As global trade continues to increase, the energy and environmental impacts of freight movement in the US have become more of a concern. As such, the freight transport system needs to consider opportunities to meet customer objectives, while also meeting social goals. In the US there has been legislation enacted to address the growing impact that freight movement has on the environment, but there are limited tools to assist in the implementation of those polices. This research sets forth a process for creating a geospatial intermodal freight transportation (GIFT) model within ArcGIS that can be used to analyze freight movement under different economic and environmental scenarios. The GIFT model uses an intermodal network that connects various modes (rail, truck, and ship) via intermodal terminals. ArcGIS Network Analyst is used to create the intermodal network and conduct optimal route analysis for various network attributes. Routes along the network are characterized not only by temporal and distance attributes, but also by cost, energy, and emissions attributes. Decision makers can use the model to explore tradeoffs among alternative route selection across different modal combinations, and to identify optimal routes for objectives that feature energy and environmental parameters (e.g., least carbon dioxide intensive route). The research illustrates the use of this network using a case study that analyzes freight traffic along the US Eastern Seaboard.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Freight and freightage--United States--Energy consumption; International trade--Environmental aspects; Shipment of goods--United States--Energy consumption; Shipping--United States--Energy consumption; Transportation--Planning--Data processing; Geographic

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Department of Science Technology and Society/Public Policy (CLA)


Korfmacher, Karl

Advisor/Committee Member

Hawker, Scott


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: HE199.U5 F35 2008


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