AN EXPERIMENT IN FREIGHT MODAL CHOICE: DELINEATING THE RAIL- TRUCK INTERFACE

The market for transportation of manufactured goods which was sampled divides into two segments: a "natural" market for railroads, and a "natural" market for trucking. The major dividing line is an exponentially increasing function of the value of the commodity (per pound) and the distance it is shipped. Railroads, of course, handle the lower- valued goods, but a certain amount of volume within the rail market cannot go by rail because of susceptibility to damage or the lack of rail sidings. Both markets exhibit some degree of rail-truck competition. Twenty percent of the truck market is handled by rail, primarily because trucks lack the capacity. Thirty percent of the rail market is handled by truck because of the shipment size or rail service deficiencies in terms of speed and reliability. The rail market represents the major arena for competition because it is twice the size of the truck market. A model of freight modal choice provides the user with a concrete means of determining where a given type of traffic fits. It consists of a set of decision rules and a set of statistical models for estimating probability of the traffic moving by a given mode. Two types of strategies exist for switching freight between the modes. One type is investment intensive and seeks to reduce modal cost levels or remove operating bottlenecks. The other type is related more to information and technique dissemination. Included here are efforts to change shipment size, optimize shipper and receiver logistical costs, and improve carrier service.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This report was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary, Office of University Research, DOT.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Pennsylvania State University, University Park

    Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, Transportation Research Building
    University Park, PA  USA  16802
  • Authors:
    • Stenger, A J
    • Cunningham, WHJ
  • Publication Date: 1976-5

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 129 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00148593
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transportation Systems Center
  • Report/Paper Numbers: DOT-TST-76-83 Final Rpt.
  • Contract Numbers: DOT-OS-50120
  • Files: NTIS, TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: Mar 15 1977 12:00AM