Quantifying Impact of Port Truck Traffic on Highway Operations Using GPS-Based Speed Data

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CAIT project no.: CAIT-UTC-023

Fiscal Year: 2012/2013

Status: Final

Rutgers-CAIT Author(s): Lazar N. Spasovic, Ph.D., Patrick Szary, Ph.D.

External Author(s): Scott Douglas

Sponsor(s): New Jersey Department of Transportation, FHWA - RITA


Providing efficient transportation connectivity between the port facilities and industrial complexes and markets is vital in supporting regional economic activity and competitiveness, and promotes regional economic growth. Port terminal operations play an important role in this context as well, as they are directly connected and interact with the highway and rail systems providing access to the port. For example, inefficient gate operations can spill truck queues over to the surrounding roadway network causing serious congestion and safety problems. Since intermodal freight terminals tend to be located in or near major cities, where right of way is limited and very expensive to expand, implementing various operational strategies to increase efficiency of terminal operations is of paramount importance to providing conditions for sustainable growth in port volume and regional trade.  The first step in evaluating viable strategies is gaining a good understanding of and quantifying impacts of the port-related truck and rail traffic (demand) on highway and rail operations in the vicinity of the port. This impact can be measured in terms of changes in vehicle speeds and train velocity, as well as resulting level of service due to increased truck demand.