Washington State
Transportation Center (TRAC)

1107 NE 45th St, Suite 535
UW Mailbox: 354802
Seattle, WA 98105
Phone: 206.543.8690
Fax: 206.685.0767

Sloan Hall, Room 101
PO Box 642910
Pullman, WA 99164-2910
Phone: 509.335.3175
Fax: 509.335.7632

WSDOT Research Office
Transportation Building
Washington State Department
of Transportation
310 Maple Park Avenue SE
PO Box 47300
Olympia WA 98504-7300
Phone: 360.705.7000

Revised 23-Oct-2014 13:22
Washington State Transportation Center


Freight and Technology


Active Projects

Freight Demand Modeling and Data Improvement Stratetic Plan (SHRP 2 Local Freight Data)

Details of the behavior of food distribution supply chains in Washington state are poorly understood and limit WSDOT's ability to adequately support and plan for food distribution transportation activities. Although the industry's transportation, supply chain, and fleet characteristics are not well understood, the industry generates significant economic, environmental, and social impact. This project is collecting the data necessary to accurately model the behavioral responses of key state supply chains to different state policy scenarios aimed at reducing freight emissions and their impacts on the freight system in the state. It will also examine the interplay between policy scenarios and market fores driving key supply chains' involvement with the transition to natural gas fuels for freight systems. (2016)

Principal Investigator: Goodchild, A., UW
Research Manager: Brodin, D., WSDOT
Technical Monitor: Ivanov, B., WSDOT
Sponsor: WSDOT

NCHRP 08-98: Guide for Identifying Truck Freight Bottlenecks

As a subcontractor to Cambridge Systematics, TRAC researchers are providing assistance in reviewing current practices and measures used to identify, classify, and evaluate truck freight bottlenecks, as well as describing steps that have been taken to mitigate such bottlenecks. They will then lead the development of new, alternative approaches based on the use of GPS data for identifying truck freight bottleneck locations and analyzing the route variablity that occurs as truckers attempt to mitigate the effects of those bottlenecks. They will also identify areas of poor signal timing, special event-related congestion, hazardous materials routing delays, and border crossing delays and will support the investigation of various data sources that transportation professionals can use to identify the causes of bottlenecks. (2015)

Principal Investigators: Hallenbeck, M.E., Goodchild, A., UW
Technical Monitor: Jensen, M., Cambridge Systematics
Sponsors: NCHRP, Cambridge Systematics

Developing a System for Computing and Reporting MAP-21 and Other Freight Performance Measures

WSDOT must begin produce freight performance measures to meet its own needs as well as to respond to the upcoming MAP-21 federal performance reporting requirements. WSDOT needs the ability to measure freight performance on the Interstate system, to identify and quantify freight bottlenecks on the state highway network, and to measure freight movement performance on key freight economic corridors. This project is designing and testing a system to produce freight performance reports for WSDOT. The project is developing the procedures for computing the performance measures that WSDOT requires. The research team will work with WSDOT staff to obtain the necessary data files to produce the performance measures, identify the decisions that WSDOT must make to compute the required measures, produce the software for WSDOT's use, and produce an initial set of measures. (2015)

Principal Investigator: Hallenbeck, M.E., UW
Research Manager: Brodin, D., WSDOT
Technical Monitor: Ivanov, B., WSDOT
Sponsor: WSDOT

Prototype Development and Small-Scale Demonstration for Freight Advanced Traveler Information System (FRATIS)—South Florida

This USDOT-funded project is researching freight intelligent transportation system solutions in the South Florida region, a major freight gateway, to help alleviate congestion, pollution, and delays while promoting improved freight mobility. The purpose of the project is to develop a prototype Freight Advanced Traveler Information System (FRATIS) and then conduct a small-scale demonstration to assess the effectiveness and impacts of implementing a regional FRATIS. As a subcontractor to Cambridge Systematics, TRAC staff are helping to develop emergency preparedness and response activities for the FRATIS, which will consist of a smart phone application designed to collect and disseminate information related to traffic conditions, road closures, fuel availability, supply locations, and more. (2014)

Principal Investigator: McCormack, E.D., UW
Technical Monitor: Jensen, M., Cambridge Systematics
Sponsors: FHWA, Cambridge Systematics

Freight Commodity Flows

The goal of this project is to collect data to quantify and characterize the movement of commodities through specified freight corridors. Truck drivers will be surveyed when trucks stop during their trips. The investigators will develop a survey and conduct it in specified corridors four times over the course of a year. They will also develop a database that will allow them to analyze and characterize commodity flow for the specified corridors. Determining the commodity flow on corridors aids agencies in correctly prioritizing infrastructure investments and increases their ability to determine the quantitative impacts of congestion, regulation, and bottlenecks on a transportation system or supply chain.

Principal Investigator: Sage, J., WSU
Research Manager: Brodin, D., WSDOT
Technical Monitor: Knutson, R., WSDOT
Sponsor: WSDOT

US-395 North Freight Origin-Destination Economic Study

In this project, WSU researchers are working with the WSDOT Eastern Region Planning Office and the new Northeast Washington regional transportation planning office to conduct a freight origin-destination study for US 395 from the Stevens/Spokane county line to the Canadian border. Shippers and haulers operating on US 395 will be contacted and interviewed, and an intercept freight survey will be developed and administered at pre-determined sites and times in coordination with the Washington State Patrol. A database structure will be developed for the collected data. A GIS database will be developed to include commodity flows/values, origins=destinations, and freight generators. The information on the destination of the products carried, their origin, and their volume and value will be useful in prioritizing this corridor for future infrastructure investments.

Principal Investigator: Sage, J., WSU
Research Manager: Brodin, D., WSDOT
Technical Monitor: Kay, C., WSDOT
Sponsor: WSDOT

Select Completed Projects

Developing a Performance Measurement Approach to Benefit/Cost Freight Project Prioritization

To prioritize public investments in freight systems and to ensure consideration of the contribution of freight to overall system performance, states and regions need a better method for analyzing the freight benefits associated with proposed highway and truck intermodal improvements. To address that need, this project developed a data-supported framework to prioritize public investments in freight systems in Washington and Oregon. The project integrated two ongoing WSDOT-funded efforts, one to create methods for calculating the value of truck and truck-intermodal infrastructure projects and one to collect truck probe data from commercial GPS devices to create a statewide Freight Performance Measures (FPM) program. This integration will provide a framework that allows public agencies in the Pacific Northwest to quantify freight investment benefits in specific areas, such as major freight corridors and across borders. (2013)

Principal Investigators: Casavant, K./Sage, J., WSU; Goodchild, A./McCormack, E.D., UW
Research Manager: Brodin, D., WSDOT
Technical Monitor: Ivanov, B., WSDOT
Sponsors: WSDOT, PacTrans

NCHRP Project 31—Guidebook for Sharing Freight Transportation Data

As a subcontractor to Cambridge Systematics, TRAC researchers assisted in publishing a guidebook designed to facilitate freight data sharing, particularly between public sector agencies and private transportation firms that generate or control freight data. The researchers documented case studies, interviewed individuals involved with successful data sharing efforts, compiled lists of barriers and motivators to sharing freight data, and helped develop a set of guidelines for use by the full range of public and private freight stakeholders. (2013)

Principal Investigator: McCormack, E.D. UW
Technical Monitor: Jensen, M., Cambridge Systematics>
Sponsors: National Cooperative Highway Research
Program, Cambridge Systematics

GPS Data from Trucks—Freight Performance Measures Program

This project was the third and final phase of the Freight Performance Measures Program (FPMP), whose development was directed by the Washington State Legislature. The FPMP collects and allows for analysis of global positioning systems (GPS) truck data from around the state. This phase of the project enabled maintenance, improvements, and updates to a roadway bottleneck identification and ranking process for state freight corridors. This tool will help WSDOT identify locations where highway construction projects may improve traffic flow for trucks. (2012)

Principal Investigator: McCormack, E.D., UW
Research Manager: Brodin, D., WSDOT
Technical Monitor: Ivanov, B., WSDOT
Sponsor: WSDOT

Improving Statewide Freight Routing Capabilities for Sub-National Commodity Flows

The National Cooperative Freight Research Program is working to increase the availability of freight flow data at the corridor and regional levels. To build upon this national effort, this research project worked in parallel with the national study by developing and testing truck routing rules and logic. This effort gathered information on how truck freight routing decisions are made by cataloguing how routing decisions vary by truck freight service type, commodity shipped, and industry sector served. It included an assessment of how route choices are affected by factors such as urban congestion, travel time and route reliability, highway grade/elevation and curvature characteristics, and business and product-specific supply chain characteristics. WSDOT will use the results to better manage resources for the highest possible return on investment, deliver cost-effective solutions to improve the performance of the freight transportation system, and be environmentally responsible. (2012)

Principal Investigators: Jessup, E.L., WSU; Goodchild, A., UW
Research Manager: Brodin, D., WSDOT
Technical Monitor: Ivanov, B., WSDOT
Sponsor: WSDOT, FHWA