OTREC Researcher Miguel Figliozzi, of Portland State University, recently explored the collection of freight data through a smartphone application.
Freight data is usually incomplete, scarce, and expensive to collect. Many carriers and shippers are reluctant to install trackers on their vehicles due to privacy concerns, and the enormous variety of companies and people involved in the supply chain makes it difficult to gather a comprehensive collection of truck data.
According to The Oregon Freight Plan, Oregon is the ninth most trade-dependent state in the nation. Because most of that trade moves by freight, the transportation network is crucial to the state’s economic stability.
Knowing the origins and destinations of commercial vehicles, as well as their speed and direction, would help planners sustain an effective transportation system.
Figliozzi’s research centers on a new pilot project which is being implemented by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to simplify the collection of taxes.
Oregon is one of the few states to charge a commercial Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) tax.  Truck Road...
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Freight transportation is an important part of Oregon’s economy. Helping the statewide freight-transport system run more efficiently means better understanding the movements of trucks on the highways. By monitoring the progress of individual trucks, the Oregon Department of Transportation can obtain valuable performance metrics such as travel time, travel delays, and origin-destination flows. This information can help identify slow passages or bottlenecks in the highway system.

Tracking individual trucks, however, can be problematic. To follow the movements of a truck on the freeway, typical methods might include putting in automatic vehicle identification (AVI) tags, or acquiring a license-plate-recognition system to be used at checkpoints. For ODOT, this could mean purchasing expensive new equipment. Moreover, these tracking methods can raise privacy concerns.

In an OTREC-sponsored research project, Portland State University’s Chris Monsere looked into alternative methods for obtaining those helpful freight metrics without installing tracking units in every single truck. The details of Phase 2 of the project, which expand upon and further refine the results of Phase 1, can be found here. For more information, download the OTREC final report: Exploratory Methods for Truck Re-...

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Freight transportation is a vital component of Oregon’s economy, and many expect shipments to nearly double in the next decade. Making informed decisions to better manage the freight transportation system requires monitoring freight movement and freight transportation performance. Because most of that freight moves by truck, this means better understanding those trucks’ movements.

Existing methods for tracking individual trucks can require buying expensive new equipment, however, and raise privacy concerns. In his report, “Exploratory Methods for Truck Re-Identification in a Statewide Network Based on Axle Weight and Axle Spacing Data to Enhance Freight Metrics,” Christopher Monsere investigated an alternative: Using only existing vehicle sensors, is it feasible to reidentify trucks after they have traveled long distances?

Monsere and his research team used data from existing weigh-in-motion stations, which record axle weight and spacing and gross vehicle weight. They then developed and applied algorithms to match truck measurements at separate sites, allowing them to reidentify the same vehicles at other weigh stations. 

The team found that the algorithms can match trucks with around 90 percent accuracy, while measuring around 95 percent of the total trucks that cross both stations. The algorithms also can be adjusted to yield greater accuracy by reducing the total number of trucks matched....

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Miguel Figliozzi, OTREC researcher, has been selected to chair a study group that will assist DEQ in developing a report, including recommendations for legislation regarding truck efficiency, reduced idling, and emissions. This report will be submitted to interim environment and natural resource committees of the Oregon Legislature by October 2010 for their consideration and any possible action during the 2011 legislative session. The 2009 Oregon Legislature adopted House Bill 2186, which directed DEQ to study potential requirements regarding the maintenance or retrofitting of medium- and heavy-duty trucks in order to reduce aerodynamic drag and otherwise reduce greenhouse gas emissions. DEQ also plans to study potential restrictions on engine use by parked commercial vehicles, including but not limited to medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Study group members will work with DEQ staff to report findings and recommendations for legislation to the interim legislative committees on environment and natural resources by October 1, 2010.

Portland State University faculty and students presented their work at the National Urban Freight Conference (NUFC) in Long Beach, CA October 21-23, 2009. Dr. Miguel Figliozzi presented "Emissions & Energy Minimization Vehicle Routing Problem" and "A Study of Transportation Disruption Causes and Cost in Containerized Maritime Transportation." Also, graduate research assistants Ryan Conrad and Nikki Wheeler presented research projects sponsored by OTREC. Ryan presented "Algorithms and Methodologies to Analyze and Quantify the Impacts of Congestion on Urban Distribution Systems Using Real-world Urban Network Data" and Nikki presented "Analysis of the Impacts of Congestion on Freight Movements in the Portland Metropolitan Area." NUFC brings together researchers and practitioners in the public and private sectors from many disciplines within freight transportation. This conference is the only one of its kind in the US, and brought attendees and presenters from across the US, Canada and Europe.

The video begins at 2:09.

Abstract: The ability to fully understand and accurately characterize freight route choice is one that will support freight modeling frameworks, and regional and state transportation decisions. This ability, when combined with regional and state commodity flow data, can compose an effective statewide freight modeling framework. Typically, transportation network models take a shortest path assumption for truck routing both for strategic and operational routing decisions. The goal of this research was to determining how different subgroups of shippers, carriers, and receivers make route choices, and to understand how these approaches vary across types of routing decisions. We consider route changes of both a spatial and temporal manner. This talk presents the results of a survey of over 800 shippers, carriers, and receivers in Washington State, and recommends a framework for improving the modeling of routing decisions in existing network models.

Speaker Bio: Professor Anne Goodchild has worked and studied in the transportation field for more than 15 years. Her initial experience in management consulting for transportation providers was followed by the completion of a PhD at UC Berkeley and research experience while developing the freight transportation program at the University of Washington. In addition to a BS in mathematics and an MS and PhD in Civil Engineering, Dr....

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The video begins at 1:13.

Abstract: Brock Nelson is the Director of Public Affairs for Union Pacific Railroad. He will give a brief overview of Union Pacific, and how they go about preparing for, and responding to frequent events such as landslides and floods.

The video begins at 2:51.

Abstract: Coal-fired electricity plants account for over 50 percent of the nation’s electricity. These plants can purchase coal from a large number of different locations and, often, can have a number of different transportation options. Normally, however, from the array of different options, they use only a handful.  We frame the model as that of a cost-minimization with a large number of input choices, characterized by standard Kuhn-Tucker conditions. Empirically, we estimate a system of input decisions that contain both zero and non-zero levels, using a Multiple Discrete/Continuous Extreme Value model. The payoffs from each choice are a function of costs, coal attributes, and unobserved modal attributes, as well as the increased regulation under the Clean Air Amendment Act of 1990.

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Abstract: Our speaker for May 14, 2010 is Gill V. Hicks, Director Southern California Operations for Cambridge Systematics, Inc.  For more than ten years, Mr. Hicks served as the General Manager of the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA).  The $2.4 billion Alameda Corridor consolidated harbor-related railroad traffic onto a single 20-mile corridor between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and the railroad mainlines near downtown Los Angeles.  Mr. Hicks’ responsibilities included overall management of the agency, building consensus, estimating benefits and costs of the project, generating political support, testifying before U.S. Congress, State Legislature, regulatory bodies, city councils, funding agencies and other stakeholders; developing a financial plan, raising funds, coordinating with railroad, trucking, and shipping businesses, and managing contracts for the project.

Mr. Hicks will discuss the major challenges faced by the project, including negotiations with three competing railroads, several municipal governments, utilities, regulatory agencies, contractors, and funding entities.  The process for consensus building will be discussed. Major lessons learned will be described, including methods for reducing project risk, keeping on schedule and within budget. Mr. Hicks will also touch on the challenges facing the agency as...

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The video begins at 2:46.

Promising Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Strategies for the Transportation Sector: Low Carbon Fuels, Leveraging Transit with Smart Growth, and Ports and Goods Movement Opportunities