Can Truck Eco-Routing Bridge the Gap in the Transition to Zero-Emission?
39 Pages Posted: 19 May 2022
Freight is fundamental to economic growth, however, the trucks that haul this freight are pollution intensive. Further, recent trends in freight distribution have significantly increased urban freight flows, worsening traffic congestion, noise levels, and air quality in cities, which particularly affect the lower income communities. While alternative fuel technologies could substantially reduce such freight-related externalities, the transition to alternative fuel delivery fleets has been slow, owing to high purchase costs and longer payback periods compared to traditional delivery vehicle fleets. Since the need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and local criteria pollutants is immediate, it is imperative to account for externalities in carriers’ decision-making in the form of eco-routing. Doing so may bring about the desired reductions in emissions while adoption of cleaner modes of delivery gathers pace. To this end, the authors explore opportunities and challenges of freight eco-routing in terms of A) cost-benefits and tradeoffs of eco-routing for a carrier using a point-to-point routing tool, and B) network-wide impacts of system-wide freight eco-routing using multi-class Traffic Assignment by Paired Alternative Segments (mTAPAS) algorithm. This study evaluates reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and criteria pollutants, with a particular focus on direct impacts on disadvantaged communities in the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) region. With this, the study showcases the opportunities associated with freight eco-routing in reducing externalities across southern California, however, the authors also highlight the challenges involved, including a current lack of incentive for stakeholders to account for such externalities in their decision-making.
Keywords: eco-routing, urban freight, geofencing, multi-class traffic assignment, TAPAS
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