Hours of Service Regulations in Road Freight Transport: An Optimization-Based International Assessment

Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1287/trsc.2013.0477

Driver fatigue is internationally recognized as a significant factor in approximately 15%–20% of commercial road transport crashes. In their efforts to increase road safety and improve working conditions of truck drivers, governments worldwide are enforcing stricter limits on the amount of working and driving time without rest. This paper describes an effective optimization algorithm for minimizing transportation costs for a fleet of vehicles considering business hours of customers and hours of service regulations. The algorithm combines the exploration capacities of population-based metaheuristics, the quick improvement abilities of local search, with forward labeling procedures for checking compliance with complex hours of service regulations. Several speed-up techniques are proposed to achieve an overall efficient approach. The proposed approach is used to assess the impact of different hours of service regulations from a carrier-centric point of view. Extensive computational experiments for various sets of regulations in the United States, Canada, the European Union, and Australia are conducted to provide an international assessment of the impact of different rules on transportation costs and accident risks. Our experiments demonstrate that European Union rules lead to the highest safety, whereas Canadian regulations are the most competitive in terms of economic efficiency. Australian regulations appear to have unnecessarily high risk rates with respect to operating costs. The recent rule change in the United States reduces accident risk rates with a moderate increase in operating costs.

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