Understanding and Modeling the Impacts of COVID-19 on Freight Trucking Activity

Research Team: Stephen Ritchie (lead), Andre Tok, and Guoliang Feng

UC Campus(es): UC Irvine

Problem Statement: Restrictions on travel and in-person commercial activities in many countries (e.g., the United States, China, European countries, etc.) due to the global outbreak and rapid spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have severely impacted the global supply chain and subsequently affected freight transportation and logistics. The complexity and significance of these impacts, however, cannot be fully understood with conventional metrics from standalone data sources.

Project Description: The research includes analysis of truck axle and weight data from existing highway detector infrastructure to investigate the impacts of COVID-19 on freight trucking activity. Three aspects of COVID-19 truck impacts were explored: drayage, long and short-haul movements, and payload characteristics. Due to the ongoing effects of COVID-19, it is not yet possible to distinguish between transient and long-term impacts on freight trucking activity. Nonetheless, a future expansion of the study area and the incorporation of other complementary data sources may provide further insights into the pandemic’s impacts on freight movement.

Status: Completed

Budget: $50,000