Modeling Freight Corridor Movements Using a Mass Balance Approach

Research Lead: Amelia Regan

UC Campus(es): UC Irvine

Problem Statement: With the expansion of population and economic activity in the country, freight transportation has grown significantly over the last two decades and has become both a key economic driver and an environmental concern in California. The freight system is responsible for one-third of the state's economic product and jobs with freight-dependent industries accounting for over $740 billion in gross domestic product and over 5 million jobs in 2014. California Air Resources Board staff is interested in better understanding freight mass movement across the major freight corridors in the state to help improve the efficiency and sustainability of California’s freight transport system.

Project Description: With the truck body classification capability of the state’s new Truck Activity Monitoring System (TAMS), researchers have shown that they can identify and track different types of trucks and trailers (e.g., 40-ft container chassis vs. 53-ft box type trailer) that are used within the freight system. This system is capable of identifying where in the freight supply chain these trucks are operating. For example, a 40-ft container chassis is mostly used to transport freight from ship to truck and then to rail; it can therefore be considered as a freight mass transported from port to rail-yards/distribution centers, whereas a box-type trailer might be used for delivery to a freight consignee. This project will integrate these newly available TAMS truck classification capabilities with data from weigh-in-motion (WIM) sensors located throughout the state and commodity flow information from the Federal Freight Analysis Framework (FAF) to estimate the freight mass flux in/out of origin/destination zones. These estimates will then be used to: (1) Track freight mass movement (both spatial and temporal) across the state; (2) Connect truck classifications to economic and commodity information; and (3)Better model freight transportation and its associated emissions in California. The results of the improved models derived from this study will help to develop strategies to reduce emissions from California’s trucks for use in the State Implementation Plan, Scoping Plan, Short Lived Climate Pollutant Plan, and Sustainable Freight Action Plan. The information from this study will also be used to calibrate and validate the California statewide freight-forecasting model (CSFFM) and help inform freight models under development by metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs).

Status: In Progress

Budget: $28,575

Project Partner(s): California Air Resources Board, Caltrans