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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

Wednesday, February 12, 2003
Contact: Susan Slye
Tel: 202-366-0660
FHWA 3-03

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mineta Announces Successful ITS Operational Test for Intermodal Freight

U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta today announced completion of a test for a federally sponsored intermodal freight operation project that could mean cost savings and security benefits for future freight movements.

"The Administration is committed to ensuring first-class security and efficient movement of freight into and within America," Secretary Mineta said. "The state-of-the-art ITS technologies employed in this operational test will play an important role in securing freight as it moves throughout the country."

The test was for a project formally known as the Electronic Supply Chain Manifest system (ESCM), jointly funded by the Department of Transportation's Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) program, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the state of Illinois, with technical assistance from DOT's Office of Intermodalism. The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), formerly the ATA Foundation, designed, managed and analyzed the system.

The test incorporated technologies that allow positive identification of the person responsible for the cargo and tracking capabilities for cargo movement within transportation modes as well as from one mode to another. The two modes involved in this test were primarily trucking and aviation, but the technologies have potential for rail and marine applications as well. More than 200 persons were enrolled in the system, representing almost 40 companies.

The ESCM project began almost two years before Sept. 11, 2001, and many of the ESCM components are being considered for use in transportation security. One of the more important findings of the project is that appropriately designed security systems can dramatically improve business processes.

In the case of the ESCM system, cost savings per transaction ranged from $1.50 to $3.50 depending on the kind of business, with greater benefits expected when combined with other business management systems. The ESCM's security system automatically matched cargo with handlers, "known shipper" information, and origin/destination data. Because shipments could be tracked along their journey, both security and customer service programs were enhanced.

The operational test final report is available on the DOT's ITS website: http://www.its.dot.gov. The ATRI Research Team's website is http://www.cargosafety.org and gives additional information on the ESCM system.


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