Although we often take the safe, efficient movement of freight for granted, our local and global economies depend on it. Whatever the path — highways, railways, waterways, airports, ports of entry, pipelines — reliably getting goods to market drives the heartbeat of our economy.
Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) researchers are at the forefront of freight mobility research, investigating innovative technologies and analytical approaches to ensure the efficient movement of goods to market.
Getting the Future of Texas Freight Movement on Track
“In Texas, freight transportation is at a crossroads,” explains Curtis Morgan, manager of TTI’sMultimodal Freight Program. “We have to make critical improvements soon in both efficiency and capacity to prepare for big changes coming in the next 25 years.” According to a draft of the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT’s) Freight Mobility Plan, by 2040, the Texas population is expected to grow from 26 million to 45 million residents, with an increase in goods moved per year from 2.6 billion to 3.8 billion tons.
Morgan and his team are finishing an initial report for TxDOT that identifies more than 50 innovative or automated freight strategies and technologies from around the world. Among these are the use of automated and driverless trucks, specialized software that connects all the operators in a supply chain, truck-only roadways, and the unmanned aerial vehicle delivery of goods.
“For each freight strategy we evaluated, we looked at how it works, its potential use in Texas compared to how it’s used elsewhere, and costs associated with implementation and use,” Morgan says. “Our next job is to help TxDOT narrow down the possibilities to the ones that make the most sense for future deployment in Texas.”