Freight Information Real-Time System for Transport (FIRST): Evaluation Final Report

5 October 2003
Staten Island,New York,United States

Summary Information

An analytical demand model was constructed to estimate the benefits of adding a terminal appointment system to the Freight Information Real-Time System for Transport (FIRST) project at the Howland Hook terminal in Staten Island, New York. The appointment feature was designed to save commercial vehicle operators (CVO) time by allowing them to pre-register and reserve dedicated time-slots for expedited handling of cargo at terminal gates. The Howland Hook terminal provides an on-dock rail service and is connected to the North American intermodal rail network.

To investigate the potential time saving benefits of adding an appointment system, a simulation model was constructed using accepted transportation queuing theory concepts to determine queuing activity "with" and "without" the system in operation at various levels of acceptance (0 to 100 percent). Data input into the model was derived from field observations of queuing activity and terminal records collected over a period of five days in June 2002. Trial runs of the model "with" the appointment system included the following assumptions:
  • The web based appointment system automatically tracked appointments.
  • The number of vehicles entering the system was controlled by a preset capacity.
  • Truckers were provided with an hour-long slot in which to show up at the terminal and receive expedited service.
  • A dedicated lane was provided for appointment vehicles.
  • No vehicles received a trouble-ticket for having improper information.

Trials runs "without" the appointment system (0 percent acceptance) generated baseline data similar to that observed in the field. The model was calibrated to handle a weekly average of approximately 1400 vehicles per day. The author indicated the model would have to be recalibrated to represent conditions where baseline estimates were significantly different.

The "with" and "without" simulation trials were compared and the following results were reported. Overall, the results were highly dependent on the level of appointment system usage.
  • At 100 percent use of the appointment system, the total in-terminal time across all vehicles was 40,539 minutes per day, a 48 percent decrease compared to the 0 percent use scenario.
  • At this 100 percent use level, the evaluation team estimated a health cost savings of $93,107 per year (2003 dollars).

The evaluation team estimated annual environmental health impacts by combining time savings estimates, estimates of diesel emissions by the U.S. EPA, U.S. DOE, academia and private firms, and published estimates of health costs related to motor vehicle emissions.

The author noted the benefits observed are highly dependent on configuration of the baseline queuing system, and the level of system buy-in. At several levels of system buy-in investigated in the study, there was a significant increase in total time in-terminal by all trucks. For example with only 5 percent of trucks using the appointment system there was a 390 percent increase in the total time in-terminal. These increases in delay were due to the dedication of lanes to trucks with appointments, leaving insufficient capacity to accommodate trucks without appointments.


Benefit Comments

No comments posted to date

Comment on this Benefit

To comment on this summary, fill in the information below and click on submit. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field. Your name and email address, if provided, will not be posted, but are to contact you, if needed to clarify your comments.


Freight Information Real-Time System for Transport (FIRST): Evaluation Final Report

Author: Srour, J., et al.

Published By: Federal Highway Administration, U.S. DOT

Prepared by SAIC for the U.S. DOT

Source Date: 5 October 2003

EDL Number: 13951



Average User Rating

0 ( ratings)

Rate this Benefit

(click stars to rate)

Typical Deployment Locations

Metropolitan Areas


None defined

Benefit ID: 2004-00275