Most railroad organizations have defined and divided functions narrowly--around their visible physical activities such as moving trains, switching cars, and setting prices-- because it appeared to be the most efficient way to manage such a complex production process. Unfortunately, adoption of such a structure has meant that the level of service provided to shippers and the use of the railroad's capital assets are the indirect result of numerous and often unrelated decisions rather than the focus of managerial activity. To understand this problem, a single function-car distribution-has been chosen for detailed investigation because it is an important determinant of both level of service and use of the freight-car fleet. Numerous operations research studies of car distribution have been conducted in recent years, but most have defined car distribution narrowly and ignored the broader organizational context within which car distribution actually functions. A framework is developed that is used to structure the analysis in a manner that permits consideration of both the physical elements of the production process and the managerial elements required to control it. Car distribution organization, information, and decision structures are described and analyzed. Eight major areas in which improvement appears to be necessary are identified, and the direction of future research in this area is briefly discussed.

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: pp 8-18
  • Monograph Title: Surface Freight: Rail, Truck, and Intermodal
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00325459
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309030730
  • Report/Paper Numbers: N763
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Feb 18 1981 12:00AM