Goods Movement

Goods movement is a term used to describe the way goods are transported by truck, train, ship, and plane. Not only is goods movement vital to the health of the country’s economy, it impacts the health of its citizens. California’s roadways carry more commercial vehicle truck traffic than any other state, and almost all of these trucks run on diesel. Diesel exhaust has serious effects on human health; it is classified by California as a carcinogen and contains 40 hazardous air pollutants listed by the U.S. EPA. Moreover, of all transportation sources, heavy-duty vehicles generate 19 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., and are therefore a significant contributor to global warming. TSRC’s goods movement projects, such as smart parking for trucks, truck electrification, and eco-driving for trucks, are aimed at researching innovative solutions to reduce the negative environmental and health impacts associated with getting products from Point A to Point B.


  • The objective of this research is to consider, identify, and evaluate measures to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the goods movement sector that will: 1) help achieve the 2020 GHG emissions target; 2) be consistent with longer term (2050) changes needed in goods movement infrastructure, operating practices, and vehicles; and 3) maximize air quality co-benefits by 2020. In developing programs under this measure, California Air Resources Board (CARB) staff will investigate a full range of strategies, including innovative, incentive-based approaches. There will be a preference for measures that drive emission reductions throughout the goods movement system, rather than individual elements in the supply chain. University of California at Berkeley (UCB) researchers are investigating best practices for freight transport, developing information on the spatial distribution of heavy-duty vehicle GHG emissions, conducting lifecycle analyses of the different freight modes, and investigating logistics demand management strategies and policies that could either reduce goods movement demand or induce better logistics demand patterns. TSRC is leading the effort to develop a module for ecodriving in freight transportation.  
  • Truck drivers are faced with a critical shortage in truck parking due to a dramatic growth in commercial vehicle truck travel on our nation’s roads. A fatigued driver that must drive to search for a parking place can become not only a roadway hazard but an environmental hazard because they generate unnecessary diesel emissions. In this project, sponsored by FHWA, TSRC is partnering with Caltrans to explore possible roles for Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) in alleviating the truck parking problem. The I-5 corridor in California will serve as a test bed for the use of ITS technologies to determine parking availability at participating truck stops. This information, as well as truck stop amenities and the opportunity to make a reservation, will be transmitted to commercial vehicle drivers. This suite of information may allow truckers to better plan and to operate more efficiently when they can by-pass a full truck stop and go directly to one that has space available. ParkingCarma and NAVTEQ are assisting TSRC with the parking availability, reservations, truck stop amenities, and routing. The information may be collected and disseminated through a variety of means including sensors, the Internet, mobile phones, changeable message signs, and radio. Smart Truck Parking: Forecasting Parking Availability at Truck Stops


  • In the last five years, commercial vehicle travel in California has increased by more than 50 percent. It is expected to grow by almost 80 percent by 2020. As a result, existing commercial vehicle enforcement facilities are struggling to keep up with this growth. In response to this problem, Caltrans investigated the use of detection and communication technology with virtual weigh stations to cost-effectively improve enforcement of commercial vehicle regulations. Research for this project included extensive data analysis, literature reviews, and expert and stakeholder interviews. Key outcomes included: 1) an inventory of baseline statistics on the current commercial vehicle compliance and enforcement processes in California; 2) estimates of future demand placed on compliance processes and likely resources to meet this demand; 3) identification of significant commercial vehicle compliance and enforcement related problems and locations in California (e.g., pavement and structure damage, crashes, air pollution, and security); and 4) assessment of current and emerging technologies and applications including performance, costs, and institutional barriers. Based on these findings, researchers recommended alternatives with the most likely return on investment.




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