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

November 20, 2001

FHWA Announces New Technology Tests Designed to Facilitate Transportation Operations

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has awarded contracts for two operational tests that are designed to facilitate freight transportation and information processing. One test is focusing on the transmission of information and the movement of container chassis in and out of a port terminal. The other test focuses on transmission of data and information during drayage operations in and out of a port, as well as during transportation. Both tests seek to improve the processing of container chassis in a port, as well as sending improved information to state and local agencies to help improve their efforts to manage congestion.

The tests are a result of cooperative partnerships that have been formed between the public and private sectors through the Intermodal Freight Technology Working Group (IFTWG). Based on a recommendation from the first Intermodal Freight Technology workshop that was held in Reston, Virginia in 1998, the IFTWG was formed to examine how the application of technology could achieve increased efficiency and interoperability in transportation operations. The newly awarded operational tests are the result of the IFTWG examining tracking and location technology requirements, testing emerging technology and attempting to establish the business case for the application of technology to improve transportation operations.

"We are excited about these tests, the strong public/private cooperative partnerships which have been formed and the opportunity these tests provide in improving transportation operations across America," said Christine Johnson, director of the FHWA's Office of Operations. "We are hopeful that the results of these tests will provide us with informative and persuasive information we can use to improve the Nation's global competitiveness with our international trading partners."

The Asset and Cargo Visibility Test. The objective of this test is to improve the productivity of container and chassis usage by monitoring their movement between freight terminals and customers, to improve the staging of both to have them available when needed, and to provide immediate maintenance information to motor carriers so as to reduce movements of unsafe chassis. Another important aspect of this test is to demonstrate the "freight information highway" by providing freight and cargo information in a standard format and linking to a backbone information system for monitoring chassis movements and facilitating the pick-up and drop-off of containers in terminal yards. The American President's Line (APL) is the lead for this test and APL's partners include the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, PAR Government Systems Corporation, Trac Lease and Transcentric, a subsidiary of Union Pacific Corporation.

The Terminal Dray Operations Test. The objective of this test is to improve the cross-town movement of freight within the Chicago terminal area that can take from 3 to 5 days. Data about the container will be forwarded from a West coast marine terminal to a rail terminal in Chicago. As trains are loaded at the Port of Tacoma, the information will be shared with Chicago terminal as well as with drayage operations. Trucks will be staged to pick up containers as soon as they are available for movement to another rail line or to an end destination customer. For this test, the ATA Foundation is the lead for conducting Phase I of this test and participating stakeholders include SecurCom, Inc., Precient Development and the Port of Tacoma.

For further information on these tests, contact either Mike Onder or Lee Jackson of FHWA's Office of Freight Management & Operations or visit http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/opsANDsafe/itsops/opstest.htm on the Web.


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