Mapping Food Rescue Logistics in the Puget Sound

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has estimated that over 94,500 tons of food from Seattle businesses end up in the compost or garbage. If just 5 percent was edible and could be rescued and redistributed, it could result in nearly 8 million additional meals for food insecure individuals.  To support efforts to reduce food insecurity while simultaneously diverting less food to the waste stream, the UW Supply Chain Transportation and Logistics Center will build on the work of Seattle’s Food Rescue Innovation Lab to build a shared, data-driven understanding of the logistics of food rescue in the Puget Sound. This multi-year collaboration will build a community interested in rethinking food rescue logistics to improve access, food quality, and user experience while also reducing waste.  Ultimately, the city could use the findings of this research to inform external investments in the form of funding for community partners to test new kinds of collaboration, vehicles, storage, and more, and internal investments into things such as fleet electrification, charging station locations, and cold storage aggregation to serve food rescue without increasing climate change impacts.

Principal Investigator: Anne V. Goodchild, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW
Sponsor: Seattle Public Utilities
Expected completion: December 2022

Case Study Analysis of the Benefits and Costs of a Freight and Transit (FAT) Lane

The closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct on January 11, 2019, constrained capacity further on an already congested road network in central Seattle.  To improve freight and transit access to commercial and industrial areas, the City of Seattle, in partnership with the Washington State Department of Transportation, installed two blocks of a temporary freight and transit (FAT) lane on Alaskan Way. Seattle DOT is interested in evaluating the benefits of the FAT lane for freight while it is in place, as well as what happens when the lane is removed. SDOT has installed video cameras on the two-block segment to capture activity in the FAT lane.  The researchers will reduce the video data into speed and volume counts by vehicle classification to allow them to describe traffic in the FAT lane during and after the pilot. In addition, the researchers will conduct up to six one-on-one interviews with FAT lane users after the pilot, including truck drivers, bus drivers, and/or operational staff at trucking companies and transit operators. The results should provide information to the City of Seattle as it considers implementing such facilities on a broader scale and incorporating them into the city’s Freight Master Plan.

Principal Investigator: Anne V. Goodchild, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW
Sponsor: Seattle Department of Transportation
SDOT Project Manager: Christopher Eaves
Scheduled completion: December 2019

The Final 50 Feet: Urban Goods Delivery System Research Project

The final 50 feet of the urban delivery system begins at the city-owned curb, commercial vehicle load zone, or sidewalk. It may extend through privately owned building freight bays, can include alleys, and may end in the common areas within a building such as the lobby. The last 50 feet provide challenges to goods delivery because there is a high—and growing—demand for scarce road, curb, and sidewalk space in urban areas with multiple competing uses. Without proven new tools, Seattle and other rapidly growing cities lack a data-driven way to balance limiting and/or reducing parking and loading in street space that is needed by transit, cars, bikes, and trucks. This project will provide quantitative data to help the City of Seattle understand more about urban goods delivery trends, logistics, and related technologies and thereby optimize the final 50 feet of deliveries of business and consumer goods to large residential, office, historic, and retail buildings in the downtown Seattle area. It will provide decision support to the City in revising codes and regulations pertaining to parking and truck loading/unloading zones and in making near- and long-term planning decisions regarding the management of scarce and expensive space in final 50 feet locations.

Principal Investigators:
Anne V. Goodchild, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW
Edward D. McCormack, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW

Sponsor: Seattle Department of Transportation
Scheduled completion: December 2021

Behavior-Based National Freight Demand Modeling

Current models for forecasting freight movement in the United States have been developed primarily at the statewide level, along with a few regional freight forecasting models. This project is developing a national freight forecasting model for the FHWA. The model, the first of its kind at the national level, will support national freight policy making and planning. As a subcontractor to RSG, UW researchers are helping to identify the most useful and promising structures for a national model and are leading the evaluation of model components and their integration. They are also developing an approach to test the potential specifications for each model component and are contributing to the development of national sources of data for use in the model. The project will demonstrate the model in a software application.

Principal Investigators:
Anne V. Goodchild, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW
Edward D. McCormack, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW

Resource Systems Group

FHWA Technical Monitor: V. Mysore
Scheduled completion: July 2019

Freight Policy Transportation Institute at WSU

The purpose of the Freight Policy Transportation Institute at WSU is to undertake research on a variety of topics and issues that will improve our understanding of the importance of efficient and effective freight transportation, both to the national economy and to regions, states, and international trade.  Research topics address the need for improved intermodal freight transportation policies and implementable actions that would increase the effectiveness of intermodal transportation in lowering operating costs while also increasing the safety and decreasing the environmental impacts of freight transportation nationwide. Distributing the benefits of improved freight transportation performance to specific industries and sectors of the economy are important objectives of the Institute. The continuing focus of research projects falls generally under five themes: infrastructure investment and alternative financing/pricing, transportation security and freight efficiency, transportation and economic development, alternative energy sourcing and transportation systems, and freight transportation and international trade.

Principal Investigators:
Ken Casavant, School of Economic Sciences, WSU
Eric Jessup, School of Economic Sciences, WSU

Sponsor: FHWA
Scheduled completion: June 2019