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Research Projects

STATUS: In Progress YEAR: 2018 TOPIC AREA: E-commerce and urban freight Freight logistics and optimization CENTER: PSR

Spatio-Temporal Analysis of Freight Patterns in Southern California

Project Summary

Funding source: Caltrans
Funding amount: $34,975
Contract number: Caltrans 65A0674 Task Order 007
Start and end dates: February 1, 2019 to January 31, 2020

Project description

Recent results evidenced a shift in the location of warehouses and distribution facilities away from consumer markets (logistics sprawl) in Southern California. These shifts have a negative impact because freight vehicles have to travel longer to reach their destinations. However, during the last decade, this trend has not continued at the same pace, and it may have even reversed. Two main factors potentially explain this phenomenon: the 2008-2009 economic slowdown, and an increased e-commerce activity. E-commerce impacts are relevant for freight planning because of the changes in vehicle size to distribute smaller shipments at higher frequencies, consumer proximity requirements to improve delivery service, and the redistribution of the freight activity and supply chain configurations.
This research will conduct spatio-temporal analyses of Caltrans Weigh-in-Motion data, and traffic counts from the Performance Measurement System to validate some of these assumptions. There is evidence that during 2005-2015, the short-haul volume has increased by 69%, whereas long-haul 59%. The analyses could identify changes in concentrations of trip origins, which by vehicle type could indicate long-haul versus last-mile distribution patterns. The results will help estimate changes in vehicles miles traveled, and more importantly, identify the geographical areas of the most impacted communities.


Miguel Jaller
Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Institute of Transportation Studies
2001 Ghausi Hall, Room 3143Davis, CA 95616
United States
mjaller at