Sustainable Freight Practices for the Trucking Industry


Click one of these areas of sustainable freight practices for more information or use the menu on the left side of this page to navigate this compendium:



The concept of “sustainability” emerged decades ago and has become a key topic for politicians, regulators, businesses and the media. The term has several meanings – to some it is a strategy for maintaining and improving environmental conditions. Others view sustainable practices as a way to conserve resources and function more efficiently. At the very highest level, sustainable practices are typically defined as those actions and activities that support economic, environmental and equity goals.[1]

At the forefront of the sustainability discussion is the concept of climate change – a phenomenon that has been linked to man-made pollutants of greenhouse gases (GHG) contributing to increasing overall surface temperatures. The issues that could result from climate change include rising sea levels and shifts in weather patterns which can result in changes to entire ecosystems and potentially impact food production and infrastructure.

This compendium describes sustainable practices from the trucking industry’s perspective and highlights the positive impacts of, and opportunities for, specific sustainability tools and programs.  The various sections of the compendium describe the role truck drivers can play in advancing sustainability, including driving and vehicle operating techniques that can significantly decrease fuel consumption.  Also included in the compendium are vehicle practices including a discussion of trends and impacts related to aerodynamics, tires, engines, alternative fuels, cargo management systems, and higher productivity vehicles.  The compendium also describes the role of the public sector in advancing sustainability in the trucking industry, including congestion mitigation, financial incentives and government-funded research and development.


[1]For information on the history of sustainability in the United States, visit