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New tool to help US transportation coalition curb truck bottlenecks

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The big picture: Truck congestion in the Southeast United States impacts goods movement, and this problem is a focus for the Institute for Trade and Transportation Studies (ITTS), a 10-state freight and transportation coalition.

The geospatial and data visualization tool, which CPCS helped develop and presented at the 2022 Southern Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials conference, has a clear purpose: to facilitate multi-state collaboration, allowing coalition members to identify and coordinate their strategies.

Key points:

  • CPCS helped ITTS assess the extent, duration and severity of truck bottlenecks
  • The custom-built tool gives ITTS member states instant insights
  • Members can view top truck bottlenecks across the Southeast region and average truck travel times at different departure times along key regional trade routes
  • The tool allows download of data and visuals for presentation and reporting

Big data, freight and transportation planning expertise

To develop this tool, a team of data scientists and data visualization specialists at CPCS first pulled together large datasets:

Then CPCS calculated the following:

  • Annual truck delay per mile
  • Annual hours of truck delay
  • Annual cost of truck delay
  • Annual truck travel time reliability

The GIS planning tool, shown below, includes two components: a segment-based tool and a trip-based tool.

  • Segment-based tool: Allows users to explore segment-based results by state, with bottleneck information and performance measure results available for each segment within a selected region.
  • Trip-based tool: Allows users to explore bottlenecks on select multi-state trade lanes within the Southeast Region, with bottleneck information and performance measure results available for segments along the route, as well as travel time distribution for each trade lane based on departure time from the origin point.

The trip-based tool uses the following unique, real-world approach to calculating how travel time and delays interact over an entire corridor, rather than by segment.

  • Truck travel times for each segment are simulated based on the actual travel time on each segment of the trip by time of day.
  • The free flow travel time is then subtracted from the actual travel times to derive the actual total truck delay of the trip.

The regional bottlenecks assessment covers 13 States in the Southeast, including all ITTS member states, in addition to Alabama, North Carolina, and Tennessee. However, the tool is limited to ITTS member state use.

About ITTS

ITTS is comprised of 10 state departments of transportation, which are: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. ITTS is a non-profit state corporation that fosters regional collaboration among its members and leads freight planning in the Southeast by:

  • providing research and information concerning freight trends and freight planning
  • developing effective freight planning tools and procedures
  • partnering with and nurturing collaborative relationships with relevant organizations and stakeholders

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