The Freight Landscape: Using Secondary Data Sources to Describe Metropolitan Freight Flows

Project Number


Project Summary

Using comprehensive data on population, establishments, and transportation, this project analyzes relationships between spatial structure and freight activity.  The main hypothesis is that the spatial distribution of freight activity is related to the spatial organization of economic activities.  Freight activity may be measured as truck or commodity trip generation and flows.  We will estimate models of freight activity as a function of local and regional spatial characteristics. 

The concept of the freight landscape, a description of freight activity imputed from population, employment and transport network characteristics is introduced. Descriptive case studies of Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Sacramento  illustrate the freight landscape.  Models to test the relationship between freight flows and the freight landscape are estimated for Los Angeles and San Francisco.  Results of the research will contribute to developing a city logistics typology, and to the development of methods to predict freight flow characteristics based on spatial data.

Project Status




Topic Area

Integrated Freight and Passenger Systems

P.I. Name & Address

Professor; Margaret and John Ferraro Chair in Effective Local Government; Senior Associate Dean for Research and Technology; Director, METRANS , Sol Price School of Public Policy
University of Southern California
650 Childs Way
Ralph and Goldy Lewis Hall (RGL) 216
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626
United States

Funding Source

US Department of Transportation

Total Project Cost


Agency ID or Contract Number

Grant No: DTRT13-G-UTC57

Start and End Dates

1/1/2014 – 12/31/2015