Traffic, Infrastructure, Environmental, and Health Implications of Deploying Zero-Emission Connected Autonomous Trucks in Southern California

Research Lead: Jean-Daniel Saphores

UC Campus(es): UC Irvine

Problem Statement: While autonomous technologies have already received much attention for passenger vehicles, the exploration these technologies for trucks has been more limited. In addition to much-improved safety and environmental records, connected autonomous trucks are expected to decrease the cost of hauling freight, cut energy consumption, and allow a more intensive use of assets in logistic chains. By traveling in platoons, they could increase road capacity, which has important implications for transportation infrastructure.

Project Description: The purpose of this project is to quantify the traffic, infrastructure, environmental, and health impacts of replacing heavy-duty trucks with connected, zero-emission, level 1 automated heavy-duty trucks (CZAHDT) on selected freeways in Southern California. Electrification of trucking combined with connected technologies promise to cut the cost of freight transportation, reduce its environmental footprint, and make roads safer. If electric trucks are powerful enough to cease behaving as moving bottlenecks, they could also increase the capacity of existing roads and reduce the demand for new road infrastructure, a consequence that has so far been understudied. To explore the potential speed changes of replacing conventional heavy-duty drayage trucks with electric and/or connected trucks, the authors performed microscopic traffic simulations on a network centered on I-710, the country’s most important economic artery, between the San Pedro Bay Ports and downtown Los Angeles, in Southern California.

Status: Completed

Budget: $69,226