Freight on Rail says there are “serious obstacles” to HGV platoons being practical in the UK.
Responding to the launch of the Department for Transport’s consultation on platooning HGVs as part of its autonomous vehicles plans, Freight on Rail manager Philippa Edmunds, said: “Whilst platooning could be viable in some other countries, there are serious obstacles to HGV platoons being practical in the UK. The UK’s road network is already very congested, with frequent motorway exits close together, and it is unclear how platoons will interact with other road users or how vehicles will overtake and enter and exit junctions safely. There are still so many questions unanswered, such as what would happen if a vehicle in the platoon breaks down, how to tackle the threat of cyber-crime or how these platoons will perform in bad weather?
“Rather than aiming to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 10% through platooning, the government could be cutting emissions by three quarters by switching more freight to rail. If the government really wants to reduce the adverse impacts of freight transportation it should be promoting rail freight as the best way to reduce congestion, collisions, pollution and road damage.”
According to Freight on Rail, promoting the new technology could take freight off rail and onto the road.
They claim platooning is being promoted as a way to reduce hauliers’ costs, but that this fails to acknowledge the increased costs to society and the economy if more sustainable transport modes are undermined further.