METRANS UTC

Tracking Truck Flows with Programmable Mobile Devices for Drayage Efficiency Analysis

Project Number

1-3a

Project Summary

Inefficient use of drayage trucks results in negative externalities of pollution and congestion.  A full measure of the current state of drayage efficiency and future changes as trade volume grows can only be obtained through detailed tracking of drayage activities. 

Recent emergence of tablet computers provides an ideal platform for the design of an Electronic On-Board Recorder (EOBR) for such tracking.  CSULB researchers have built a prototype of an EOBR that would perform GPS tracking of the truck locations periodically as well as during certain activities, with all logs time stamped.  It would also provide easy entry by driver of their work activities where appropriate. The data collected on the device can then be transmitted to a server and maintained in a database. 

This project is to adopt and enhance this prototype, conduct a large-scale deployment of this technology, build a database of the collected data, and develop a user interface and graphical display tools for the access and analysis of the collected data.  A thorough understanding of truck flow inefficiencies and their cause, and the freight flows pattern in a given area will not only provide useful data for the truck industry to devise strategies for productivity improvement, but also help stake holders in supply chain management, including the ports and terminal operators, to identify the sources of inefficiency in drayage, quantify the impacts of these inefficiencies and develop solutions. 

Project Status

Complete

Project Report

Year

2014

Topic Area

Integrated Freight and Passenger Systems

P.I. Name & Address

Professor, Computer Engineering and Computer Science; College of Engineering
California State University Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Blvd.
ECS-549
Long Beach, CA 90840
United States
shui.lam@csulb.edu

Funding Source(s) and
Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization)

California Department of Transportation

$100,000

Total Project Cost

$100,000

Agency ID or Contract
Number

65A0533

Start and End Dates

8/25/2014 - 10/31/2015

Brief Description of
Research Project

Inefficient use of drayage trucks results in negative externalities of pollution and congestion.  A full measure of the current state of drayage efficiency and future changes as trade volume grows can only be obtained through detailed tracking of drayage activities. 

Recent emergence of tablet computers provides an ideal platform for the design of an Electronic On-Board Recorder (EOBR) for such tracking.  CSULB researchers have built a prototype of an EOBR that would perform GPS tracking of the truck locations periodically as well as during certain activities, with all logs time stamped.  It would also provide easy entry by driver of their work activities where appropriate. The data collected on the device can then be transmitted to a server and maintained in a database. 

This project is to adopt and enhance this prototype, conduct a large-scale deployment of this technology, build a database of the collected data, and develop a user interface and graphical display tools for the access and analysis of the collected data.  A thorough understanding of truck flow inefficiencies and their cause, and the freight flows pattern in a given area will not only provide useful data for the truck industry to devise strategies for productivity improvement, but also help stake holders in supply chain management, including the ports and terminal operators, to identify the sources of inefficiency in drayage, quantify the impacts of these inefficiencies and develop solutions. 

Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes (or why not implemented)

We obtained an agreement of a drayage company in Southern California to allow five truck drivers to participate in the tracking for a duration of two months.  The collected data is kept in a database and analysis of the collected data is being performed.  Based on our experience on this project, we believe tracking of drayage trucks is of great interest to all stakeholders.  However, reliable and error-free tracking must eliminate the need for driver inputs, either through further automation of event sensing or integration with existing information systems that terminal operators and drayage companies use to record job orders and job completions.

Impacts/Benefits of Implementation (actual, not anticipated)

The 2 months of tracking and the analysis of the collected data provided concrete findings on the current state of drayage in Southern California during this period from which areas of inefficiencies can be identified.  Long-term and more extensive tracking requires drayage industry’s willingness to participate.

Web Links, Reports, Project website

http://www.metrans.org/research-projects/metrans-utc

Project website for accessing the collected data is at http://134.139.249.76:8888/.