Urban truck traffic growing far faster than urban population growth

Urban truck traffic has boomed alongside the rise in e-commerce. As shown in a recent Brookings Institution blog post, while both urban truck and passenger VMT have been growing faster than urban populations since the 1960s, urban truck traffic diverged from urban car travel in the early 1990s and exploded between 2006 and 2008 before a slight dip during the recession. Thanks to this growth, total single unit (box) truck VMT became majority urban in the early 2000s, and combination (tractor-trailer) truck VMT is likely to become majority urban in the coming years.

Nevada green-lights autonomous trucks

Truck platooning, connecting a chain of computer-controlled trucks electronically to follow a human-driven lead vehicle, is still at least 5 years away from being used commercially, but the next step in freight transport automation is already coming over the horizon. Earlier this month Nevada authorized the testing of self-driving trucks on the state’s highways.

CMAP’s new tool elevates the urgency for innovative transportation solutions

While the state of transportation funding remains uncertain both at the national and state levels, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning is taking an innovative approach to bring public awareness to the degrading transportation infrastructure within the seven-county Chicago metropolitan region. CMAP spent $82,000 to design a website that uses an immense amount of transportation data collected by the agency to create user-friendly visualizations of the challenges facing regional transportation systems.

Brookings report provides insight into the impacts of congestion on the freight industry

A new report from the Brookings Institution, and its associated interactive tool, study the flow of freight among U.S. metropolitan areas. The same metropolitan areas on which much of the nation’s freight system depends are also home to the most congested corridors. By graphically showing freight flows within the U.S., the report makes a strong argument that congestion in large metro areas interferes with interstate commerce.

Can passenger and freight rail coexist?

Amtrak is dealing with a steadily increasing problem of service delays. Timing conflicts with freight sharing the same tracks are a significant factor. A law passed by Congress in 2008 sets Amtrak on-time performance standards and considers any number below 80 percent as substandard. This same law requires that freight railroads give Amtrak priority on their tracks and allows Amtrak to penalize freight rail providers for giving dispatch priority to freight trains on Amtrak routes. However, a July 2013 U.S. Court of Appeals decision ended Amtrak’s power over freight lines, which has greatly contributed to the decline in on-time performance.

WebGIFT marks a promising step toward greener logistics

A new tool allows users to optimize their shipping modes and routes based on time, distance, or emissions. Users specify a transportation origin and destination and the specific types of trucks, trains, and marine vessels that would be used for each mode. It then identifies the best multimodal routes based on the factors selected by users. Three models drive the tool, two of which are integrated to provide the costs associated with operating different types of freight vehicles on the domestic multimodal network. A third, EmissionsCalc, calculates vehicle energy and emissions under different circumstances.

With increasing fatalities and inadequate infrastructure, NDDOT looks for big picture solutions

Booming populations and truck traffic, driven by the surging oil and gas industry, have led North Dakota to embark on the state’s first comprehensive state freight plan. The state now leads the nation in crash fatalities, The plan will identify freight bottlenecks along with obstacles, such as low hanging bridges and insufficient load capacities, which force trucks to take longer inefficient routes.

New report from SSTI discusses freight transportation demand management strategies

A new report, funded by SSTI with a matching grant from the Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research and Education, identifies and evaluates freight transportation demand management strategies to improve transportation efficiency by reducing the social costs associated with goods movement in urban areas.