Evaluation of Freight Vehicles in Short-Haul Intermodel Lanes

The further development of intermodal truck-rail freight services is a leading strategy in the mitigation of growing highway congestion. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of this policy alternative is limited by the dominance of "short-haul" truck movements that cannot be economically diverted to intermodal service under current business models and practices. A chief impediment to the development of short-haul intermodal services lies in the characteristics of freight vehicles - primarily truck trailers and containers. Current practices rely on lift-on / lift-off technologies that depend on high-volume mechanized terminal facilities. The high fixed costs of these facilities must be averaged over relatively long shipment distances for intermodal freight to compete with traditional trucking. Therefore, most short-haul movements are not currently candidates for intermodal carriage. In response to this need, the University of Tennessee's Center for Transportation Research (CTR) is performing a comprehensive evaluation of rail-truck intermodal equipment that examines current capabilities and costs and identifies vehicle characteristics required to extend intermodal services to shorter-haul markets. This analysis includes (1) the development of a thorough and robust costing model that allows simultaneous variations in intermodal vehicles, accompanying equipment suites (cranes, drayage vehicles, etc.), intermodal operating practices, and lane specific traffic volumes; (2) a careful description of the characteristics and usage patterns of currently available intermodal vehicles; (3) an evaluation of emerging intermodal equipment alternatives; and (4) an evaluation of the economic conditions that would be necessary for any foreseeable intermodal technology to compete effectively in freight markets that are currently dominated by all-truck movements.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $77997.00
  • Contract Numbers:



  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Petrolino, Joseph

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Tennessee, Knoxville

    Knoxville, TN  United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Clarke, David

  • Start Date: 20110101
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20110831
  • Source Data: RiP Project 28156

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01463667
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Transportation Research Center, Incorporated
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT-06-G-0043, U30
  • Files: UTC, RIP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:28PM