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  • Freight Intermodal Connectors Study

    April 2017

  • Notice

    This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document. The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

    Quality Assurance Statement

    The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. The FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.

    (Cover Photo Source: istockphoto.com)

  • Technical Report Documentation Page 1. Report No.

    FHWA-HOP-16-057 2. Government Accession No.

    3. Recipients Catalog No.

    4. Title and Subtitle

    Freight Intermodal Connectors Study 5. Report Date

    April 2017

    6. Performing Organization Code

    7. Author(s)

    Dike Ahanotu and Lance Grenzeback, Cambridge Systematics, Inc. 8. Performing Organization Report No.

    9. Performing Organization Name And Address

    Cambridge Systematics, Inc. 730 Peachtree Street, NE Suite 1000 Atlanta, GA 30308

    10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

    11. Contract or Grant No.

    DTFH61-11-D-00012

    12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

    U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration Office of Freight Management and Operations 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE Washington, DC 20590

    13. Type of Report and Period Covered

    Final Report, June 2015 to December 2016

    14. Sponsoring Agency Code

    HOP

    15. Supplementary Notes

    This study was jointly funded by the Maritime Administration.

    16. Abstract

    The objective of this study is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the condition and performance of the nations freight intermodal connectors. This approach extracts connector data from Federal, State, and local sources to understand the operations of freight connectors relative to the broader freight transportation system. It also includes 18 case studies to perform a deep-dive into planning, stakeholder, and funding elements that are specific to freight intermodal connectors. The results of the study are used to estimate the additional operating costs associated with using freight intermodal connectors due to current pavement and bottleneck conditions.

    17. Key Words

    Connectors, Freight, Intermodal, Pavement Condition, Truck Volumes, Truck Bottlenecks, Case Studies

    18. Distribution Statement

    No restrictions

    19. Security Classif. (of this report)

    Unclassified 20. Security Classif. (of this page)

    Unclassified 21. No. of Pages

    70 22. Price

    N/A

    Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized

  • Freight Intermodal Connectors Study

    iii

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................1 HISTORICAL POLICY CONTEXT ................................................................................. 2 CURRENT NATIONAL HIGHWAY SYSTEM FREIGHT INTERMODAL CONNECTOR SYSTEM .................................................................................................... 2

    CHAPTER 2. TRENDS IMPACTING FREIGHT INTERMODAL CONNECTORS ..........5 FREIGHT INTERMODAL TERMINALS AND TRAFFIC VOLUMES ..................... 6

    Port Terminal Traffic ................................................................................................. 6 Rail Terminal Traffic ................................................................................................. 6 Air Cargo Terminal Traffic ....................................................................................... 7 Pipeline Terminal Traffic ........................................................................................... 7

    EMERGING TRUCK-TRUCK TERMINALS AND TRAFFIC VOLUMES ............... 9

    CHAPTER 3. CONNECTOR CHARACTERISTICS, USE, CONDITION, AND PERFORMANCE ...............................................................................................................11 GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF FREIGHT INTERMODAL CONNECTORS.............................................................................................................................................. 11 FREIGHT INTERMODAL CONNECTOR TRUCK VOLUMES .............................. 14

    Truck Volume Data Accuracy ................................................................................. 14 PAVEMENT CONDITION OF FREIGHT INTERMODAL CONNECTORS .......... 15

    National Performance Goals and Connector Pavement Conditions .................... 16 SPEEDS ON FREIGHT INTERMODAL CONNECTORS .......................................... 17 FREIGHT INTERMODAL CONNECTOR PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT.. 19

    CHAPTER 4. CASE STUDIES ..................................................................................................21 METHODOLOGY ............................................................................................................ 21 CONNECTOR CHARACTERISTICS ............................................................................ 22 CONNECTOR TRUCK VOLUMES ............................................................................... 23 CONNECTOR PAVEMENT CONDITION ................................................................... 24 CONNECTOR TRUCK TRAVEL SPEEDS AND CONGESTION............................. 26 GOVERNANCE AND STAKEHOLDER COORDINATION ...................................... 27 PLANNING FOR CASE STUDY CONNECTOR LEVEL OF SERVICE .................. 28 FUTURE CONDITIONS .................................................................................................. 29 CONNECTOR IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS ............................................................. 29

  • Freight Intermodal Connectors Study

    iv

    IDENTIFIED FUNDING PROGRAMS FOR CASE STUDY CONNECTOR IMPROVEMENTS ............................................................................................................ 30

    CHAPTER 5. CONNECTOR PERFORMANCE IMPACTS ON GOODS MOVEMENT AND SUPPLY CHAINS ...........................................................................33 IMPACT OF PAVEMENT MAINTENANCE COSTS ................................................. 33 IMPACT ON VEHICLE OPERATING COSTS ........................................................... 34

    Implications for Operations of Designated Freight Facilities ............................... 35 IMPACT ON CONGESTION AND CONGESTION COSTS ...................................... 35 IMPACT OF CONNECTORS ON BROADER SUPPLY CHAINS ............................ 37

    Supply Chain ExamplePort of Savannah ........................................................... 37 Supply Chain ExampleMemphis BNSF Intermodal Rail Yard ....................... 40 Supply Chain ExampleAir Cargo........................................................................ 43

    CHAPTER 6. SUMMARY OF KEY FINDINGS AND OPTIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH ........................................................................................................................45 KEY FINDINGS ON DESIGNATION OF FREIGHT INTERMODAL CONNECTORS ................................................................................................................. 45 KEY FINDINGS ON CHARACTERISTICS AND USE OF FREIGHT INTERMODAL CONNECTORS .................................................................................... 46 KEY FINDINGS ON CONDITION AND PERFORMANCE OF FREIGHT INTERMODAL CONNECTORS .................................................................................... 47 KEY FINDINGS ON DATA AVAILABILITY FOR FREIGHT INTERMODAL CONNECTORS ................................................................................................................. 48 KEY CONCLUSIONS RELATED TO PLANNING FOR FREIGHT INTERMODAL CONNECTORS ................................................................................................................. 49 KEY FINDINGS ON COSTS TO IMPROVE CONNECTORS AND FUNDING FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO FREIGHT INTERMODAL CONNECTORS........................ 50 OPTIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH FOR FREIGHT INTERMODAL CONNECTORS ................................................................................................................. 52

    APPENDIX. FUNDING PROGRAMS FOR FREIGHT INTERMODAL CONNECTORS ..................................................................................................................53

  • Freight Intermodal Connectors Study

    v

    LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1. Graph. Containerized Traffic at U.S. Ports, 1980 to 2013In Twenty Foot

    Equivalent Units. ............................................................................................................. 8 Figure 2. Chart. U.S. Rail Intermodal Traffic, 1989 to 2013Millions of Containers

    and Trailers. .................................................................................................................... 8 Figure 3. Graph. Landed Weight for All-Cargo, Air Cargo OperationsIn Thousands. .............. 9 Figure 4. Graph. Liquid Pipeline Transportation in U.S.2009 to 2013. ..................................... 9 Figure 5. Graph. Intermodal Component of Federal Highway Administration Freight

    Efficiency Index. ..............................

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