Analyzing Effects of Spring Highway Load Restrictions on North Dakota’s Agricultural Freight Flows

This paper describes a statewide agricultural freight transportation model that is used to estimate the benefits of improving North Dakota’s state highway system by removing spring load restrictions. The transportation model measures changes in freight flows caused by truck weight regulations during the spring thaw cycle. The primary focus is on grain transportation. A geographic information system (GIS) network of federal, state, and county roads is developed to represent flows from fields to elevators and final destinations. The state is divided into 182 production zones on the basis of agricultural land use patterns. The data for the trip generation component of the model are derived from satellite imagery of crop layers in the state, with the use of GIS spatial analysis and algorithms developed for this purpose. The annual demand at elevators is estimated from grain movement reports filed with the State of North Dakota. Agricultural freight movement is modeled separately as two flows: internal-to-internal (i.e., from fields to elevators) and internal-to-external (i.e., from elevators to final destinations). CUBE transportation planning software is used to model the flows. In addition, the onion model concept used in Iowa is applied as a demand planning tool to capture the effects of spring load restrictions, which are dynamic and move from the southern to the northern part of the state during the spring thaw cycle. The costs of spring load limits are quantified as the increased distance and travel time caused by circuitous truck movements or as the reduced payload per trip.


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  • Accession Number: 01045193
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780309104340
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Feb 8 2007 7:25PM