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Large Vehicle Design

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Urban trucks and other large vehicles are disproportionately responsible for urban traffic fatalities. In 2018 and 2019, NACTO and the USDOT Volpe Center convened a multi-city working group to identify challenges and opportunities to reduce the dangers posed in urban settings by large trucks, fire trucks, and other large vehicles.

Over the course of the project, partners identified a number of off-the-shelf and/or easily retrofittable technologies, such as automatic emergency braking, and policies, such as Direct Vision Standards, that North American cities could adopt to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries from large vehicles. Because governments purchase a sizable share of the large vehicles that operate in cities, they are uniquely positioned to influence the market for better, safer designs.

In addition, Volpe’s research identified some fire trucks, currently available for sale in Europe, that meet or exceed the capacity of typical fire trucks operating in the U.S., and are smaller, more maneuverable, and more appropriate for urban contexts.

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Related NACTO Publications

Optimizing Large Vehicles for Urban Environments

A joint release with the U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe Center, Optimizing Large Vehicles for Urban Environments is a pair of in-depth reports that detail the effects of vehicle design on street safety, and the opportunities that public agencies have to reduce traffic fatalities with improved vehicle design.

Case Studies: Downsized Street Maintenance Vehicles

Case studies exploring downsized street sweeping and snow plow equipment currently in use in Boston, Salt Lake City, Cambridge, MA, and Chicago. Thesy are an addendum to the Optimizing Large Vehicles for Urban Environments reports produced by the U.S. DOT Volpe Center for NACTO in 2018.