revised. In support of this, Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT) researchers used a variety of state-of-the-art techniques to sort through data and model the impact of OSOW vehicles on bridges, roads, and safety, in order to develop a fair, justifiable fee structure. The findings for the project, “Development of a Proposed Overweight Vehicle Permit Fee Structure in Illinois,” are now available on ICT’s web site.

The principle investigators for this project were Imad Al-Qadi, director of ICT and professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UIUC; Yanfeng Ouyang, professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UIUC; Hao Wang, assistant professor at Rutgers in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; and Don Bell, engineer at TERRA Engineering. Dr. Al-Qadi, who called this project “timely and exciting” states, “I serve on the National Committee to evaluate the USDOT Truck Size and Weight Study and recognize the impact of overweight trucks on our transportation infrastructure. A fair fee can ensure the optimum service of our roads and bridges, which directly impacts the trucking industry. Driving on well-maintained roads reduces both fuel usage and wear and tear on tires and other truck parts.”

Flowchart of developed framework for bridge damage cost analysis

Overseeing the project’s Technical Review Panel was IDOT’s Justan Mann, Engineer of Construction Operations. As TRP Chair, Mann notes it is important to understand the financial impacts overweight vehicles have on the IDOT’s highway infrastructure.

Since parts of current fee structure had not been revised for more than 30 years, there were many challenges involved in the project. Some of the challenges arose out of the complexity of the system, the amount of available data, and the desire to incorporate safety impacts of OSOW vehicles. Before this project, Al-Qadi says, “there were no proper models that could relate the pavement and bridge service lives to overweight trucks quantitatively.”

The previous system relied only on bridge and pavement impacts of OSOW vehicles, and IDOT wished to also include safety data. As Al-Qadi states, “This was an exciting project. In addition to suggesting a quantitative and scientific-based fee formula for the use of roads and bridges in the state of Illinois, this is the first time that a fee related to safety has been incorporated.” In order to do this, the research team had to quantify the safety impacts of a variety of situations involving OSOW vehicles and use models to develop an estimation of the impact of an individual OSOW vehicle on traffic safety. This includes the monetary impact of accidents on both the infrastructure and the people involved according to Professor Yanfeng Ouyang, who led this part of the project.

The final step was to turn the model output into a fee recommendation. The final fee was taken to be a function of miles to be traveled, axel and weight information, and the accumulated fees from the model output. The final report details their findings and their recommendations to IDOT.

Flowchart of safety cost analysis

According to Mann, “The research team did an excellent job achieving the project’s goal of developing an equation that reflects the monetary impact OSOW loads have on highway infrastructure. IDOT’s next step is to compare fees calculated via this new equation with the existing fee structure through a large sampling of previous OSOW permits.”

Moving forward, Al-Qadi hopes to see this research lead to a mobile app that can help drivers optimize their routes as a function of pavement/bridge conditions and cost to user. He adds, “I want to recognize the other team members, including my colleagues Don Bell; Yanfeng Ouyang; Hadi Medani, for his work on the data reliability analysis; Hao Wang, for his work on the pavement damage models and corresponding fees; and the graduate students, including Kunjie Chen, Ziad Ghauch, Erman Gungor, Khaled Issam Hasiba, Antoine Petit, Junjie Qiu, and Jingnan Zhoa. We worked collaboratively with IDOT engineers, especially Justan Mann and Geno Koehler, to complete this timely project.”

Sample from the traffic estimation results

Awards and Honors

Published July 5, 2017

The following ICT-affiliated researchers have recently been recognized by the research community with the following awards:

  1. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) graduate student Md. Toushik Ahme Niloy, who has been assisting with ICT/IDOT project “Design of Living Barriers to Reduce the Impact of Snow Drifts on Illinois Freeways” received the SIUE Graduate School Dean Steve Hanson Symposium Poster Award for his poster “Actuated Signal timing Optimization for a No-Notice Evacuation: A Simulation Study of Residents Near the Phillips 66 Oil Refinery in Wood River, Illinois.”
  2. Mani Golparvar Fard, associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was awarded the Hojjat Adeli Award for Innovation in Computing for his paper: Dimitrov, A., Gu, R., and Golparvar-Fard, M. (2016), “Non Uniform B-Spline Surface Fitting from Unordered 3D Point Clouds for As-Built Modeling,” Computer-Aided Civil and Infrastructure Engineering, 31:7, pp. 483-498).
  3. Associate Professor Ryan Fries of Southern Illinois Edwardsville has received both the 2017 University of Delaware Department of Civil engineering Citation for Outstanding Achievement Award and the Illinois-Indiana Region American Society of Engineers Education Outstanding Representative Award.
  4. Dr. Hao Wang was promoted to Associate Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Rutgers University. Dr. Wang also received Rutger’s ASCE Chapter Distinguished Research Award.
  5. Professor Imad Al-Qadi delivered keynote speeches at the GeoMEast International Conference, Sham Elshiek, Egypt, Jul 15-19, 2017;  the International Conference on Advances in Sustainable Construction  Materials and Civil Engineering Systems (ASCMCES-17) at the University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, April 18-20, 2017; the 77th Jordanian International Civil Engineering Conference, Amman, Jordan, May 9-11, 2017; and the 2nd Transportation Research Congress, Beijing, China, May 23-25, 2017. Al-Qadi also co-organized the 10th International Conference on the Bearing Capacity  of Roads, Railways and Airfields, Athens, Greece, June 28-30, 2017.

Recent ICT Reports and New Projects

Published July 5, 2017

The following reports from recently completed IDOT-sponsored projects are now available on ICT’s website:

R27-153: Best Management Practices and Incentives to Expedite Utility Relocation. This report investigates the problem of construction delays caused by the relocation of utilities in Illinois construction projects and recommends several best management practices to help mitigate those delays. After conducting a thorough literature review, analyzing current IDOT practices, and comparing those practices to other states’ practices, investigators made several recommendations, checked those recommendations against state and federal laws, and made cost analyses of all options in order to develop a method for IDOT to choose which best management practices would best fit any given situation.

R27-160: Illinois Highway Materials Sustainability Efforts of 2016 . In compliance with the Illinois Public Act regarding the reduction of carbon emissions, this report details IDOT’s efforts to use recycled and reclaimed materials in construction projects in 2016. Over 1.7 million tons of reclaimed or recycled materials, valued at over $50 million, were used in Illinois highways in 2016, resulting in an estimated net reduction of carbon dioxide emissions of 166,195 tons.

R27-045-T1: Evaluation of 3-D Laser Scanning Equipment: 2016 Interim Report. This interim report details an evaluation of the Trimble TX5 3D laster scanning unit to determine the tangible costs and the manpower savings realized by using this equipment in place of or in conjunction with conventional surveying methods. Two projects in IDOT District 8 were studied, one using the laser scanner, one using convential surveying techniques, in order to compare manpower requirements. In addition, other project were used to test the scanner for other purposes, such as surface topography mapping of bridge decks, bridge beam deflection scans, and detailed surface mapping of various structures.  Further testing of this equipment is expected to take place in the coming construction season.

R27-152: Development of a Proposed Overweight Vehicle Permit Fee Structure in Illinois. The objective of this study was to revise the current permit system for the State of Illinois. Parts of this current system had not been updated in 30 years, so researchers looked at the impacts of overweight vehicles on bridges and pavements, and in traffic safety situations, and used state-of-the-art prediction/classification algorithms to produce a realistic, up-to-date assessment of the impact of overweight vehicles. The report details the methods and final fee determination researchers produced by combining the new data with known data on the miles traveled and axel and weight information used by the permitting system.

R27-172: Roadway Lighting’s Impact on Altering Soybean Growth: Volume 1. This project sought to measure the impacts of roadway lighting on soybean production. By measuring height, reproductive stage, plant moisture content, and other factors at seven different sites, researchers found strong evidence that roadway lighting had a significant impact on soybean crops and recommended ways to mitigate the effects.

R27-141: Effective Post-Construction Best Management Practices (BMPs) to Infiltrate and Retain Stormwater Run-off. Using a combination of field observations and computer simulations, researchers evaluated three types of storm-water prevention techniques, and combined that information with life-cycle analysis costs, in order to identify the most cost-effective solutions for managing runoff in post-construction highways. They also conducted full-scale field tests of bioswales and infiltration trenches. These different approaches provide key insights for developing guidelines for cost-effective best-management practices to control stormwater runoff.

R27-SP31: Evaluation of I-FIT Results and Machine Variability using MnRoad Test Track Mixtures. Researchers evaluated machines in various configurations for performing the Illinois Flexible Index Test (I-FIT). By comparing three machines and eight different asphalt concrete mixtures, they determined that the I-FIT test was stastisically independent of the equipment used for the procedure.

Additionally, the ICT Executive Committee has approved two new projects:

  • Evaluation of Various Tack Coat Materials Using Interface Shear Device and Recommendations on a Simplified Device (started May 1, 2017)
  • Behavior of Epoxy Coated Textured Reinforcement Bars (started May 15, 2017)