Drayage Truck Activity and California Inland Ports

Research Team: Stephen G. Ritchie (lead), Andre Tok, and Yiqiao Li

UC Campus(es): UC Irvine

Problem Statement: The ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland are the top, second and eighth busiest container ports in the United States. However, the highway networks surrounding these ports are highly congested due to drayage truck operations. Since warehouse space at the ports for transferring cargo to delivery trucks is limited, drayage trips must traverse metropolitan areas to reach scattered distribution centers. This creates significant traffic congestion and amplifies other problems like noise and air pollution in communities located nearby. While locating additional distribution centers near the ports may alleviate dock storage constraints and minimize negative impacts on local streets and communities, available land for development is scarce and prohibitively expensive. Inland “dry ports” operate as intermodal distribution facilities for loading and unloading standardized shipping containers transferred from docked ships via major highways or railroads. They can be located away from population centers to minimize their impacts on local communities and road networks, and therefore can address the traffic and community impacts of drayage truck activity. However, additional data on portside freight activities are needed to assess their potential benefits. Existing truck activity data collected by onboard telematics systems provide a picture of drayage truck trip activity but are limited and typically deployed on larger fleets and thus may not provide an accurate representation of overall drayage activity. Alternative data sources like UC Irvine’s Truck Activity Monitoring System (TAMS) show potential. It captures truck classification data from inductive loop sensors located throughout Southern California and can identify drayage trucks. However, it requires further enhancement to accurately measure drayage truck volumes along highway corridors.

Project Description: This study will provide a better understanding of the impacts associated with developing an inland port serving the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The team will perform a comprehensive review of studies associated with inland ports within the United States and the rest of the world. This review will provide insights on factors affecting the implementation, design, and operation of inland ports, and assess the benefits and costs of developing inland ports to serve California’s major ports. As telematics data sources represent only a small sample of drayage truck activity, the next step is to enhance the ability to measure the impacts of current drayage truck activities on the metropolitan road network. TAMS coverage is being expanded in the Inland Empire with additional site deployments through a concurrent study. This study will improve the accuracy of the truck classification model and yield a significant dataset of drayage truck activity in the Los Angeles metropolitan area and the Inland Empire to assess the potential impact of inland ports on highway congestion.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $80,000