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NDSU Modeling Research Examines Policy Implications of Truck Technologies

Posted: Feb 26, 2020

NDSU researchers used innovative modeling techniques to examine the public policy implications of proposed technologies for reducing truck fuel consumption and cutting operating costs.

"Policy implications of truck platooning and electrification" was recently published in the journal Energy Policy. The paper's lead author was Raj Bridgelall, assistant professor in the NDSU Department of Transportation of Transportation, Logistics and Finance and researcher in NDSU's Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute. Bridgelall notes that traditional modeling techniques require large datasets and complex software, and take hours to run a single scenario. The researchers used a "closed form" model that can rapidly calculate trends of potential national petroleum consumption for a range of technology adoption scenarios.

According to the research, truck electrification would have a substantially greater impact than platooning on fuel consumption reduction. The limitation of platoonable miles creates an upper bound on benefits, resulting in a reduction in fuel consumption of less than 4% at full adoption. The findings suggest that policy making should encourage the adoption of both technologies because of their combined benefits beyond greenhouse gas reduction and cost reduction. Policy changes should include adoption incentives and the modification of legislation and infrastructure to remove barriers that currently make platooning impractical.

Douglas A. Patterson, captain and commanding officer of the U.S. Navy Training Support Center in San Diego, and Denver Tolliver, director of NDSU's Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, were also authors of the paper.

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