Vehicle Loads Synthesis and Recommendations

Project Summary


Seeking Funding

Research Area

Pavement Design, Bridge Design

Responsible Council / Committee

Chief Engineers' Council / Structures Standing Committee / Pavements Standing Committee

Project Funding Partners

New Brunswick Transportation and Infrastructure

Total Funding Estimate


Project Category

Structural Design & Management

Staff Contact


The load-carrying capacity of the roadway system depends upon highway structures, such as bridges and pavements. Bridge design considers various loading combinations the structure may carry during its service life such as dead load (weight of the bridge), live load (the weights of vehicles using the bridge), wind, seismic and thermal forces as per the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code (CHBDC).

Traffic and vehicle axle load data are critical components of structural design and management. 
Legal vehicle axle loads can vary across Canadian provinces or within a province due to local conditions and requirements and there is a growing need to understand the increase in vehicle loads and their impacts on pavement and bridge structures. 

The objective of this TAC project is to collect and compile relevant traffic and vehicle load data from various jurisdictions and determine whether traffic load provisions for bridge design in the Canadian Highway Bride Design Code (CHBDC S6) as well as standard agency-specific truck factors for pavement design, expressed as equivalent single axle loads (ESAL), are adequate (e.g. for pavements, are the agency design truck factors still valid given the number of overload truck permits?).

Key tasks to accomplish the project objectives will include:

  • Data collection from Canadian jurisdictions, including: number of annual or single trip overweight permits issued, weigh-in-motion (WIM) and bridge weigh-in-motion (BWIM) data, infraction data etc.   
  • Review of data to determine vehicle loads with different axle configurations present on the roadway networks in Canadian jurisdictions.

The work will culminate in a discussion paper with recommendations about vehicle loadings and truck pavement design ESAL factors to the road authorities and the Regulatory Authority Committee of the Canadian Standards Association, responsible for establishing overall priorities and objectives of the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code as well as monitoring its development.