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A Freight Analysis and Planning Model


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The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors, who are responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the information presented herein. The document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, in the interest of information exchange. The US Government assumes no liability for the contents or use thereof. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the US Department of Transportation or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.


We gratefully acknowledge the participation of staff members at the Southern California Association of Governments and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Data were provided by the Southern California Association of Governments and the California Department of Transportation. Guidance on data was provided by Prof. Qisheng Pan, Texas Southern University, and Prof. Jiyoung Park, University of Buffalo. This research grant provided partial support for the dissertation research of Dr. Jiangping Zhou.


This project links a newly developed method for estimating intra-metropolitan freight flows with a widely used transportation planning software to demonstrate its feasibility for sketch level regional transportation planning. We link the Argos planner, an automated computational workflow, with the TransCAD transportation planning software. The Argos planner was originally developed and tested with 2001 data for the Los Angeles Region; we updated to 2007 data. The updated model results were compared against the baseline model for the region. The linked system was used to test three different policy scenarios: reduction in international trade, shift of freight from truck to rail, and truck peak period pricing. The scenario results are plausible and demonstrate the utility of the model for sketch level planning. A user-friendly graphical interface was developed to allow easy use of Argos by practitioners. The linked model would require additional development to be useful in professional practice. The updating process is complex and requires expertise in both freight dynamics and regional economic modeling. The modeling approach is unconventional, so would require extensive training and technical assistance for use in public planning agencies.

Updated: 10/7/2011
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