Understanding and Using New Data Sources to Address Urban and Metropolitan Freight Challenges

The rapid explosion of new freight data sources is creating significant opportunities for more effective and well-targeted planning and operation of roadways, particularly in urban and metropolitan areas. Changes in consumer behavior are impacting goods movement everywhere, especially in densely populated areas, where freight distribution is already challenged. For example, e-commerce is reducing passenger trips while increasing delivery vehicle trips. Growing populations are putting pressure on existing road capacity. Nonetheless, few cities or states have funding or space to build additional capacity into urban roads and highways. One consequence is that firms redesign their supply chains, resulting in land-use pattern changes that may add significant long-term costs to both the private and public sectors. Research is needed to explore how new sources of freight data, including those from smart cities initiatives, crowd-sourcing (e.g., via smartphones, vehicle fleet tracking), sensors (e.g., vehicle-to-infrastructure, vehicle-to-vehicle), and cameras are being or could be used to inform and implement freight demand management strategies. The use of private sector data from businesses, shippers, and carriers should also be examined. The term “big data” is being applied to some of these new data sources. The objective of this research is to develop guidance that: (1) provides an understanding of the rapidly emerging data being collected or processed by the private sector for truck freight movement practices in urban and metropolitan areas; (2) outlines approaches, methods, and analytical techniques that enable local agencies, MPOs and state DOTs to better carry out their planning, programming, and operations responsibilities; and (3) identifies and categorizes the use of current and emerging freight data sources for urban and metropolitan freight management strategies. The guidance should be scalable to agencies based on their range of resources and capabilities.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $600000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 49

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Freight Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    Department of Transportation
    1200 New Jersey Avneue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Rogers, William

  • Performing Organizations:

    CPCS Transcom, Incorporated

    1050 Connecticut Avenue Northwest
    5th Floor
    Washington, D.C.  United States  20036
  • Principal Investigators:

    Ludlow, Donald

  • Start Date: 20160705
  • Expected Completion Date: 20181031
  • Actual Completion Date: 20181031
  • Source Data: RiP Project 40431

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01580872
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 49
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 20 2015 1:00AM