Derek Constable, a bridge management engineer for the Federal Highway Administration, said the agency has a research project underway to investigate platooning’s impact on structural safety, bridge fatigue limits and design standards.
“Connected and autonomous vehicle technology is advancing rapidly and has the potential to significantly change highway transportation infrastructure requirements,” Constable said.
He explained that trucks must comply with the federal bridge formula, which outlines how a vehicle’s weight must be displaced depending on its size and number of axles.
But establishing a blanket load model is difficult, he said, because there are variations in the vehicle configurations that may cross a bridge. He said that capacity limits and weight requirements would depend on a number of factors, including truck weight, spacing and how many trucks are in a platoon.