Transportation in midst of “significant shift”: Alberta MLA

BANFF, AB – Canada’s trucking industry is on the “edge of a significant shift in transportation technology”, Alberta MLA Cam Westhead says. And members of the Alberta Motor Transport Association are playing a part in it.

During a luncheon address at the association’s annual meeting in Banff, Westhead referred to emerging technologies such as reactive traction control and GPS-equipped mobile devices as proof of what is possible.

But most of his comments focused on technology that could help the province reduce emissions.

A pilot project studying wide-based single tires began last summer, and the association tracked the data that is now being reviewed by Alberta Transportation, he said.

 “We are now seeing a growing movement toward electric vehicles,” Westhead added, referring to the need for infrastructure to support the change. “In order to meet our commitments for the international community on climate change, Alberta is looking at ways to reduce our emissions. To this end, our province is undertaking a study of truck stop electrification. In essence, this study will explore the best way to provide stations for commercial truck drivers to plug in.”

The changing technologies are not limited to emissions, though.

Westhead noted the association is playing a role in updating the transportation routing and vehicle information system known as TRAVIS, which is used to issue over-dimensional permits and operating authority certificates. “The goal is to improve functionality and productivity in the system, and in doing so reduce barriers to economic activity.”

“The only constant in life,” he observed, “is change.”

“Without safe and efficient operation of Alberta’s trucking industry, our society and our economy would not be able to function.”

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking,, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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