Logic over Paradigms: Introducing Large-Diameter Pipelines for Efficient Freight Movement in Southern California

Combined, the San Pedro Bay Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the tenth largest port in the world. The combined Ports account for about 40 percent of the imports into the United States from Asia, and are a huge economic driver for both California and the nation. Approximately 40% of the Ports’ imported goods flow by rail to the interior of the U.S., with the remainder generally moved by truck to and from California’s factories and warehouses. Anyone who has driven the highways of Southern California, especially commuting from the Inland Empire towards Los Angeles, will quickly note the two right-hand lanes lined with trucks as far as the eye can see. And in spite of the reductions of truck diesel emissions through the Ports’ “clean truck” programs, recent evaluations have shown high levels of respiratory impacts along the major freight corridors. Given these circumstances, and the densely built urban landscape that stretches for miles from the Ports, how can they and the nation grow import/export capabilities without compounding the negative impacts of freight movement on the surrounding communities? By automating freight movement underground, with minimal interference of existing transportation modes during construction, using linear electric motors to power the containers to nodes centralized to warehouse districts, and trucks only for last-mile delivery. By combining the freight pipeline with a patented efficient ship berthing system, the entire network can be built as a privately-financed public-private partnership using existing transportation expenditures and no taxes. Governor Jerry Brown’s executive order B-32-15 now makes this $18B proposal more “probable” than “possible”. This paper will present the foundational supporting megatrends forcing the project toward reality, the combination of technology that makes it economically possible, the strategy for crossing myriad jurisdictions through four counties, and the accelerating political and private developments toward supporting construction of the nation’s first large-scale freight pipeline.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: pp 129-138
  • Monograph Title: Pipelines 2016: Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Not Out of Risk

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01608118
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780784479957
  • Files: TRIS, ASCE
  • Created Date: Jul 14 2016 3:02PM