The primary goal of this study was to determine the benefits of the existing fixed weigh stations in Michigan, the cost of upgrading, enhancing and maintaining these weigh stations, and the cost of using alternative solutions (e.g. mobile enforcement) in place of fixed weigh stations or as an enhancement to it. Benefit-cost analyses were performed to help the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Michigan State Police (MSP) in decision making on future commercial vehicle enforcement strategies. To conduct a benefit-cost analysis, specific data on cost and benefit components were derived for each alternative strategy. The cost components included construction/installation/upgrade costs, operating costs, labor costs, and maintenance costs. Additional travel time for commercial vehicles entering a fixed weigh station (including the use of bypass lane triggered by the low-speed WIM) was also considered. The benefit components considered included pavement cost saving associated with commercial vehicle enforcement, as well as savings associated with safety and travel time. The conventional benefit-cost ratio (BCR) approach was adopted in determining economic worthiness of each strategy.
Fixed weigh stations were grouped into four levels (basic, intermediate, advanced and most advanced) depending on what features were present. In general:
- The basic fixed weigh station consisted of just a static scale
- The intermediate level weigh station had a mainline Weigh-in-Motion (WIM) present
- The advanced level fixed weigh station had a low-speed WIM and bypass lane present
- The most advanced fixed weigh station had a preclearance system.
In Michigan, weigh station practices and commercial motor vehicle enforcement strategies were investigated based on lessons learned from other states and Canada. Site visits of existing Michigan commercial motor vehicle enforcement sites and a review of current and past reports by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Michigan State Police (MSP) revealed that existing facilities and operations could be improved. The outcome of the investigation provided recommendations to MDOT and MSP to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the state’s commercial motor vehicle enforcement activities.
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