Project Title

Performance Measures for Freight Transport and General Traffic: Investigating Similarities and Differences Using Alternative Data Sources

Collaborating Universities

Old Dominion University
1 Old Dominion University
Norfolk, VA 23529
757-683-3000
www.odu.edu

Principal Investigator(s)

Rajesh Paleti (ODU) - Email: rpaleti@odu.edu
Mecit Cetin (ODU) - Email: mcetin@odu.edu

Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization)

VCTIR: $71,967

Total Project Costs

$71,967 (State)

Start Date

02/06/15

Completion Date

05/24/15

Description

Efficient and reliable movement of freight is an essential and critical requirement for a vibrant economy. A significant percentage of freight (both in terms of volume and value) is moved on trucks along the national highway system. So, it is important to monitor the transportation network conditions to identify bottlenecks and take adequate measures to alleviate traffic congestion along the major freight corridors. Furthermore, it would be useful to examine if there are any significant differences between the spatial and temporal profiles of bottlenecks of the freight and general passenger traffic. Such comparisons are also important for understanding whether a congestion relief program for a given bottleneck or corridor would benefit both freight and general-purpose traffic. In this regard, the main objectives of this project are:

  1. Generate freight-specific and general-traffic performance measures (PMs) for select freight corridors in Hampton Roads region using three probe data sources -INRIX, HERE, and American Transportation Research Institute’s (ATRI’s) GPS data.
  2. Develop appropriate statistical methods to investigate the correlation between the freight and general traffic PMs based on probe-vehicle data
  3. Compare and identify similarities and differences between the characteristics of general and freight traffic

Implementation

The statistical methods and the research findings of the project will be summarized in a detailed technical report.  The study area of this project is the Hampton Roads region that has several freight-significant transportation corridors (for example, I-64, US 13, and US17). Moreover, Hampton Roads is also a major freight hub with more than 80% of the entire freight traffic being either inbound or outbound (instead of pass-through) due to three major port terminals in the region. Research findings regarding spatial and temporal profile of bottlenecks will be communicated to regional planning agencies including Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO), Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), and City of Norfolk.

Impacts

We will be using three different probe data sources – INRIX, HERE, and ATRI GPS data to undertake the analysis in this project. So, this research will help identify if there is merit in obtaining freight specific data streams from these private vendors. If the differences between passenger and freight travel times are not significant on certain corridors, there is no immediate need to obtain freight-specific data because general traffic is representative of the traffic conditions along these corridors. Alternatively, if passenger and freight travel times vary considerably on specific corridors, then there is a need to explore the reasons for these differences in greater detail. So, the study findings will aid efficient allocation of DOTs’ resources and can potentially result in significant cost savings.

Web Links to Reports and to the Project website