Goods movement is a vital part of the national economy, with freight movement growing faster than passenger travel. The growth in freight traffic is contributing to urban congestion, resulting in hours of delay, increased shipping costs, wasted fuel, and greater emissions of greenhouse gases and criteria pollutants. The limited national data on urban goods movement are insufficient for a thorough understanding of the characteristics of the trucks operating in metropolitan areas and the complex logistical chains they serve. For instance, there are at least three distinct segments of urban freight – long haul, drayage, and pickup and delivery. It is believed that truck fleet characteristics differ between the segments, but only local registration data exist at a level of detail needed to support regional transportation plans, transportation improvement plans, and state implementation plans. The lack of data to drive model estimation results in inaccurate base year emissions inventories and limits the ability to design and implement effective policies to reduce freight-related emissions. It is critical that research consider all types of commercial vehicles, not just heavy trucks, since small vehicles and vans are estimated to account for 40% of urban truck traffic. While the majority of urban freight travel demand models apply methods similar to passenger forecasting, some agencies are using advanced methods to estimate freight activity. For example, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning has developed a meso-scale freight model and the Southern California Association of Governments has implemented a multimodal modeling framework to support freight transportation decision making. In Canada, TransLink, in partnership with Transport Canada and the British Columbia Ministry of Transport, has developed freight planning data and tools through the Applied Freight Research Initiative (AFRI) for the Metro Vancouver region. Research is needed to build on the existing state-of-the art freight estimation methods in order to improve air quality modeling and transportation planning.
The objective of this research is to develop a guide for transportation practitioners on methods, procedures, and data sets needed to capture commercial vehicle activity, vehicle characteristics, and operations to assist in estimating and forecasting criteria pollutants, air toxics, and greenhouse gas emissions from goods and services movement. The guide should address a broad range of issues and needs associated with estimating and forecasting commercial vehicle activity for emission modeling which may include but not be limited to the following:
- Recent freight and emissions modeling research that complements the current research
- Methods to classify various trucking segments for emissions analyses
- Methods to collect and evaluate truck activity data by different truck segments
- Methods to collect truck vehicle characteristics and truck inventory data
- Methods to collect and evaluate truck operational data
- Methods to address the data interface and any potential gaps between freight forecasting and emissions modeling
It is expected that the guide will include case studies that (1) demonstrate, evaluate, and refine the methods in urban area applications; (2) evaluate the data interface between freight forecasting and emissions modeling; and (3) assess the use of the collected data to inform emissions analyses resulting from changes in goods and services activity and truck characteristics.
A kick-off teleconference of the research team and NCHRP shall be scheduled within 1 month of the contract’s execution. The work plan proposed must be divided into tasks, with each task described in detail. The tasks must be divided into two phases. Phase I will consist of information gathering and planning tasks, culminating in the submittal of an Interim Report. The Interim Report will describe the work completed in the Phase I tasks and provide an updated work plan for the Phase II tasks and an outline of the guide. The cost of Phase I shall not exceed $150,000. The updated Phase II work plan should address the manner in which the proposer intends to use the information obtained in Phase I to satisfy the project objective. A face-to-face interim meeting with NCHRP will be scheduled to discuss the Interim Report. Work on Phase II tasks shall not begin until the updated work plan is approved by NCHRP. The project schedule shall include 1 month for NCHRP review and approval of the Interim Report. The final deliverables will include the guide plus a final report that documents the entire research effort and other deliverables as described in the research plan. Deliverables should also include an executive summary that can be used to present key issues and conclusions to critical stakeholders. Proposers may recommend additional deliverables to support the project objective.