With most of the focus on the impact of the Panama Canal expansion centered on the upgrade of specific port facilities, there is a need for further research on the impact of increased port traffic on the megaregion level transportation system. Planning on a regional scale will be critical for effectively and efficiently capturing the economic benefits that the expansion will generate. This is not only important for the economic competitiveness of each port’s region, but for the entire nation which depends on the goods delivered at each port. Furthermore, if not properly anticipated, increased demand for freight movement on the highway system will result in added congestion and shortages in truck parking locations.
This not only impacts the “state of good repair” of the highway system, but also could negatively impact highway safety. During this period, a section for impacts of the Panama Canal expansion on freight movement has been completed with multiple scenarios and also a section for regional economic impacts has been completed analyzing the scenarios developed from the previous section in conjunction with IMPLAN regional economic multipliers. The final deliverable is under refinement and revision. The dates for project deliverables have changed and implementation is yet to occur.
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Many DOTs and MPOs seek a standardized freight demand model to apply to their state or region. This study is intended to eventually lead to such a freight demand model utilizing GPS data, laying out long-term guidelines for how to develop a real-world commodity flow-based freight demand model (FDM).
The results inform and examine data sharing, modeling, and collaborative planning and integration of MPO freight activity in statewide freight planning. A survey was conducted to find out current MPO and State level freight modeling activities. A tour-based Atlanta regional truck model has been developed and documented and transferring the same model structure for Birmingham metropolitan area has been completed as well. The team is currently compare the existing models with the newly developed models and work on planning applications with some scenarios. The final deliverable is under refinement and revision. The dates for project deliverables have changed and implementation is yet to occur.