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Research Project

Impact Analysis for Freight Operation Improvements

To develop a benefit evaluation framework using the outputs from state-of-the-art simulation programs developed by the team from Northwestern University.

Principal Investigator
Kawamura, Kazuya
Research Area(s)
Funding Source
Northwestern University, National Science Foundation, Metropolitan Transportation Support Initiative (METSI)


To facilitate coordinated planning and operations among stakeholders, a process that evaluates broad impacts of proposed projects will be needed. Such process should not only quantify both positive and negative impacts, but also determine the incidence of impacts for various parties including shippers, transporters, general public, and residents around the terminals and along the freight routes. To answer such needs, a tool to evaluate the distributions of the impacts under alternative scenarios will be developed as a post-processor to the models developed by the teams from the Northwestern University. This tool will use the traffic data provided by the simulation model to quantify both positive and negative impacts including; travel time savings for both freight and passenger vehicles, miles of empty operation, truck and rolling stock operating costs, effect on environment (through noise, air pollution, and vibration), capital and maintenance costs for roadway and rail infrastructures, change in property values near terminals and freight routes, and accidents. The information can be used not only for outreach activities but also for long range planning at the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) level to bring the freight into the mainstream of public sector transportation planning. A report or paper from this research is not immediately available.