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

Understanding Urban Truck Movements in Baltimore

Corresponding Author: Colin Smith, RSG

Presented By: Colin Smith, RSG


The Baltimore Metropolitan Council, the MPO for the Baltimore region, has developed a regional truck touring model as part of the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2) Implementation Assistance Program C-20 grant. Collaborating with the Maryland State Highway Administration, the agencies developed a behavior based freight model for Maryland, which includes a statewide supply chain model and a regional truck touring model.

The regional truck touring model is comprised of two sub models that cover the major truck market segments: freight movement and non-freight commercial vehicle movement. The freight truck-touring model simulates truck movements that deliver and pick up freight shipments at business establishments. The commercial vehicle touring model 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. The model produces daily truck trips lists which can be aggregated into origin to destination truck trip tables and assigned to a highway network along with trip tables that cover passenger vehicles.

This presentation focuses on the regional truck touring model and specifically how it is being used, in combination with other information such as truck GPS data, to understand the current and future impacts of urban truck movements in Baltimore. The project team worked with data from the American Transportation Research Institute’s database of truck GPS data to understand the current pattern of urban truck movements in Baltimore, in particular the amount of truck activity at important locations such as the Port of Baltimore, at distribution centers and manufacturing locations around the city, and at other truck activity centers such as retail hubs. The truck GPS data provides the ability to understand not only the number of trips starting and ending at those locations but also the spatial and temporal patterns of travel to and from them. The presentation reviews this information and discusses how the regional truck touring model captures it in its base scenario and how it is capable of evaluating changes to the urban truck travel patterns in alternative scenarios.


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