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Mid-America Transportation Center

Improving the Long-Range Tracking Algorithm for use in Tracking Long-Haul Trucks using Cellular Data

Final Report
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Researchers

  • Principal Investigator: Steven Schrock (schrock@ku.edu (785) 864-3418)
  • Project Status
    Complete
    Sponsors & Partners
  • Kansas Department of Transportation
  • About this Project
    Brief Project Description & Background
    Previous research has shown that it is technically possible to estimate the extent that heavy trucks will travel from a specific facility such as a rail-truck intermodal facility based solely on the remote tracking of these vehicles using cellular telephone position data. The use of cellular tracking data to determine travel times along highway corridors is well developed. This process typically focuses on cellular phones as they travel a specific route, and once the cellular phone user passes outside of the area of interest they are no longer tracked and reported on by the cellular phone data provider. In order to properly track freight departing from a facility a different approach is needed; specifically the ability to track a vehicle for several hours or perhaps days depending on the truck's ultimate destination. Additionally, the ability to differentiate between fright-hauling trucks and other non-freight vehicles (e.g., cars) in order to spend effort only tracking vehicles of interest is needed. In previous research this aspect of the tracking process was developed ad-hoc, and may not have been an optimal technical solution. This research effort is focused on improving both the ability to differentiate between freight and non-freight traffic as well as improving the ability determine when the tracked trucks have reached a freight trip end.
    Research Objective
    This research effort is focused on improving both the ability to differentiate between freight and non-freight traffic as well as improving the ability determine when the tracked trucks have reached a freight trip end using cellular telephone data.
    Potential Benefits
    This research will improve on the ability to determine the extent of freight traffic on the highway network eminating from specific facilities such as rail-truck intermodal facilities.
    Abstract
    In today's world of global supply chains, the manufacturing of goods is increasingly spread throughout the world. This ever widening supply chain has placed increased demands for freight movements across the US. As this demand increases, shipping companies are striving to find ways to move more goods on existing networks with increased efficiencies. As a result, the freight transportation environment is evolving, now incorporating such innovations as rail-truck intermodal facilities and inland ports to name a few. These structural changes in the transportation system naturally will result in changes to the range heavy trucks will drive to move goods. A better understanding of how these movements are changing is needed to understand their impacts on the highway network. This research will build on earlier MATC research project, �Feasibility of Using Cellular Telephone Data to Determine the Truckshed of Rail-Truck Intermodal Facilities.� In this previous study, researchers examined if it was technically possible to track a long-haul truck from a rail-truck intermodal facility in order to determine the extent of the business traffic that results from the facility. This research will facilitate a more in-depth analysis of the algorithm used to track these vehicles, to better differentiate between actual freight traffic and other non-truck vehicles that depart from such a facility to improve the ability to define such a truckshed.
    Project Amount
    $ 29,407
    Modal Orientation
  • Logistics
  • Technology Transfer Activities
    Previous research has shown that it is technically possible to estimate the extent that heavy trucks will travel from a specific facility such as a rail-truck intermodal facility based solely on the remote tracking of these vehicles using cellular telephone position data. The use of cellular tracking data to determine travel times along highway corridors is well developed. This process typically focuses on cellular phones as they travel a specific route, and once the cellular phone user passes outside of the area of interest they are no longer tracked and reported on by the cellular phone data provider. In order to properly track freight departing from a facility a different approach is needed; specifically the ability to track a vehicle for several hours or perhaps days depending on the truck's ultimate destination. Additionally, the ability to differentiate between fright-hauling trucks and other non-freight vehicles (e.g., cars) in order to spend effort only tracking vehicles of interest is needed. In previous research this aspect of the tracking process was developed ad-hoc, and may not have been an optimal technical solution. This research effort is focused on improving both the ability to differentiate between freight and non-freight traffic as well as improving the ability determine when the tracked trucks have reached a freight trip end.