Emission Reducing Efficiency Strategies to Incorporate into the California Sustainable Freight Strategy (CSFS) - Information Technology, Operational Modernization, and Planning and Policy

Relevant California state agencies and departments are working together to develop the California Sustainable Freight Strategy (CSFS) for a sustainable freight transport system that relies on zero and near-zero emission equipment powered by renewable energy sources. This equipment also meets multiple goals, including: enhancing the economic competitiveness and efficiency of California’s logistics system, creating jobs, and increasing the safety and livability of freight corridors. As part of this effort, researchers from the National Center for Sustainable Transportation worked with representatives from state agencies, industry, non-governmental agencies, and academia to develop a series of five white papers that examined broad-based approaches to increase the efficiency of the freight system.

The "Information Technology" white paper explores the potential to improve data and information systems, both public and private, to increase system efficiency. It presents recommendations for using information technology solutions to increase the efficiency of California’s multimodal freight system. These recommendations resulted from a consensus-based process by working group committee members. We address two problems:  information problems in the goods movement supply chain, and information problems in statewide trucking. Regarding the goods movement supply chain, we recommend the following strategies:  1) accelerate and expand the FRATIS program; 2) implement ports-wide appointment systems at the state’s major ports; 3) develop and implement a transparent supply chain wide load tracking system. Regarding statewide trucking, we recommend the following strategies: 4) statewide smart parking system; 5) “push” freight information system; 6) statewide freight information platform; 7) border region ITS strategy; and 8) freight focused traffic management.

The "Operational Modernization at Distribution Nodes" white paper identifies a range of technological and process-driven opportunities that hold the potential for modernizing distribution nodes to promote freight efficiency while also improving safety and air quality standards. To promote improved truck access at distribution nodes, the research investigates the use of truck platooning, virtual container yards, design-based guidelines, and weigh-in-motion strategies to improve freight efficiency. The research also explores strategies focused on establishing energy independence at marine terminals through the use of energy microgrids.

The "Planning and Policy" white paper addresses increasing trade volumes at freight hubs and nodes, including maritime ports, airports, intermodal facilities, and border crossings, provide significant economic benefit but also social costs. Increased volume of trade creates jobs, generates state and local tax revenue, and creates positive externalities. High trade volumes also impose costs, including vehicle congestion, collisions, environmental costs, and increased infrastructure development and maintenance and preservation costs. The paper explores the ways that state departments of transportation can enhance their policy and planning efforts—and the outreach efforts that inform those processes—to better implement infrastructure, operational, and technology-based modernization strategies to improve system productivity and efficiency.


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