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UTUTC-IU-4: Value of ITS Information for Congestion Avoidance in Inter-Modal Transportation Systems

Focus Area: Infrastructure Utilization


Principal Investigator:

Alper E. Murat, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
Wayne State University       

Co-Principal Investigators:

Ratna Babu Chinnam, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

Wayne State University


Snehamay Khasnabis, Ph.D.


Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering        
Wayne State University       

Project Dates: 08/15/2007 – 08/14/2008; No Cost extension to 12/31/2008

Project Year: Year 2

UT-UTC Designation: UTUTC-IU-4



This research project addresses a major issue contributing to the transportation network efficiency that directly affects supply chain efficiency. The issue is the effect of congestion at inter-modal terminal facilities and road network incidents on the delivery reliability within inter-modal freight transportation networks. Non-recurring events on road network, such as incidents, as well as inter-modal terminal incidents (accidents, repair, construction, equipment breakdown, labor strikes, etc.) and peak period congestions (e.g., due to seasonal loads) at the inter-modal terminals are the major sources of delay in inter-modal transportation systems. Traditional methods such as capacity expansion with infrastructure investments (network and inter-modal terminals) or buffering methods (e.g., inventory, headways, surplus fleet capacity) prove to be expensive coping mechanisms. Alternative to these expensive and temporary coping mechanisms, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) can provide real-time inter-modal network status information to the users who can then respond to avoid and/or reduce the impact of transportation delays. Specifically, we plan to evaluate the benefits to supply chain logistics from real-time information available through current and future ITS Systems to reduce congestion at both inter-modal freight terminals as well as road networks. More specifically, we will first measure the inter-modal delivery reliability and quantify the impact of delays in inter-modal freight transportation systems on the operations of selected carriers (UPS and C.H.Robinson) and JIT supply chains (Ford inbound and outbound logistics). Next, we will develop simulation and optimization models and algorithms to reduce the impact of and/or avoid congestion in inter-modal freight transportation for supply chain logistics efficiency. In order to generalize our results, we will design and perform survey studies and implement models and algorithms among other representative shippers and carriers in the Michigan and Ohio region. Finally, we will perform a selective cost/benefit analysis of utilizing real-time information from ITS systems for our collaborators.


UT-UTC Grant
Match Amount
Total Project 

$ 55,000 
$ 77,203
$ 132,203
Final Report:

Download Final Report  PDF Symbol

Last Updated: 6/26/15