TRB 2016 Blue Ribbon Committee
16th National Transportation Planning Applications Conference

Piedmont Triad’s Tour Based Freight Model: Development, Integration, and Scenario Tests

Corresponding Author: Colin Smith, RSG

Presented By: Colin Smith, RSG


This presentation describes the Piedmont Triad Freight Study Phase 2 project. During this project, the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation (PART) enhanced its travel demand model - the Piedmont Triad Regional Model (PTRM) which covers the Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point NC, region - by adding an advanced tour-based freight model. The presentation will explain PART’s motivation for developing the model, discuss the design of the model and how it was integrated into the PTRM, and includes the results of test scenarios to demonstrate how the freight model can support PART’s planning needs.

Since the Piedmont Triad region contains important transportation and logistics clusters, and the current tools in place at PART had limitations in their ability to model the effects of long distance truck movements to and from the region, how they interact with local freight distribution, and the complexities of local freight movement for both goods delivery and service activity, PART was motivated to develop more advanced freight modeling tools. The freight model was designed to answer PART’s need for information on the effects of transportation system performance on truck travel and truck emissions, the role of freight movement in the economic growth in the region, and the impacts of development that supports freight movements on communities.

The freight model is a multi-layer model where freight flows and the resulting vehicles movements at the local level are sensitive to changes at the upper interregional level. The model represents two major truck market segments: freight movement and non-freight commercial vehicle movement to provide services. The model is comprised of fours components: (1) Firm synthesis, which creates a list of business establishments within the region, (2) Freight demand, which simulates the movement of commodities to, from, and between business establishments in the region, (3) Freight truck-touring, which simulates truck movements that deliver and pick up freight shipments at business establishments and (4) Commercial vehicle touring, which simulates the remainder of the travel of light, medium, and heavy trucks that is for commercial purposes, i.e., providing services and goods delivery to households and services to business establishments.

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