Shared Intermodal Terminals and Potential for Improving Efficiency of Rail-Rail Interchange

While largely due to conditions outside their control, the configuration and setting of current intermodal rail terminals contribute to congestion and increased freight handling volumes that have resulted in additional transportation costs for shippers and carriers. Although a substantial body of research has focused on improving the efficiency of port operations and multi-modal freight shipments (particularly ship/rail, and ship/truck operations), transmodal shipments (flows within the components of a single mode) have received far less attention. Because of the rapidly growing volume of freight entering North American ports bound for the Midwest, particularly Chicago, improving rail/rail interchange is becoming increasingly critical to overall system efficiency. With average rail/rail transmodal interchanges between Chicago’s terminals exceeding 24 hours, these interchanges represent an increasing fraction of overall preventable delays that is a major concern for freight forwarders. This paper identifies the main inefficiencies of current intermodal rail interchange operations (such as fragmented terminals, unnecessary intercity truck trips, shipment inefficiency, and congestion). It also investigates the concept and potential of shared intermodal facility solutions (multiple railroads concentrate transmodal interchange at one facility), and analyzes governmental and market impediments to the development of shared intermodal facilities. Shared intermodal facilities will bring enormous quantifiable financial, time and energy benefits to shippers and carriers. However, before such facilities can be developed, there is a critical need to gather performance metrics on rail line volume entering the region, the percentage of that volume that is transmodal traffic, and the speed and cost of current interchange. The potential to reduce energy consumption and terminal heavy-duty truck emissions are also explored. Published performance metrics and estimates from field practitioners are used in this preliminary analysis of potential benefits, laying the groundwork for future simulation modeling efforts designed to better quantify these benefits.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 17p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 86th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers CD-ROM

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01045205
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 07-2563
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Feb 8 2007 7:16PM