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Project Type
UTRC Research Initiative
Project Dates
04/01/2014 - 06/30/2016
Principal Investigators
Project Status

Freight flows are a physical expression of the economy, so fostering efficiency in the movement of freight from producers to consumers will spur growth for the economy and employment. However, the transportation of freight generates a large amount of traffic, with resultant congestion, pollution, noise, infrastructure damage, and threats to the quality of life. The main goal of transportation policy should therefore be to maximize the net social benefits of freight activity by ensuring efficient freight flows, while mitigating the negative impacts associated with freight activity. Achieving a proper balance is always a challenge, as it is in the case of urban parking and curb allocation. In most city centers and business districts (CBDs), parking is very limited, translating into trucks double parking, idling, circling blocks, or extending into sidewalks and roadways while using undersized loading areas. This is not only an enforcement issue; frequently, the number of available parking spaces is not enough to satisfy the needs of delivery trucks. In Manhattan for instance, there are ten ZIP codes where the linear capacity of the streets is insufficient to accommodate the trucks needed to make deliveries (Jaller et al., 2013). As a result, carriers are in most cases, forced to park illegally and pay large amounts of money in parking fines ($500 to $1000 per truck per month) (Holguín-Veras et al., 2008). Freight vehicles need to park close to their customers, as the cost of walking from a parking facility to their destinations is very high; parking further away reduces the size of the loads drivers can carry, all of which increases delivery and parking times. As demand for parking increases in CBDs, there is an increasing need for analysis tools to support decisions that will strike a viable balance between supply and demand. Policy makers need these tools to identify and analyze the impacts of potential policies. Traffic simulation tools have been developed to support efforts devoted to modeling passenger car traffic, but most of these pay almost no attention to the effects of the parking allocations, travel times and congestion generated by delivery trucks. There is a lack of data, and knowledge about how the whole system works, and how best to influence it to achieve policy goals. The development of tools aimed at a fuller understanding of parking conditions in urban areas will help to fill this void, and allow public agencies to manage and regulate parking—for passenger and freight traffic—more effectively.