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Talking Freight

Freight Advanced Traveler Information System (FRATIS)

January 18, 2012

Presentations

Jennifer Symoun
Good afternoon or good morning to those of you to the West. Welcome to the Talking Freight Seminar Series. My name is Jennifer Symoun and I will moderate today's seminar. Today's topic is the Freight Advanced Traveler Information System, FRATIS.

Before I go any further, I do want to let those of you who are calling into the teleconference for the audio know that you need to mute your computer speakers or else you will be hearing your audio over the computer as well.

Today we'll have four presenters' Randy Butler of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Freight Management and Operations, Roger Schiller of Cambridge Systematics, Jerry Wood of Gateway Cities Council of Governments, and Dan Pallme of the University of Memphis.

Randy Butler joined the FHWA in November of 2003 as a Transportation Specialist on the Operation and Technology Team. Prior to joining FHWA, Randy completed a 35 year career in the private sector holding senior management positions in freight transportation operations and information systems management. Randy currently leads the freight technology projects in the FHWA's Office of Freight Management and Operations. He is currently the program manager for Electronic Freight Management Case Studies, Freight Technology Assessment Tool, Dynamic Mobility Open Source Portal, Cross Town Improvement Project, Freight Advanced Traveler Information System, and Intermodal Freight Technology Working Group.

Roger Schiller is an Associate at Cambridge Systematics, and served as the Lead Analyst for Cambridge Systematics' evaluation of the C-TIP deployments in Kansas City and Chicago. Recent projects he has been involved with include the collection of truck GPS data in Southern California for improvements to the SCAG Heavy Duty Truck Model, the Chattanooga Regional Freight Study, and National Cooperative Freight Research Program project 31: Guidebook for Sharing Freight Transportation Data. Mr. Schiller is also serving as the Deputy Project Manager for the FHWA Freight Advanced Traveler Information System Concept of Operations.

Jerry R. Wood is the Director of Transportation and Engineering for the Gateway Cities Council of Governments (GCCOG), representing the 2.2 million residents of the 27 communities of Southeast Los Angeles County. Jerry works collaboratively with multiple stakeholders to help develop community-based goods movement and infrastructure solutions that emphasize air quality, mobility, and public health. The GCCOG is actively engaged with work on I-710 (the primary truck route to service the ports); the Freight Corridor; I-5; SR-91/I-605/I-405 corridors; The Gateway Cities Technology Plan for Goods Movement; the Gateway Cities Air Quality Action Plan; Sustainable Communities; and, the upcoming Gateway Cities Transportation Strategic Plan.

Dan Pallme's entire career has been in the freight transportation industry. He has worked in the air freight industry (Federal Express), LTL (yellow Freight System), TL (Middle American Express), Railroad (Union Pacific Railroad) and intermodal industry (Comtrak Logistics). His most recent industry position was with Comtrak Logistics where he ran all the sales for the national domestic company. He is currently developing a Freight Transportation Leadership Academy at the University of Memphis to strengthen the participants in the industry.

Today's seminar will last 90 minutes, with 60 minutes allocated for the speakers, and the final 30 minutes for audience Question and Answer. If during the presentations you think of a question, you can type it into the chat area. Please make sure you send your question to'Everyone' and indicate which presenter your question is for. Presenters will be unable to answer your questions during their presentations, but I will start off the question and answer session with the questions typed into the chat box. If we run out of time and are unable to address all questions we will attempt to get written responses from the presenters to the unanswered questions.

The PowerPoint presentations used during the seminar are available for download from the file download box in the lower right corner of your screen. The presentations will also be available online within the next few weeks, along with a recording and a transcript. I will notify all attendees once these materials are posted online.

One final note: Talking Freight seminars are eligible for 1.5 certification maintenance credits for AICP members. In order to obtain credit for today's seminar, you must have logged in with your first and last name or if you are attending with a group of people you must type your first and last name into the chat box. I have included more detailed instructions in the file share box on how to obtain your credits after the seminar. Please also download the evaluation form from the file share box and submit this form to me after you have filled it out.

We're now going to go ahead and get started. Today's topic, for those of you who just joined us, is Freight Advanced Traveler Information Systems, FRATIS. As a reminder, if you have questions during the presentation please type them into the chat box and they will be answered in the last 30 minutes of the seminar. Our first presenter will be Randy Butler of the Federal Highway Administration Office of Freight Management and Operations.

Randy Butler
Thank you, Jennifer. This afternoon's presentation presents a good overview of the freight technology initiative that the Federal Highway's Office of Freight Management is currently working on with the USDOT's RITA ITS Joint Program Office to improve the freight transportation network. I will give an overview of the program's Cross-Town Improvement Project that was recently completed in Kansas City and how the features we developed for that program were the foundation for the freight mobility application known as FRATIS.

I've asked Roger Schiller of Cambridge Systematics, who was the independent evaluator for the Cross-Town Improvement Project (C-TIP), to give an overview of the C-TIP test and results and how the results and lessons learned will be taken forward into the current initiative with FRATIS. I have asked Jerry Wood from the Gateway Cities Technology Plan for Goods Movement to give his perspective or present an overview of their program, which really synchs up closely with FRATIS, and what its overall objectives are. Finally, Dan Pallme from the University of Memphis is what I consider one of the industry experts in this area, particularly in intermodal transmission. I've asked him to give a perspective of what he feels the benefits of these programs will be to the industry users.

I'd personally like to thank Roger, Jerry and Dan for participating today and presenting to give a good overview of the efforts to improve the freight transportation network with use of technology.

Let's start with talking about what the dynamic mobility program is. When we're talking about a dynamic mobility program to address the freight issues, we're really talking about a program that has a solution to address a lack of freight advanced traveler information by enabling the design of freight-related specific information application, including freight dynamic route guidance applications and coordinating drayage optimization to reduce empty loads using an open data, open source approach and engaging researchers and the private sector to spur innovation.

Commercially available and custom-developed products are on the market today for freight in advanced traveler information systems, route guidance, and drayage optimization. Some State DOT's have limited freight specific information on their websites and provide this information to subscribers, but more freight-specific information is needed. We need to bring all of these applications to one specific area in order to provide more information to the freight user. The idea is to incorporate more freight-specific information and spur innovation to make freight information more broadly available to the freight industry, including smaller companies and owner operators. What we need are examples that include specialized freight operation information, such as truck rest stop areas, truck-specific zones and route restrictions, oversize/overweight restrictions, predicted travel times, performance measuring/monitoring, and information sharing is the key that is needed for drayage optimization so that movement is coordinated between freight facilities to maximize loaded moves and minimize unproductive moves.

The dynamic mobility program that FRATIS is a part of is made up of two components. First we have the real-time data capture and management component, which focuses on how we collect the data to support the application; specifically, what devices, systems, or connections have to be created to provide this data to the applications. The next area is the applications themselves and how these applications can be used to expand the technology to provide the required benefits to the user, including mobility transportation effort.

This is a survey that was conducted in 2005. We did this in our office where we looked at what the overall logistics cycle and what our real target of opportunity was to improve freight logistics or freight information sharing. We saw in this survey 40% of the time in the freight transportation cycle, shipments are waiting for sharing of information between logistics partners. The 40% has basically been our target of opportunity. We have focused our efforts in the freight offices technology program. The applications that we want to design are centered around reducing this 40% time with the deployment of applications focused on data sharing.

I'd like to step back just a little bit and talk about the foundation of what FRATIS is conceived to bring forward, and it goes back to the Kansas City C-TIP. Recently, we completed a test of the Cross-Town Project in Kansas City. As stated on the slide, the objective was to maximize loaded moves and minimize the unproductive moves with use of the information sharing between the partners. We tested the application for C-TIP with the foundation that we plan to use for FRATIS going forward. It was originally focused on the cross-town movement of containers from one terminal to another to expedite the moves between rail carriers. Due to the economic upturn, we were not able to fully test the sharing between railroads. However, we were able to simulate and do an actual test with two drayage companies, which Roger will talk about in a moment. We also included real-time traffic information and dynamic route for these tests. We will be able to see specifically how the results from these tests can be carried forward into FRATIS.

The Kansas City program had four components that we developed. One was an intermodal exchange and was used as the central point to share data between partners. The second component was a wireless drayage updating application that we used to push information out to users through smartphones and tablets. The real-time traffic information system that we developed focused on bringing information from the traffic centers in Kansas City, KC Scout, and also from a third-party data source to be able to produce traffic information such as travel times, congestion and traffic incidents. Finally, we compiled this information into a dynamic route guidance program to give the freight driver or user specific information to move through the network. We actually provided algorithms so as drivers started moving through the network, we were able to give them updated traffic information or better travel times specifically to that driver.

Moving forward, and looking at specifically how we would transition these applications we developed for C-TIP into FRATIS, we identified that we had to be more scalable and transferable. We had to not only consider the rail-to-rail program and cross-town movements, we also had to consider port-to-rail, port-to-truck, airport-to-truck, and over the road freight movements in order for the program to be significant to all users.

We identified in the process of looking at moving forward how this application could be used in specific areas; 32 areas were identified here on this map that we think FRATIS will have a huge benefit for moving freight through the network.

We will quickly walk through the three components that we have designed for FRATIS, specifically real-time traveler information. The problem addressed is traffic conditions and weather conditions. We're trying to get more information out to the driver. As I indicated in my opening remarks, there are a tremendous amount of products already available. It is just a matter of bringing them together in order to support the freight movement through the network.

The next component is the dynamic route guidance. We bring in road construction, traffic congestion information, predicted travel times, freight traveler specific information, and build upon what we have already learned in C-TIP.

Finally, the drayage optimization is to be able to optimize the drayage optimization so loaded moves are coordinated between freight facilities. We want to maximize loaded trips and minimize empty trips. We were fairly successful in Kansas City, which Roger will talk about in a few moments, but we really need to improve a lot of the information that is out there today in order to make this more effective.

Some of the concerns we had with the DOT in any applications that we have designed is driver discretion, specifically getting information out through iPhones, Androids or tablets. We need to be able to eliminate any type of driver distraction by giving graphics or maps or anything to the driver. The applications that we developed will have an additional application that will lock down any type of use directly with the driver. You will only be able to get information if you stop. The dynamic route guidance will be able to give audio alerts to the driver, specifically if there is a better route. Right now, we're focusing on how all applications will be locked down in the movement process.

I want to give you a quick overview of the components that I have just talked about and how they will be used in the operations scenario. This is specifically focused on Kansas City. The four components that we talked included the intermodal exchange, IMEX, which was a data sharing capability. The second component was the Wireless Drayage Updating (WDU), where we are sending information directly to the user through smartphones or tablets. The third was the Real Time Traffic Monitoring (RTTM) piece, getting the information from the traffic management centers, third party data, and bringing that information together as part of the sharing process. The final component was the Dynamic Route Guidance (DRG), where we move the operator through the network and give better routes as they are proceeding.

We're looking at specifically at a map of Kansas City, where we initiated the test. In the map, we have identified specific areas where data needs to be exchanged. In this case it is two terminals that need to be addressed. We bring that information together in the Intermodal Exchange, where we identify the freight to be moved. We then send this information out directly to the carriers, or we can send it directly to the dispatchers, or we can send it out through the Wireless Drayage Update the operator it themselves. As we start the move through the network, we get real-time traffic information, construction, anything that would be part of a route as we move through it. Finally, as the driver moves through the route, we are giving additional information about weather, truck scales, permitting, truck parking, and any information that will be pertinent to the driver. Again, this information as he is moving is designed to be moved out through audio files. Finally, when the driver gets to the terminal, he'll be picking up information about what has to be picked up, what has to be moved to the next terminal, and when they arrive at the next terminal, we also give information on what needs to be picked up. This could be specifically at the freight terminal or it could be within the vicinity of that particular terminal. As the driver moves through again, we continually give information and throughout the route to the final destination.

That is a quick overview of the FRATIS application, and now I'd like to turn it back to Jennifer. She is going to bring up Roger's presentation on the results of our tests in Kansas City.

Jennifer Symoun

Thank you, Randy. Our next presentation will be given by Roger Schiller of Cambridge Systematics.

Roger Schiller
Thank you, Jennifer and Randy. I'll be talking about the results of our evaluation of the Cross-Town Improvement Project.

We are wrapping up the project right now, and the report should be published by the middle of next month. I'm just going to go over the overall results of the evaluation and the lessons learned for FRATIS.

To begin, here's just a little bit about our evaluation methodology and what we did. For the real-time traffic management and the dynamic route guidance applications in Kansas City, we compared actual travel times, which we got from GPS positional records provided by in-cab iPhones, and compared those to predicted travel times over the network, which those two applications projected for those particular routes. We wanted to see how much time was saved or expected to be saved with real-time traffic management and dynamic route features. We also looked at route compliance in terms of what proportion of trips drivers were actually following via the routes that were recommended by RTTM and DRG. We looked at the time savings versus the default route prediction.

In terms of the intermodal move exchange, the IMEX piece, there was a simulation done in Kansas City and another one in Chicago. As it turned out, the railroads had limited participation in the test, so we had to do a simulation for IMEX instead of an operational test. With the simulation, we were able to at least find out what the potential number of matched loads would have been between different rail terminals between the cities, and that is equal to the potential bobtail reduction. Based on that information, we were able to calculate how many empty miles were eliminated and how much fuel was saved using the standard truck and MPG factors. There were also a couple of drayage optimization tests in Kansas City and Chicago, and for those, we calculated the bobtail reduction month over month after the introduction of C-TIP-enabled smartphones. Again, fuel savings is based on empty trips eliminated. For all of the above items, we calculated emissions reductions using EPA moves model factors for the Kansas City region, based on different speed bins and different pollutants. Finally, we did a Delphi study to assess the scalability of C-TIP up to a theoretical Chicago deployment, and I'll talk a little bit more about that at the end.

This is an example of the RMI Vantage performance monitoring tool we used to evaluate some of the C-TIP components. Vantage is this intelligence tool used by intermodal rail terminals to track changes in real time and terminal performance metrics. We adapted it to use in the evaluation, so this is an example of a dashboard that we generated using the package. It is for a particular route moving from a BNSF rail terminal to a store called Musician's Friend. Starting the top left-hand set of gauges, there were 19 trips recorded on that particular route during the test, 6 of which were redirected onto a better alternate route. On the right-hand side of the slide, the redirections typically occurred 2 minutes after trip departure, and the average projected time from the point of redirect was 23 minutes. By taking the alternate route, the driver saved an average of 7 minutes in travel time. In terms of travel time accuracy, the projected travel time was within 10% of the actual travel time on about 67% of those trips. The drivers followed the redirections 83% of the time, so there was pretty good route compliance on this particular route.

Here are the overall results for each of the tested components, and this is a lot of information to digest. Basically, each row represents a component of the test. On the far right-hand side, three or four columns are the actual results that we have attained. For the first row there, that was the IXT Drayage Optimization test in Kansas City that ran from June to August of last year. In terms of productivity, we achieved 13% bobtail reduction, 8% emissions reduction, and 121 gallons of fuel savings. Similarly, for Pride Logistics, which was a participant in the Chicago Drayage Optimization test, there was a 52% reduction in bobtails using an automated dispatch system that they developed using the C-TIP open source architecture package. They saved 189 gallons of fuel that way.

For Dynamic Route Guidance, on average, across all of the Kansas City intermodal lanes, we measured a 21% travel time improvement and a 10% emissions reduction. For RTTM, there was an average 19% travel time improvement and a 6% emissions reduction. For the two simulations that we did for IMEX, you can see very quickly that Chicago is a bigger intermodal market, so the potential for reduction there was a lot bigger. It was almost 17,000 empty trips eliminated and nearly 6,900 gallons of fuel.

This is a little more detailed information about the Kansas City drayage test. For each month during the baseline operational test period, you can see the number of bobtail trips in the first column and the percentage change from month to month. We also tried to measure the level of business: what was the number of revenue loads that IXT had during this time period (IXT is the drayage company that ran the test for us). What you can see is that the phones were introduced in the beginning of July. There were four phones, and then there were twelve in August. We saw a 6% reduction in bobtail in July and an 8% reduction in August. The revenue loads fell slightly in the July, but not by as much as the bobtails did, and then they rise a little bit in August. Basically, the business level stayed the same, but the bobtails were reduced by about 13% total over those 2 months.

This is a little more on the Chicago drayage optimization with pride logistics. In this particular one, June through August was the baseline and September was the operational test.

You can see there were improvements on all of the key metrics in September; the bobtail miles and the percentage of bobtail miles fell by about half. Bobtail trips fell by 53%, 58% in August, and 28% in September, even though the total trips actually rose a little bit. The total percentage of trips in bobtail, in other words, the asset utilization, that metric improved for them based on a dispatch application that they developed.

These are the aggregated emissions reductions that we calculated for the real-time traffic management and the dynamic route guidance in Kansas City. These are aggregated across all the intermodal lanes that we evaluated. We modeled based on what we think would have happened using our EPA factors. The carbon monoxide was reduced by 10%, oxides of nitrogen by 8%, and volatile organic compounds by 10%. We measured greenhouse gases in terms of carbon dioxide equivalents, and those fell by a little over 8%. Both particulate matter and fine particulates fell by around 14% on those particular intermodal lanes.

The final part of the evaluation was a Delphi study. Delphi is a qualitative research technique where you conduct an iterative poll of subject matter experts. We assembled a panel of 15 individuals from the dray trucking, intermodal rail, and steamship line industries and asked them to evaluate a theoretical Chicago deployment. You gather answers from people and circulate the answers anonymously among the panelists so they can see contrasting viewpoints or different opinions and they can revise their responses accordingly. The idea is to try to achieve some level of consensus. We did the Delphi in two rounds. We achieved pretty significant consensus on most of the key metrics that we asked them to look at. In general, the panelists agreed that RTTM and DRG could save up to 10% of travel time per trip on average if they were fully implemented in Chicago, and the bobtails might be reduced by 15% or more. Obviously, those proportions would represent a lot of trucks in a market like Chicago.

So what did we learn from all of this? C-TIP was a successful proof of concept. We did find some measurable benefits in terms of congestion mitigation, emissions reduction and truck travel time savings. Technology can address some of these negative externalities that are associated with the cross-town delivery of freight.

Having said that, there were some operational limits to the Kansas City test. Like I mentioned before, the railroads had limited participation, so we had to do a simulation of the IMEX component of C-TIP. On a broader level, we found that the industry may lack the collaborative mentality needed to make a cooperative dispatch platform work. There was some resistance to opening up the dispatch platform to any trucking company in Kansas City that wanted to pick up a load. The railroads tend to have contractual arrangements or preferred carriers and they want to keep their loads with those carriers.

Another conclusion was that future work in this field should leverage recent private sector advances in traveler information. As an example, there are already some dynamic route guidance applications for smartphones that you can get for passenger vehicles, so a logical extension of that would be to extend that kind of capability to the freight environment, which has some unique operational constraints that don't really affect passenger vehicles.

That is the end of my presentation. I will turn it back over to Jennifer.

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you, Roger. We are going to move on to our next presentation, given by Jerry Wood of the Gateway Cities Council of Governments. Jerry, you may go ahead.

Jerry Wood
Thank you, Jennifer. This is a presentation I put together for ITS California a couple of months ago. It's very dense, and I'm not going to cover everything. You will be able to look at this at a later date to get into some of those details.

Who is Gateway Cities and why are we interested in goods movement? We are located in southeast Los Angeles County, with two ports that anchor us at the south. We represent 27 cities in the yellow area, Council of Governments, 2.2 million people; we would be the fifth-largest city in the United States if we were all one city. We're really the epicenter for goods movement for Southern California and perhaps for the nation, anchored at the south end by the ports of Long Beach and LA. We're about 45% of the imports that come into the country. The I-710 Corridor, which goes right through Gateway Cities, is the primary corridor for trucks. We work very closely with a lot of partners, including the ports, OCTA, MTA, Caltrans, and others because of the magnitude of our problem.

What I really want everyone to understand is why we're so engaged with goods movements. This is a diagram that basically shows how complex and complicated it is. As indicated by the previous presenters, it is interestingly complex. Because of the two ports, we have it all: railroads, trucks, trains, ships, the whole enchilada, and once again, we are kind of the epicenter of goods movement.

I have been involved with transportation in southeast Los Angeles County for the last 7 or 8 years. As I tell people, the more I get involved in logistics, the less I understand it. It really is about getting information for these folks to try to help them.

The logistics industry in southeast Los Angeles County is extremely robust. Currently, the two ports produce about 13 or 14 million TEU units a year. They're headed towards 43 million in 2035. That would result currently in about 140,000 truck trips around the ports, and about 80-95 of those truck trips end up on our 710 Freeway, so it's a significant issue for Gateway Cities and something that we are in the process of addressing.

This basically shows some of the goods movement logistics and locations centered around the 710 with the ports at the south end and rail yards along the corridor'the Alameda Corridor, the Rail Corridor, and off-dock rail yards further inland. We have literally hundreds of millions of warehouses and distribution centers and a lot of truck traffic.

This basically defines our problem on the 710. This is the famous picture of all the truck traffic on the 710 that we have on the project. We're in the process of doing an EIR/EIS for improving the 710 from the ports all the way to the freeway, about 18 miles. We're in the middle of doing an environmental document right now that would widen this freeway from currently 6 or 8 lanes to 14 lanes, including the first designated freight corridor over most of this length from the ports up to the rail yards.

This is basically to give you some background on the 710 EIR/EIS. That document will be in circulation in about 2 months as a draft. It includes a variety of different aspects of goods movement. Once again, we will have to accommodate about 80,000 to 90,000 trips a day on the 710 and in the freight corridor general purpose lanes, so we have a serious issue there.

Here's a little more detail about the 710 project. Communities around the 710 are supportive of the project and have asked us to separate the cars from the trucks as much as possible. In order for the 710 freight corridor to be successful, it is going to have to rely heavily on transportation technology.

There are many different aspects to transportation Gateway Cities. This is a map that shows Gateway Cities and all of the different projects that we are working on. There are a lot of things going on. Included in all of this pizza pie is the transportation technology component. If we cannot get transportation technology to work for us and provide successful information to all of the logistics industry, we will not have all of these other projects because they will not work as efficiently. We're working on a transportation strategic plan for all of these different projects, which we hope to have completed sometime this year, and it includes looking at things that are missing such as getting funding for all of these projects that we have underway. We do have some money, only a few billion dollars, but that is not nearly enough to finish what we need to do.

Transportation technology is a key component. We realized early on, about five years ago, that without a lot of transportation technology providing information on logistics movement, we will not have successful project implementation for physical improvements. This describes the various elements of our transportation technology plan and why we got interested in it a couple of years ago.

That happened back in 2008. We finished an ITS integration plan, but I won't go into a lot of detail. At a point in time, about 4-5 years ago, we identified 14 discrete ITS projects that we need to implement to have a technology plan for goods movement. Our goal for Gateway Cities, representing the communities in Gateway Cities, is to see if we can reduce truck trips. Want to reduce that by 10 or 15% to help everybody with air pollution as well as congestion.
We finished this in 2008. We're now proceeding with an ITS implementation plan, outlined here on the left. It basically shows all of the different elements that we're looking at. I'm not going to go into a lot of detail on this, but as you can see, it's very complicated. It requires a lot of coordination with the logistics industry and bringing all of these elements together. We're currently in the process of developing feasibility studies for each one of these programs that are going to get pulled together in a concept of operation and business plan, hopefully by this summer. Once again, down in the right-hand corner is our goal: to make goods movement more efficient and help the logistics industry reduce the number of truck trips, which would be a wonderful thing for us when you're dealing with potentially 140,000 truck trips per day in the future. It also includes a truck enforcement component.

We have identified these 13 feasibility studies, and they're grouped into these different groups. The feasibility study areas are data collection, transportation operations and management, emerging goods movement technology applications, I-710 freight corridor advances technologies, which is one of our major focuses, and also commercial vehicle operations for truck enforcement. Right now, we do not have any currently operating truck enforcement facilities within Gateway Cities and we have a lot of overweight trucks.

We are expecting that we will be able to pull all this together in an ITS implementation plan, a concept of operations, and a business plan, to be completed by later this year to basically pull all of these diverse elements together and to develop a much more efficient logistics industry.

This is Long Beach and our two ports in this graphic, and it shows the various elements of the ITS implementation plan that we're going to be pulling together into our concept of operations, as indicated down in the left hand corner, and also our business plan to be able to start actually implementing some of this information. This is a graphic that basically helps explain to our elected officials in particular about how these various things might work together out there in the real-world.

One of the things that we did early on in the ITS integration plan, and I would encourage everybody to do this, is form a private/public sector collaboration, which we call the ITS Working Group. We did this in 2008 and it has continued. To get the public and private sector to get together in a room and talk about their issues with respect to transportation technology and goods movement is one of the most successful things that we have done. We really got a great collaboration, which continues on from the ITS integration plan into our ITS implementation plan. People are actually hungry to cooperate, so we started to have that.

These are some examples of ITS things that we're going to be implementing with 140,000 truck trips a day. We're not possibly going to be able to inspect and weigh them every day, so we're going to have to have a virtual weigh in motion, and we will have some permanently operating truck inspection facilities. We're going to have to do an awful lot at freeway speeds to weigh and inspect these trucks, because there is no way that you can inspect the number of trucks that we are having on the system. This indicates where we are headed with respect to this virtual system that other people of implemented around the country.

Because the Gateway Cities are so large and the ports are so large, we're going to put in a commercial vehicle enforcement network of monitoring stations on the freeways and perhaps highways around Gateway Cities so we can capture all of the trucks and see what is going on out there with respect to weight as well as other issues with inspection.

One of the more interesting aspects of the 710 freight corridor that I mentioned earlier is the electrification, and one of the things that we're looking at is a fully automated electrified freight corridor based around trucks. We are in the process of working together with other groups to start developing those types of trucks. We looked at some other aspects of potential goods movement ideas and for now are based around zero emissions trucks with potential to divert it to some sort of fixed guide way in the future. Unfortunately, with 13 or 14 terminals to ports, and the thousands of destinations where we leave, it probably will continue to be based around trucks. We will not go into details about the pros and cons of zero emission trucks, but we are very much committed to it and are analyzing the air quality benefits of zero emission trucks and other technology applications. I wanted to highlight one thing down in the right hand corner about automated tuning of trucks. With a four-lane freight corridor, there is no way that we can handle 80,000 truck trips a day, so we're going to have to look at platooning of trucks, automating it, and there may also be a toll facility there, to process this many trucks'a conveyor belt of trucks, as I call it'in this automated freight corridor. That's just another aspect of technology that we have to use.

Our next 10 years for Gateway Cities is to complete the technology plan for goods movement, which should be done virtually in a draft form this summer. We will develop a business plan towards the end of the year, basically to talk about how to not only to build this thing but to operate and maintain it. We will start setting some priorities. We will continue to research transportation technologies development and implementation; for example, we recently held a two day vendor showcase, and it was really an eye-opener. Since 2008 when we did the other integration plan, transportation technology has exploded, and things that we thought were going to be difficult to do, a lot of private companies are now doing it. We're also continuing to reach out to the private sector. We have a group called the Harbor Trucking Association and we're doing a survey to try to find out exactly what information they need to become more efficient. That is turning out to be a very good program, and without their cooperation, we're not going to be able to have a successful program. The next thing to do, once we pull all of this together this year, is to begin to implement ITS projects that make sense, that we can slowly bring in the private sector on and slow them some benefits and build on partnerships with those folks that I have listed there, and then finalize our funding sources, including operations and maintenance. We have some very nice traffic management centers throughout Gateway Cities that are not staffed. We are very concerned about being able to make sure that we have the capital as well as the operations and maintenance funding source.

That is a very quick presentation. I covered a lot of information, and I will turn it over to the next presenter. I'm glad to answer any questions.

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you, Jerry. Our final presentation will be given by Dan Pallme of the University of Memphis.

Dan Pallme
Thank you, Jennifer. Randy asked me to speak from an industry perspective, so all of my comments are geared more toward industry and how all of these different slides affect the industry.

First and foremost, it is really important that we get everybody together from the industry, government, local, regional, State and federal agencies. A prime example of that was a meeting held this year in November that Randy's group headed up. They got the MPOs, government and industry all in a room and went through some of these processes and different ways to help out the industry, be more competitive, as well as what the industry is looking for that the government can help them out with to the next level.

The common goals in all of these have been mentioned before in the previous presentations. Congestion mitigation is one of the most important things; if we can do anything to reduce the numbers, that is good for the environment, it is good for the people on the roadways from a safety factor, and what have you. As I always like to put it, the fuel and savings in emissions reduction on environmental concerns is tremendously important to everyone in the future and, quite frankly, it's the right thing to do. If you look at it from a company's perspective, bottom line is they're looking at it from a profitability standpoint, so everything that they can do to help them manage with the data and to be more efficient is what they are going to do.

The next couple of slides are the current and future benefits from an industry perspective. As you can from Roger's slides, there were definitely improvements from using some of these FRATIS and C-TIP project numbers. The real numbers, if you match with the data, means more profitability for the companies. Additionally, from a safety perspective, if you reduce the amount of bobtails and go loaded - loaded, it should have a direct correlation with the amount of traffic, thus improving safety.

I put dynamic truck routing on here. One of the things that I do not think was mentioned is that obviously there is technology out there today to avoid certain locations, and any GPS will tell you. Do not forget that in the truckers' world, to my knowledge, there is not any software out there that says get off at the next exit and it may not be a truck route. Then what do you have? You have another barrier of movement and congestion because the truck cannot go on that route and/or jeopardize from a safety perspective.

Finally, probably the biggest point on here is real dollars to drayage firms. Not 100% of the time, but typically, as the numbers show on Roger's slides, if a specific truck is moving loaded miles, he typically gets paid loaded more loaded miles than empty. Not to go into all of the details, but obviously then, every individual truck driver or owner/operator would rather run more loaded miles than empty miles because the driver pay is affected. That leads to driver retention factor, and obviously in 2011, I think in the industry, the latest numbers showed 90% turnover rate in most trucking companies. If the drivers are making more money, then they stay put and they do not look elsewhere for employment. The best thing about this is that it is scalable and transferable to different companies, and you can duplicate these efforts in many more cities that have all of the different issues and problems going on. Finally, you have to manage with the data. Everybody in today's society everyone knows that data is the key to success in the long term and you have to listen to it.

The future benefits: obviously, money is tight, and there is no funding out there for huge capital infrastructure, so anything we can do to reduce the number of trucks and/or the number of variables on the roadway will only have improvement to the relief of congestion. I would say that from a driver shortage, there are 1,000 different numbers out there, if you're looking at it. The economy has helped with this and not exasperated the problem that was predicted a few years ago of having a 200,000 shortage of truck drivers; now I think they estimate 110,000 by 2013. It is still an issue that we must be very competitive from an industry perspective of keeping everyone moving with the least number of drivers on the road.

Adding to that, you can throw all of these numbers that I'm sure several of you people are aware of, the aging workforce, I think one out of every six truck driver are over 55, and depending on which report you read, the average age of a truck driver is anywhere between 48 and 52. We still have to take note of the driver shortage that is coming up. Obviously, the requirements are not getting any easier from a trucking perspective. The pay and benefits will continue to rise, which should help put more drivers in the seats. I think it is where you important, I always call it the green aspect, obviously everyone has the environmental concerns, but also the companies are looking into different kind of green, and the strong will survive. If you manage with that and you can reduce the amount of empty miles, it only adds to the bottom line of the company, so it is extremely important to realize that going forward.

Finally, the University of Memphis has several research opportunities and we're always looking for things like this. Once you start talking to companies and showing them the bottom line on some of these numbers and savings in dollars and cents to them, the companies will invest in systems to make it easier for them and to have the edge, reduce turnover and, make more profit.

I noticed that on the attendee list, it's mostly public entities out there on the attendee list: continue to get with private business and listen to their concerns so that the future of our infrastructure will be lean and mean.

Question & Answer

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you. That actually concludes our presentation portion of today, so we're now going to start the question-and-answer session with the questions that have been posted online. I encourage you to keep posting questions as you think of them. If you could help me by indicating which presenter your question is for, that would help me direct it to the right person. If we have time, we will open up the phone lines for question

The first question we have is for Roger. For the few-month tests, are there seasonal factors to take into account?

Roger Schiller
I am assuming that the person that asked the question is asking about the drayage optimization tests in Kansas City and Chicago. I think there could be some seasonality in the movement patterns that we see there. I think it is a little more evident in the Chicago test. There was a spike in the total number of loads from August to September, and, as I understand it, the Christmas season for logistics anyway starts around August or thereabouts. I think there is some seasonality there. What we were mainly trying to do was evaluate what the total level of business was and how did these key metrics like the bobtail miles and the number of trips with bobtail status changed during the test. I'm not sure seasonality would necessarily affect that. If anything, there could be even more bobtails probably in the peak season because there are more trips going on, so more opportunity to drive back empty without knowing about a better load opportunity

Jennifer Symoun
Can you expand on the challenges & successes in incorporating port gate processing info?

Roger Schiller
For the Intermodal Move Exchange simulations, we obtained gate move data from the participating railroads in Kansas City, which were Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific, and BNSF. For Chicago, we got gate move data moving between two railroads, a western one and an eastern one, Union Pacific and the CSX.

In terms of what were the challenges and successes, I guess one of the biggest challenges was getting the data. The people that were working on the C-TIP implementation were former railroad employees themselves, so they already knew the people to contact, and more importantly, the railroad people already knew them. That made it a little less intimidating for somebody in the intermodal railroad industry to show the information. I think that helped. In terms of actual challenges with the data that we received from the railroads, it was surprisingly detailed. We got a lot of great information like the time the container was in-gated, the ID number for each container and what they were doing in the terminal, and things like that. I guess the weakness was when we actually out-gated, because as I understand it, most terminals do not necessarily care when a truck or a load out-gate; they are more interested in the in-gate operations. That was a challenge and we had to make some assumptions such as a certain container in-gated at one terminal and then in-gated at another one across town an hour later. We knew it must've of out-gated 30 minutes before, and you have to make some assumptions based on that, about when the load actually out-gated. That was pretty much the biggest challenge associated with the gate move data that we got.

Jerry Wood
At the ports, the number one issue that truckers have identified for us is actually the wait time at the terminals, getting in and getting out, but mostly getting in. The showcase we had last week showed me that the technology is evolving to provide this information exchange while the trucks are in line so that they can automate it as much as possible when they get to the gates plus provide information to the trucking companies about the wait times so they know whether it is a TV monitor or some other method. That's one of the things that they asked us to help them solve. They asked me to try to influence the terminal operators in their operation; I cannot do that, but we can get them information. If they can determine, for example, that the wait time at some terminals are too long and they have another opportunity to pick up another container at our terminals, then they can make a decision. It's about providing them with this information and making the wait time as efficient as possible. Part of our ITS implementation plan will develop some techniques and we have some encouraging stuff from the private sector that we saw last week that might be able to do that in a very efficient fashion.

Randy Butler
I would also like to make a comment about the data. When we were getting the data from the railroads specifically, we had to assign a nondisclosure that was for competitive information within the data, but it was a very extensive processing getting data to support these applications, and that is why we really need to understand the relationship between the benefits and what we're trying to accomplish here with the private sector. As we started to show more of our benefits throughout the C-TIP tests, we got a little bit more cooperation, specifically from the drayage companies. They really saw the benefits of applying these applications and they had no problem sharing the data once they understood the benefits.

Jennifer Symoun
The next question is for Jerry. Could you explain how you would go about platooning trucks?

Jerry Wood
We do not know that yet; we're trying to figure that out. The platooning concept has been demonstrated down in San Diego where they put a bunch of cars operating at 60 miles an hour on one of the freeways. There's classic picture of the drivers with their hands out of the window and they're all moving along at 60 miles an hour, and the cars are all 10-15 feet apart. We have so many trucks regardless of what happens at the port, and the ultimate capacity is that in order for the corridor to handle all of trucks, we have to get them to operate 40 miles an hour or so, but closer together. The platooning concept is something we're looking at with radar, or vehicle to vehicle or vehicle to road, maybe turning the operation of that over to a computer so the trucks could operate efficiently and close together. We have not seen that technology yet. We have a drayage operation in Southern California where we have a truck with a different chassis and a different container every couple of hours, so it presents some unique challenges. We are going to figure something out because this has to be the mother of invention; we cannot process the number of trucks we have in the freight corridor without doing some sort of concept like that to increase the throughput. We will get back to you and let you know, and hopefully within three or four months we will have some ideas about how to do that.

Jennifer Symoun
Is electrified truck parking part of Gateway Cities' design for the corridor?

Jerry Wood
Truck parking is a problem for the Gateway Cities. The answer is sort of. One of the things that we are developing right now are some permanently operating truck enforcement facilities near the two ports, which would also include providing truck parking near. At that truck parking location, something that has been done in the past is refueling stations or electrification where trucks could plug in if they are battery operated. Right now, we do not know what type of trucks we're going to have or what type of systems are going to be used for electrification: it could be system embedded in the pavement, hydrogen fuel cells, battery operated. We have all kinds of different trucks. The challenge for Gateway Cities and the trucking industry is that everybody makes a decision about their type of truck, and so we are trying to figure out the backbone infrastructure system that will allow that to happen, including through dispatch companies. It's required as part of the cleaner action plan for ports to provide truck parking on-site, which takes up a lot of room. We may have to help them with the cost if we do go to some sort of battery operated or hydrogen fuel cell or however it works out at the fueling station to help make that possible. I've heard different stories about whether a battery operated heavy-duty truck is even possible. We're trying to figure out all of these different elements and bring it together, which includes trying to figure out where and how to park these trucks.

We have some concerns, some serious issues about truck parking in our communities and we need to find out where the trucks can park safely, let them know there is space available, and perhaps provide some services that are not currently provided at these facilities. We're still trying to figure that out. It's going to be an interesting year to bring all of these different diverse elements together in a comprehensive plan. Stay tuned.

Jennifer Symoun
There are three questions in here for you, Jerry. How does the COG fund the ITS Plan for Goods Movement? Do ITS improvements compete with infrastructure projects? Is the ITS Plan fully funded?

Jerry Wood
For the first question, the ITS Plan for goods Movement was a funded by earmarks that we got a couple of years ago, and we are using that to match our own funds. That has been our source for the ITS plan.

ITS projects will compete with the infrastructure projects. Because of a sales tax initiative that was passed a couple of years ago, Gateway Cities actually has a few billion dollars that is allocated for our projects, which can include ITS. Therefore, it is important for us to finish the ITS implementation plan, figure what the costs are, and then figure out how to fund those costs once we get all of the capital. We do not even know what the costs are. We do believe we will have significant dollars to get things started, and hopefully we will rely on our friends like Randy and others to help us do that, or there will be private source of funding. We may find out that some of these ITS programs provide such great information that we may be able to get some subscribers to do that. That is why the business plan component of the ITS implementation plan is so important to get the cost and then figure out exactly how we're going to fund it using our source of funding right now as well as other State, Federal and regional funds. We will know more about that later this year.

Jennifer Symoun
Is it data on wait times at ports publicly available?

Jerry Wood
Not at this point in time. The 13 or 14 terminals that we have at the two ports operate independently, and it is like word-of-mouth. Believe me, the dispatchers know exactly what is going on that, but it changes every day, so right now it is not currently publicly available, and could be somewhat controversial. If we could figure out a way that it benefits all people'toll operators benefit because they're matching trucks and containers and they're utilizing less equipment on-site to move containers around, we have to develop a win-win situation that makes sense. I don't think it is much of an issue with technology as it is with implementation. The infrastructure of the private sector cooperation, as mentioned by some of the other speakers, is extremely important and we always try to answer the question: what is in it for them? I do not think we will have a successful ITS plan unless they see the cost savings or efficiency improvement and that kind of stuff. That is not currently available.

Dan Pallme
On the wait times, almost all railroads will gather that data and they try to keep track of that data on a ramp by ramp specific basis if you are at a certain location (again, I'm speaking about railroads in particular). Almost all railroads have that and they have it because they want to show that their times are in fact better than what the industry thinks. The one caveat to that to be careful on is that wait is typically based upon cameras at the point where the driver gets to the gate not based upon queues, so I would take the data, but you have to be careful on that data.

Jerry Wood
The question is not just about the wait time, it's also about the processing time, and we have started to see this information and we need to get this information exchange done prior to getting to the gate so it becomes quick as possible to get to the gate. That really is the number one issue for our truckers around Southern California is at the terminals in particular, but also at the railroads. The railroads are much more progressive thinking. We have some very large intermodal yards and they are customizing those to use technology to process the trucks as quickly as possible. We're hoping to get that into comprehensive program for both ends of that deal'the terminals, the ports, as well as the railroads.

Jennifer Symoun
We have a question for Randy. What freight network performance metric can be created using FRATIS data and how does FHWA plan to measure it across the primary freight network proposed in MAP-21?

Randy Butler
I think specifically, we're looking at travel times, and how we can supplement some of the work we are doing now with travel times. Our current work is focused more on roads, I think FRATIS can give metropolitan area travel times and performance measures related to moving through congested areas and how that affects their overall performance and logistics.

Jennifer Symoun
We do have one more question that just came into the chat area. Randy, I will direct this to you, but it is can jump in. Could you talk a bit more about next step toward data?

Randy Butler
Right now, we're in the process of developing a concept of operations for the two. For the last four months, we have been conducting the intermodal technology group sessions and we have had sessions in Dallas, Memphis, Los Angeles, and Seattle, and yesterday we completed the first one in Miami. This has been the process of gathering the user needs to support FRATIS going forward. Would like to complete the concept of operations by April and hopefully move into some type of test environment by this summer and start forward with more drayage optimization tests and guidance routing and pulling all this information together into the advanced traveler portal that we are developing. In the process of doing this concept of operations, we looked specifically at other technologies that are available today that we can incorporate into the test. We're particularly looking for an open-source and open architecture type technology that we can integrate into our mobility applications. That is kind of the extent of where we are going right now with FRATIS. More to come, and hopefully we will have the final document of the concept of operations.

Jennifer Symoun
For Jerry, what was the most difficult obstacle you face for implementation? How have you prioritized your recommendations?

Jerry Wood
We have not really prioritized the ITS implementation plan. Our situation is so complicated that it is really going to be a challenge to set priorities and begin to roll stuff out. Randy and I have talked about this: crawl, walk, and then run from the perspective of the technology plan. One of the things that we have found with the private industry is if it does not work, the quickly drop it. We have had to figure out a way to roll this out to make sense to them. I cannot answer that question right now, but once again, stay tuned and hopefully by this summer or fall we will have a plan pulled together that makes sense and will provide the information. It is not about technology; it is about information and cooperation between the public sector and the private sector. This may serve to get them information and to make them use it and make them more efficient. Stay tuned, but I cannot answer the question now, fortunately.

Jennifer Symoun
As a follow-up to that, how are you analyzing the recommendations to assure optimal corridor performance?

Jerry Wood
Once again, we have to figure that out. What amazed me since we finished the ITS integration plan for goods movement is the explosion in available transportation information. Once we get the ITS implementation plan or the technology plan for goods movement, we will have some performance measures built into the program so we will understand, as happened in Kansas City, is this working, what are the benefits, etc. We will have to build that into the program. That is part of the business plan, measuring performance and optimization to be doing a good job, and we've got some good examples there from the work that the getting Kansas City. We will build off of that. We want to use what other people have done and figure out exactly whether what we're proposing to do is doing any good. We're not quite there yet. I apologize that I cannot answer these questions right now, but later this year, we should be able to put a program together so we can figure out how we're going to implement it and how we're going to monitor the performance, and whether we are we doing any good.

Jennifer Symoun
Question for Dan. Do you have any other suggestions on where to find data related to performance of the national freight network? I am aware of -- that perhaps there are other views that are helpful.

Dan Pallme
Not really. Just by Googling and what have you, but I do not know anything of the top of my head.

Jennifer Symoun
With the fast pace of technological innovation and the proprietary nature of freight carrier data, what does the industry see as government's role in improving efficiency of logistics chains?

Jerry Wood
I think we're answering that question with the trucker surveys and other information about what information they need to become more efficient. We've been talking to some of the FHWA staff about a freight traffic management center which would become the clearinghouse for information, and people can then access it, utilize it, and provide information that will benefit their operation. It really is about information, data, and how they can utilize that information to benefit them. For example, for wait times at the terminal gates, Terminal A versus Terminal B, right now, the dispatcher has a choice between the two and if he knows ahead of time that the wait time at Terminal A is a couple of hours versus Terminal B, which is five minutes, then he might go to Terminal B. It is about providing information, keeping proprietary information proprietary, but finding a way to provide them with information in a secure way so that they can provide information back. Frankly, they know where their trucks are now. All of the newer trucks have GPS. We know where their trucks are, too. All of that information is readily available. We do not know whose truck it is, but it is basically about finding a form in which to provide that kind of specific information. They have very specific needs, such as how do I get from the port to that warehouse before close at 5 PM? Once again, I apologize if I cannot answer those questions, but hopefully within the next six months we will put together this program of information sharing that will make some sense everybody.

Jennifer Symoun
Randy, do you see a role for the employment of information technology standards? If so, how might that be considered?

Randy Butler
Yes, definitely. Standards play a huge role in sharing data. This is a challenge that we have had over the industry in my 35 years of working in transportation. There are so many different platforms out there. The railroads really use a form of communication called EDI, which is electronic data interchange. Truck carriers use XLYS. It presents a tremendous problem out there with communicating with the trucks and communicating within the drivers, and as a result, we created the data sharing platform where we can share information, which is basically independent of the legacy systems. This is more of a web services type of environment where you are communicating, pushing and pulling. I think that standards play a huge part in that, setting the communications that we were not able to do before, being able to do those with standards of how the data is mapped to these applications and how the data is exchanged. Specifically, this will be the answer to really using the data sharing capability between the partners.

Jennifer Symoun
I will put this out of any of the presenters to address. Drivers are paid by the load versus hourly in most cases, and that can make for congestion at terminal entrances. Do you have any perspective on the use of reservation systems at terminals or rail yards and what are the costs and benefits?

Jerry Wood
That is one of our technology plans, or our silos of information, if you will, about the information system. Some providers say it has been successful, others say it has not been successful. Once again, is about information, and whether can be successful or not depends upon, in our case, 13 or 14 different terminals who have their own ideas on whether that can be used or not. Some terminals may decide to use a reservation system, others may not. Once again, it's about information. I think it is part of the solution ultimately, but how it unveils itself is yet to be determined.

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you all for attending today's seminar. The recorded version of this event will be available within the next few weeks on the Talking Freight website.

As a reminder, if you are an AICP member and would like to receive 1.5 Certification Maintenance credits for attending this seminar, please make sure you were signed in today with your first and last name or type your first and last name into the chat box if you are attending with a group of people. Please download the evaluation form and email it to me after you have completed it. Please also download the CM Credit instructions if you are unsure of how to obtain your credits for today's seminar.

The next seminar will be held on February15. This webinar is not currently available for registration but I will send a notice out through the Freight Planning LISTSERV once it is.

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Updated: 02/16/2012
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