Optimization and Control of Freight Movement and Roadway Transport Systems

Project: Research project

Project Details


As international trade increases in our nation, there is a need for the marine transportation system infrastructure, which handles a large part of international trade, to be integrated into an efficient and effectively operated system to remain competitive. Despite the extensive marine infrastructure system, growth of intermodal freight traffic has spawned concerns about the capacity of the existing infrastructure to handle expected growth. Physical expansion of many of the components of the marine transportation system cannot be accomplished easily due to physical, environmental, political and economic constraints.

The effective operation of the intermodal freight transportation system relies on the development of an approach to plan, build, and operate the intermodal system in a way that emphasizes optimal utilization of existing resources and ensures that connections between modes provide a smooth flow of goods through an integrated system. Before this objective can be achieved, there is a need for tools, which can be used to represent intermodal transportation as an integrated system.

This research investigates an approach for integrating freight management systems and roadway control systems using simulation so as to: (1) optimize flow of intermodal freight from the terminal to a distribution center; (2) minimize costs and delays to users of the system; (3) maximize capacity; and (4) have flow rates tend to the maximum capacity of the system.The research uses high performance computing as a tool to provide the means of modeling the integrated system. High performance computing will provide the computational power needed for integrating the components of the system in a seamless fashion and will allow for a large scale network to be evaluated. Hence, the numerical simulation of the proposed model will effectively identify parameters or modes that are critical to the optimization of this system. The initial algorithm will be developed for a single processor high end computer which can later be scalable to a parallel computing paradigm.

As an investigation, the proposed work will focus on the movement of containers from port terminals via truck transportation. In many metropolitan areas where major port facilities are located, trucks represent a primary mode for freight movement. Using the simulation model developed in this research, a preliminary control system for intermodal freight transportation will be identified. The data requirements for the control system and models needed for describing the state of the freight management system and the roadway system will be identified. Finally, the control system will be evaluated for an intermodal freight movement from the Port of New York and New Jersey to a destination in northern New Jersey and New York.

This award is made under the Exploratory Research on Engineering the Transport Industries (ETI) program solicitation.

Effective start/end date10/1/009/30/02


  • National Science Foundation: $109,951.00


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