How difficult is it to move oversize or overweight (OSOW) cargo across state lines

As part of a study on multi-state, multi-modal oversize/overweight (OSOW) transportation for the Transportation Research Board, CPCS’ Alex Marach and Veiko Parming indexed 72 unique OSOW regulations, operational restrictions, and permitting requirements to display the inconsistency or “friction” between neighboring states.

Border friction reflects the additional delay, risk, administrative burden, and ultimately cost from differences in regulations. Border friction does not reflect the degree of regulatory restrictiveness itself: for example, two states that both have restrictive axle weights or strict civilian escort requirements are shown as sharing a border with a low friction ranking.


This analysis places OSOW permitting and regulations in a regional and national context, while providing an opportunity for states to identify problem borders and the drivers of friction between neighboring states (shown below). Furthermore, this analysis can be tailored to the needs of a specific state or industry based on a variety of factors including the size and frequency of OSOW moves, the importance of specific economic sectors to the state economy or to account for differences in infrastructure. The TRB report on OSOW freight, which also puts forward practical solutions for improving multi-state OSOW transportation, will be published in the coming months. Please direct any question to Alex Marach at


High Friction Example
New York, New Jersey, and most of the New England states are among the most restrictive states when it comes to OSOW regulations. However, they are not necessarily restrictive in a coordinated way. For example the New York-New Jersey border shows significant friction driven partially by relatively strict restrictions regarding police and civilian escorts in New York. New York also does not allow Sunday travel and does not allow permit revisions or extensions. However, New Jersey has longer processing time for trip permits, and New Jersey has relatively strict utility notification requirements, whereas New York leaves it up to the carrier.