An evaluation of CVISN technologies found that electronic screening techniques that promote compliance with commercial vehicle safety inspections could prevent thousands of truck accidents each year.

March 2002
Nationwide,United States

Summary Information

This study examined CVISN (Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks) and evaluated the impacts of electronic screening, electronic credentialing, and safety information exchange on commercial vehicle operations in "truck shed" states. In 1996, Maryland and Virginia initiated a prototype program designed to develop standards and evaluate baseline conditions. By 1999, five states including Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut, Kentucky, and Oregon were actively engaged in the CVISN pilot. These programs were analyzed to evaluate the benefits and costs of CVISN prior to national deployment.

Commercial vehicle crashes were relatively rare in the program study area, therefore, safety benefits were estimated using a crash avoidance probability model. The model used inspection selection performance data derived from field testing in order to quantify crash avoidance benefits. Inspection performance data were collected from two sites in Connecticut. The results of limited field testing indicated that Inspection Selection Systems (ISS) used in combination with manual inspection procedures increased OOS order rates by two percent. This inspection performance data was input into the crash avoidance probability model and the results were extrapolated to estimate the number of crashes that would have been avoided if ISS were deployed nationwide.

The benefits extrapolated were dependent on variables such as the accident rate for large trucks, the rate at which out-of-service (OOS) orders were issued, and the probability that OOS conditions would influence crashes. These variables were defined based on historical data records in Connecticut.

The model predicted safety impacts for a number of different potential deployment scenarios that weighted "direct" and "indirect" benefits of CVISN. The "direct" scenario increased the rate of OOS orders if motor carrier targeting was improved. The "indirect" scenario improved motor carrier safety compliance if motor carrier perception of strict enforcement was improved.


The following results were presented in the report; however, the author indicated the results were highly uncertain since the literature-derived crash causation probabilities data input into the crash avoidance model were not well supported.
  • The "direct" model indicated that ISS used in combination with manual inspection methods would result in 84 fewer commercial vehicle crashes each year if the two percent improvement seen in Connecticut could be experienced nationwide.
  • The "indirect" model calculated crash reduction benefits based on an arbitrary increase in the motor carrier safety compliance rate. For example, if there was a 10 percent increase in the compliance rate, then 8,755 crashes would be avoided each year nationwide, which, compared to the baseline scenario, corresponds to a CVISN benefit of 4,332 fewer crashes.

In addition to the safety analysis, the report summarized the nationwide benefits and costs of electronic credentialing and roadside enforcement by evaluating different levels of deployment and system effectiveness over a 25 year period.

Three different scenarios of roadside enforcement were modeled.
  • No screening,
  • Screening with no change in compliance.
  • Screening with improved compliance.
Two different scenarios of electronic credentialing were modeled.
  • VISTA (Vehicle Information System for Tax Apportionment to coordinate IRP data between state credentialing administrators and the state’s registration database).
  • No VISTA.
The analysis considered start-up costs, operating costs, and crash avoidance over the expected lifetime of the technology. The future costs and benefits were compared to 1999 dollars using a discount rate of 7 percent.

Benefits ($millions)
Costs ($millions)
Benefit-to-Cost Ratio
No electronic screening; ASPEN only (electronic recording)
Electronic screening with no change in safety violation rates
Electronic screening with 25% reduction in safety violation rates
Electronic screening with 10% reduction in safety violation rates
Electronic credentialing in states without VISTA
Electronic Credentialing in states with VISTA

Benefit-to-cost ratios ranged from 0.62 (not economically justified for a minimal deployment of roadside enforcement) to approximately 40 (highly beneficial for full deployment of electronic credentialing). The author noted these results were highly dependent on the level of deployment, integration, and cooperation between states.


For additional detail on how dollar values were attributed to benefits and costs in this study please see A Benefit/Cost Analysis of the Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks (CVISN) Program, Transportation Research Record 1800: Intelligent Transportation Systems and Vehicle- Highway Automation, Paper No. 02-3228, Transportation Research Board, Washington DC. 2002.
See Also:
Evaluation of the CVISN MDI - Volume II: (Appendices)

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Evaluation of the Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks (CVISN) Model Deployment Initiative: Volume I - Final Report

Author: Orban, John E., et al.

Published By: Federal Highway Administration, U.S. DOT

Prepared by Battelle and the Charles River Associates for the U.S. DOT

Source Date: March 2002

EDL Number: 13677



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Benefits From This Source

An evaluation of CVISN technologies found that electronic credentialing enabled carriers to commission new vehicles 60 percent faster, and saved 60 to 75 percent on credentialing costs by reducing paperwork.

An evaluation of CVISN technologies found that electronic screening techniques that promote compliance with commercial vehicle safety inspections could prevent thousands of truck accidents each year.

CVO inspectors participating in CVISN focus groups felt that CVISN technology saved time, and improved the speed and accuracy of data reporting.

In Kentucky and Virginia, state overhead costs required to maintain motor carrier accounts were estimated to decrease 35 percent for each motor carrier participating in electronic credentialing.

Most truck drivers who participated in an evaluation of CVISN technology felt that electronic screening saved them time but lacked a set of standards governing inspection selection; motor carriers were concerned with the cost-effectiveness of the technology.

Costs From This Source

Based on data from Maryland and Kentucky, the costs to deploy a CVISN electronic credentialing system ranges from $464,802 to $935,906.

Using data from Kentucky and Connecticut, statewide deployment of the safety information exchange system cost approximately $650,000.

Using data from Kentucky and Connecticut, the initial deployment of full CVISN electronic screening at a static scale site is $522,252. The cost of upgrading each additional site to full CVISN electronic screening is $303,540.

Benefit ID: 2007-00489