John F. Kennedy International Airport

In 2019 John F. Kennedy International Airport handled more than 1.3 million tons of air cargo. Photo ©Wikimedia Commons.

This new research project will help to facilitate truck movements and minimize truck wait time at JFK International Airport for land-side cargo movements through a systems analysis of cargo movement and logistics throughout the facility. In partnership with GatewayJFK, this research project will provide economic, environmental, and equity benefits to the airport and surrounding communities.

The JFK International Airport contributed more than $52 billion in economic activity to the New York City region in 2019 according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey 2019 Air Traffic Report.

During that year the airport served more than 60 million passengers and handled more than 1.3 million tons of air cargo. A major trade facilitator in the NYC region, and worldwide, air cargo helps create jobs, develop local and international economies, and deliver vital goods ranging from vaccines and pharmaceuticals to the mail.

A new research project between Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT), Gateway JFK, partner institutions and private consulting firms, aims to help JFK International Airport update its cargo systems through development of a collaborative, airport-wide Information System to coordinate air cargo ground operations and speed truck traffic flow within the airport and out to the surrounding community.

Dr. Kazem Oryani, an adjunct assistant professor at the Farmingdale State College School of Engineering Technology and CAIT-affiliated researcher, is leading the project. He said that this research will facilitate truck movements and minimize truck wait times at JFK Airport through intelligent monitoring of the system and data gathering that can generate more efficient operations going forward.

“This includes cargo getting off plane, security, customs, warehouse, assignment of freight forwarders, and dispatch to the truck company to take the cargo to a destination or a center for cargo-consolidation,” he said. “By optimizing the cargo system, we expect this project to generate economic, environmental, and equity improvements for the local communities and businesses surrounding the airport.”

A prototype mobile app is expected to be developed as a part of this process too, Dr. Oryani said. This will help inform truck drivers when and where cargo is available for pickup, manage truck dispatching, and collect important data on how cargo is moving throughout the facility.

Congestion levels at airports impact factors such as truck exit and entrance times, which can impact the rest of the cargo system. As part of the project, researchers are also developing a prototype transportation model of both passenger cars and trucks to assess various wait-time components such as entry at the airport grounds, estimation of wait-time at the airport bay to receive cargo, time needed to navigate through the airport, and more.

“By better understanding what causes congestion within the airport’s cargo systems, we can begin to make more informed decisions and improve efficiency along the system,” Dr. Oryani said.

He added that this research will also include estimates of economic benefits stemming from a reduction in truck wait time and the lessening of truck traffic serving the airport.  These estimated reductions will be monetized using an economic model to indicate benefits to businesses and communities surrounding the JFK Airport.

GatewayJFK community map

A map of the Greater GatewayJFK community. Photo ©GatewayJFK.

According to project partner and sponsor, Gateway JFK, a not-for-profit organization serving the area around the airport, there are approximately 600 businesses, 150 households, and 8,000 employees in the surrounding region that contribute to New York’s multi-billion-dollar air-cargo sector.

Dr. Oryani said that the expected reduction in truck stalling, identification and lessening of traffic bottlenecks, economic benefits, and environmental benefits of this project have the potential to impact all of those local airport community members. Researchers also added that they plan to hire student interns from the nearby Queens College as part of the effort to serve the local community. This research is an initial phase of a multi-phase project which is expected to be carried-out and implemented for the airport community.

This research began as one of CAIT’s University Transportation Center (UTC) projects, JFK Truck Flow Management System: A system to speed Truck Traffic Flow at JFK Airport, designed to define and document JFK Cargo requirements, evaluate options and costs to acquire, develop, and manage the system, and explore potential business models to operate, monetize it, and establish it.