The Impact of Truck Repositioning on Congestion and Pollution in the LA Basin

Pollution and congestion caused by port related truck traffic is usually estimated based on careful transportation modeling and simulation. In these efforts, however, attention is normally focused on trucks on their way from a terminal at the Los Angeles or Long Beach ports to a delivery point or on their way from a pick up point to a terminal. Most trucks serving the LA/LB ports are currently owner operated. Hence it is very likely that an owner operator will park his truck at or near his home and then drive from there to the ports or a warehouse. These empty, repositioning routes, however, are generally discarded in the overall analysis of a truck's pollution and congestion impact, or at best a simple estimate is used instead. This is reasonable as long as it can be assumed that the drivers live very close to the port, a fact that may potentially change, however, in the near future. Namely if drivers will be required to deliver to and pick up from more distant inland ports - such as Victorville - instead of the ports. The Principal investigators recently completed some preliminary simulations of the container flow in the Southern California region. It is usually assumed that any inland port location, since it will reduce congestion at the ports automatically will lead to a reduction of congestion and pollution near the ports. Little, however, is so far known about the real impact a potential inland port site such as Victorville would have on pollution and congestion in the Southern California region. To the best of our knowledge and from our experience, transportation models that are used to study the impact of truck traffic in the region lack several pieces of crucial information that would allow for some adequate modeling. First, there is a lack of good data on the distribution of the origin locations of the trucks used for container pickups and deliveries in the Southern California region. This distribution will no doubt determine the distances trucks must be driven to reposition themselves either at the ports or at a pick up site. Moreover, little is known about the potential subsequent behavior of owner-operator truck drivers. What if, for example, truck drivers decide not to move close to an inland port site and hence the length of empty repositioning drives increases? Will the establishment of an inland port at a given location lead to an overall improvement in terms of total truck driving distance and/or time as expected, or a surprising, opposite outcome? And, what about the impact of the longer delivery routes from an inland port on congestion and pollution in the region? In this project we propose to carefully develop accurate data about the repositioning costs of trucks under current and future conditions. Such data can then be used to develop a transportation optimization and simulation model that includes repositioning drives by trucks in its analysis. Namely, we will first survey truck drivers and trucking companies to determine the locations where trucks are currently parked when not in use, and then determine a driver's (a trucking company's) willingness to move closer to a place such as a future inland port where most of their business transactions will be conducted. Using the survey results we will develop a discrete choice model to predict this willingness. Second, based on these findings and using the Southern California regional travel demand model we will modify and enhance our transportation least cost network flow optimization model to determine the consequences of their potential decisions. Using the EPA's Dray Fleet model we will analyze the pollution impact of several possible repositioning and container distribution scenarios such as for example containers being transported by rail to an inland port such as Victorville and then from there by truck back into the LA basin as needed or containers moved by truck to and from Victorville. We will also develop a dual objective optimization to analyze the resulting net impact on congestion and pollution in the LA basin under different assumptions about potential truck driver behavior. With our models we will develop several example scenarios that will allow us to test different hypotheses associated with inland ports. It is believed that the results of this study will be an invaluable tool for the test of hypothetical scenarios and hence for future planning in the greater Los Angeles region. We will provide all parties with verifiable input on how to best proceed in a manner that will help to reduce congestion and pollution at the ports and hence provide crucial information to help improve the efficiency of goods movements and potentially lead to a decrease in pollution.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Center for Metropolitan Transportation Research

    University of Southern California
    650 Childs Way, RGL 107
    Los Angeles, CA  United States  90089-0626
  • Project Managers:

    Valentine, Victoria

  • Performing Organizations:

    California State University, Long Beach

    1250 Bellflower Boulevard
    Long Beach, CA  United States  90840
  • Principal Investigators:

    Lam, Shui

    Englert, Burkhardt

  • Start Date: 20090816
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 26525

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01461405
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Center for Metropolitan Transportation Research
  • Contract Numbers: 10-26
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 1:45PM