TranSystems
 

In The Spotlight

“In the Spotlight” showcases TranSystems’ news, staff, projects, awards, successes and other topics of special note to those in the industry as well as our clients.
How Big Data Can Improve Intermodal Transportation at Ports: The Drayage Model at Port Metro Vancouver
By Beth Kulick
Assistant Vice President
TranSystems
 
Port Metro Vancouver in the Canadian province of British Columbia is the busiest port in Canada. With more than three major marine intermodal rail terminals, port authorities are continually looking for new ways to improve trucker access and operations in the busy region.
 
TranSystems worked with the Port Metro Vancouver planning staff to develop a model that uses big data to identify areas for improvement and outline strategies for more efficient transfer of intermodal containers and reduced congestion at the terminals.
 
COLLECTING THE RIGHT DATA
The Drayage Model uses GPS data from the intermodal trucks to quantify patterns of container movements between port intermodal rail, regional intermodal rail, and area distribution centers in the Port Metro Vancouver region.
 
Because the model uses raw GPS data as its basis, collecting accurate data proved imperative for the modeling and analysis to be successful. Port Metro Vancouver conducted a GPS study over several years and fine-tuned the GPS implementation technology, validating the accuracy and reliability of the collected data.
 
There are several methods or types of intermodal flows, and the proportion of these flows directly impacts the quantity and type of truck trips that are generated by the port. To leverage the GPS data, a planning framework was developed that integrates the data with planning models of the port terminal operations and truck trip generation based on the proportion of the different types of intermodal flows used.
 
IDENTIFYING & TESTING SCENARIOS
As part of the design process for the Drayage Model, TranSystems held a series of workshops with Port Metro Vancouver staff to identify planning scenarios based on current and possible future topics. The workshops helped determine the level of detail needed from GPS data processing and scenario input variables. Here are the types of scenarios that came from the workshops, then tested with the Drayage Model:
 
Extended Gate Capacity: This scenario explores the impact of having terminal gates available 15 working hours a day, 7 daysa week as opposed to the current 8 hour, 5 days a week schedule. The premise was based on the notion, “If shipping lines, rail lines, and terminals all operate 24/7, then why not the drayage sector?”
 
Double-ended Move Coordination: This explores a future situation where double-ended moves account for more than 50 percent of all truck moves. The drayage sector would employ a system where terminals would make available import and export reservations visible to truckers and dispatchers. Truckers and dispatchers would then be able to pair-up an import with an export that makes sense for their distribution routes, clients, and off-dock relationships, creating double-ended reservations.
 
7-Year and 10-year Rolling Truck Age Restrictions: Over the course of the last 10-15 years, truck technologies have significantly progressed, especially in terms of fuel efficiency and emissions. The 7-year Rolling Truck-Age Restriction scenario explores the impact of evolving technologies on the drayage sector. Specifically, it asks the question “What if drayage trucks older than 7 years or 10 years were forced to retire?”
 
The port staff also asked the Drayage Model to determine the preferred quantity of drayage trucks that should be operating in the region to ensure economic viability for the operators and reduce congestion. Using the model, the team created scenarios where the quantity of trucks was restricted vs. not restricted, to compare the performance and financial differences. The model was able to demonstrate that the number of trucks could be restricted and the level of economic benefit that would result.
 
WHY THE MODEL WORKS
Because the Drayage Model allows for the scope to be modified as new or more data is added, new intermodal improvement scenarios become available to explore. The ability to import and process new data also becomes important to provide an up-to-date analysis framework that will reflect performance differences as strategies are implemented and business conditions change.
 
With its ability to create current snapshots of drayage activity, patterns and analyses, the Drayage Model has the ability to benchmark trends and identify areas for improvement.
 
For Port Metro Vancouver, the model has proved a successful means to assess and develop intermodal transportation strategies that meet the financial and operational objectives of the shipper community, and their responsibilities to the environment and quality of life in their region.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
By Beth Kulick
Beth Kulick is an assistant vice president at TranSystems, where she leads the direction and application of the Operations Modeling and Analysis practice area. She holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering, an M.S. in industrial engineering and has more than 25 years of experience in modeling. Recently, her focus has been applying simulation and related technologies to better serve the transportation and engineering industry, especially for planning and justification of infrastructure and large projects. Contact Beth at (858) 481-6050 or bckulick@transystems.com
Share/Bookmark
Click here to learn more information about TranSystems

More In The Spotlight

TranSystems announces its newest company officers. These appointments recognize professionals who have made outstanding contributions to the company’s success and growth, have demonstrated in-depth industry knowledge and have proven the ability to work effectively across the organization.

 click to read
TranSystems celebrated with the City of Chicago as Mayor Emanuel and Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Jamie Rhee opened O'Hare's new multi-modal facility, on which TranSystems served as Architect of Record and lead engineer. 


 click to read
Located approximately eight miles west of Downtown Cleveland, the historic and iconic Hilliard Road Bridge spans the beautiful, pristine Rock River Valley, which is part of the Cleveland Metroparks' "Emerald Necklace" of parks that encircle the greater Cleveland area. Built in 1925, the 860-foot historic multi-arch concrete structure is in need of major rehabilitation.

 click to read
At the 2018 American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association Conference and Expo, Allene Rieger of the TranSystems Boston office was elected to a three-year term as Vice Chair of Committee 11 - Commuter and Intercity Rail Systems.  click to read
Brian Krul of the Pittsburgh office has been appointed as Vice Chairman of the Construction Legislative Council (CLC) of Western Pennsylvania. click to read
Barbara Frost of the TranSystems St. Louis office has been inducted into the Civil and Environmental Academy of Distinguished Alumni of the University of Missouri, Columbia. click to read
Major airports across the country are in the middle of a construction boom, with a reported $5.42 billion spent on airport construction in May 2018 – a 75 percent increase over May 2017. A multi-year $14 billion construction plan is underway at LAX and New York’s LaGuardia has started a renovation worth an estimated $8 billion, while Chicago is in the midst of kicking off an $8.7 billion Capital Improvement Program. click to read
Built in 1697 and reconstructed in 1893, The Frankford Avenue Bridge over Pennypack Creek in the Holmesburg section of Philadelphia recently underwent another rehabilitation continuing its history. TranSystems served as designer on the rehabilitation.  click to read