The study proposes that by increasing the total length of articulated trucks by two meters (6.6 feet) while maintaining the UK's existing weight limit of 44 tons, carbon dioxide emissions could be reduced by 13 percent. The increased length would boost capacity of the haulers and allow for the transport of up to 100,000 additional tons of "lightweight goods" per year.
In 2006, the UK's DFT commissioned research into the potential effects of lengthened tractors-trailers. The findings of that study highlighted a number of drawbacks, but indicated that there could be some potential benefits. Therefore, in 2009, the DFT reexamined the benefits of lengthened semi-trailers trucks. The recent study concludes that while longer tractor-trailers offer significant advantages, the added length would hamper maneuverability, requiring expensive rear-wheel steering to make the rigs drivable in the UK. The DFT has deemed this costly adaptation unacceptable and has shot down the idea of increasing the maximum permitted length of tractor-trailers.
[Source: Green Car Congress | Image: cupcakes2 – C.C. License 2.0]