News | Optimizing Freight Routing: PSR Researchers Investigate Freight Coordination with Traffic Simulators

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by Anh Vu and Georgie Suico

Freight transport systems deliver products across the country. However, inefficient shipping methods, including sub-optimal routing, can cause unnecessary delays and contribute to congestion. In 2016, congestion from trucking, the most common method of moving freight, cost the US economy $74.5 billion by delaying traffic a total of 1.2 billion hours. There are also environmental costs. Trucking contributes 68% of all GHG emissions sourced from freight movement.


To optimize trucking routes with the goal of improving freight transport efficiency, PSR researchers Petros Ioannou and Pengfei Chen of the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California conducted research on the “Dynamic Routing of Trucks and Truck Platoons Using RealTime Traffic Simulators.”


Their research considers several factors that may impact freight routing decisions, including the transition to electric trucks, which adds an additional layer of complexity to routing, because of charging times, higher capital costs, and limited range. Using Southern California, particularly the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area and the San Pedro Bay Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles as a study area, Ioannou and Chen find that a load balancing system that optimizes daily demand across time periods and routes achieves the lowest possible cost, while accounting for the use of both electric trucks and truck platoons.


To learn more about this study, click here.