The majority of Europeans is opposed to the use of larger trucks and mega trucks on European roads

A recent survey, conducted at the request of sector organization RFF by an independent market research agency, reveals that the majority of European citizens consulted are unaware of the serious impact of introducing ‘mega trucks’ or ‘gigaliners’ on the road network. A vast majority consider the promotion of road-rail combined transport as preferable to reduce road congestion and ensure higher safety standards. In addition, the introduction of mega trucks undermines the objectives of the Green Deal for Europe by optimizing only road transport, overlooking the significant impact on the broader transport sector.

The survey, which was conducted between 18 and 26 April, involved 8037 online interviews in 9 EU Member states (France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Spain and Romania). Although respondents were largely unfamiliar with mega trucks (specifically for Belgium: 14% were aware of the topic, 26% were only vaguely aware and 60% admitted to being unaware), the provision of information led to resounding concerns.

Once they understood the features of mega trucks, a majority of respondents (at least 6 in 10) expressed negative views about their use. Concerns were raised about the detrimental impact on road infrastructure, increased traffic congestion, compromised road safety and increased noise levels. In Belgium, an overwhelming 87% of all respondents acknowledged the safety risks that mega trucks pose to drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, as well as the burden on public budgets.

In addition, 71% of Belgian respondents also believe that the introduction of these mega trucks could reduce freight transport by rail. In member states where rail freight transport is more established (including combined transport with containers), 6 out of 10 citizens believe that these countries should not allow the circulation of ‘mega trucks’.

92% of Belgian respondents consider it important (42% even consider it very important) to promote combined transport as an alternative to the introduction of mega trucks, as this would greatly reduce congestion and safety risks.

In an earlier press statement, the rail freight sector itself warned – via its sector organization RFF - that while the EU intends to make transport greener by allowing more weight and space for batteries, the current proposal is actually endangering the objectives of the Green Deal for Europe as it only optimizes road transport without considering the huge impact on the overall transport sector.

Lineas confirms RFF’s point of view and emphasizes the importance of combined road-rail transport. While we fully support the electrification of road transport, particularly when it focuses on short-distance truck transport, we strongly oppose allowing increased weights & sizes for non-electrical trucks and for allowing cross-border flows not just for these trucks but also for Gigaliners.

Therefore, the Weights and Dimensions EU Directive and the Combined Transport Directive need to be revised together, and the revised Weights and Dimensions Directive needs to:

  • Ensure that electrical trucks’ weights and dimensions are compatible with combined transport and allow additional weight exclusively for electric trucks.
  • Consider all modes when assessing impact, not just optimization within road transport.

If not, the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy goals, to increase rail freight by 50% by 2030 and double by 2050”, are out of reach.


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About Lineas

Lineas helps companies make their supply chains climate-neutral by shifting their cargo from road to rail, reducing CO2 emissions by 90%. To this end, the company has built the largest private rail network in Europe offering customers fast, daily and reliable connections across the continent. Lineas has nearly 2,000 employees and is headquartered in Belgium with offices in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain. 

Lineas is the largest private rail freight company with the independent private equity group Argos Wityu, FPIM and Lineas management as shareholders. 


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