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. Among the main freight modeling approaches, commodity-based models stand out in their ability to incorporate all travel modes and capture the economic mechanisms driving freight movements. However, challenges still exist on the effective use of public freight data and the ability to accurately reflect the supply chain relationships between commodities. In this research, a commodity-based framework for freight demand forecasting using a Structural Regression Model (SRM) is explored, and applied to the original California Statewide Freight Forecasting Model (CSFFM) using the Freight Analysis Framework Version 4 (FAF4) data.

Status: Completed

Budget: $28,575