Freight transportation systems constitute key factors in the productivity, environment, and energy consumption in Tennessee, as well as beyond the state’s borders. To achieve more efficient, safe, secure and sustainable transportation, the freight transportation industry is relying heavily on the use of cyber-physical (CP) applications. This involves deploying computing software/hardware to control or monitor physical components in real-time (e.g., automation, sensors, mobile technologies, global positioning systems - GPS). The objectives of this study are threefold, (1) perform a comprehensive review of existing and anticipated CP technologies and applications, with a critical eye on their role in improving freight transportation management and operations, (2) evaluate new technologies according to their performance in achieving system efficiency, safety, security, and sustainability through an online survey of freight operators, and (3) assess the current status and future projection of freight transportation in Tennessee. The results of a survey performed as part of this study show that CP technologies have improved the efficiency of freight operations by reducing delays and providing more reliable information sharing. However, concerns have been expressed as to potential limitations to CP adoption due to issues involving information fidelity, application scalability, and acquisition/operating costs. To further assess the potential impacts of CP technologies in the State of Tennessee, a sustainability assessment of economic, environmental, and social impacts is performed for the trucking mode (the dominant mode of freight transport in Tennessee) using Freight Analysis Framework (FAF) data. The findings from the sustainability assessment show that there can be significant economic, environmental and social benefits from using CP technologies that have been overlooked in past years. Ultimately, the deliverable from this study is this synthesis report summarizing the opportunities and challenges of implementing cyber-physical applications for freight transportation systems management and operations, including recommendations for how TDOT and the freight transportation industry in Tennessee can make the most appropriate use of this growing technology trend.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $58580
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Tennessee Department of Transportation

    James K. Polk Building
    Fifth and Deaderick Street
    Nashville, TN  United States  37243-0349
  • Managing Organizations:

    Tennessee Department of Transportation

    James K. Polk Building
    Fifth and Deaderick Street
    Nashville, TN  United States  37243-0349
  • Performing Organizations:

    Vanderbilt University

    Box 96-B
    Nashville, TN  United States  37235
  • Principal Investigators:

    Abkowitz, Mark

  • Start Date: 20160801
  • Expected Completion Date: 20180901
  • Actual Completion Date: 20180901
  • USDOT Program: Transportation, Planning, Research, and Development

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01764381
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Tennessee Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: RES2016-28
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Feb 4 2021 2:43PM