The freight transportation sector is a major emitter of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) which has been recognized by numerous experts and science organizations as a significant contributor to climate change. The purpose of this thesis is to develop a a framework for obtaining the freight flows for containerized goods movement through the U.S. marine, highway, and rail systems and to estimate CO2 emissions associated with the freight traffic along interstate corridors that serve the three major U.S. ports on the West Coast, namely the port of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Port of Oakland and the Port of Seattle. This thesis utilizes the Geospatial Intermodal Freight Transportation (GIFT) model, which is a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) based model that links the U.S. and Canadian water, rail, and road transportation networks through intermodal transfer facilities, The inclusion of environmental attributes of transportation modes (trucks, locomotives, vessels) traversing the network is what makes GIFT a unique tool to aid policy analysts and decision makers to understand the environmental, economic, and energy impacts of intermodal freight transportation. In this research, GIFT is used to model the volumes of freight flowing between multiple origins and destinations, and demonstrate the potential of system improvements in addressing environmental issues related to freight transport. Overall, this thesis demonstrates how the GIFT model, configured with California-specific freight data, can be used to improve understanding and decision-making associated with freight transport at regional scales.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Freight and freightage--Environmental aspects--West (U.S.); Geographic information systems; Carbon dioxide--Environmental aspects
Department, Program, or Center
Department of Science Technology and Society/Public Policy (CLA)
Ghosh, Arindam, "Freight transportation and the environment: Using geographic information systems to inform goods movement policy" (2011). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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