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CHAPTER 7 Case Studies Atlanta: Effectively Managing Truck Traffic in the Urban Environment Background Originally named Terminus, Atlanta was the terminating point for several major railroads serv- Principal Findings ing the South in the early and mid-1800s. As highway systems developed, Atlanta continued to be When developing a hub of transportation activity. Today, Atlanta is the principal logistics hub for the southeastern United States. Current projections suggest that, without enhancement strategies, the region will be a strategic truck a victim of its own success. Traffic volumes will continue to outpace the ability to add capacity, with route master plan, truck volumes leading the trend, resulting in ever-increasing delays and gridlock. Stakeholder inter- it is important to views already indicate that congestion could be a significant hindrance to further economic expan- sion in the region. Other less congested cities such as Charlotte, North Carolina, and Memphis, change the mind- Tennessee, stand ready to compete for future transportation and warehousing jobs. set from one of Like most urban areas in the United States, many different jurisdictions have planning and man- prohibiting com- agement responsibility for elements of the Atlanta metropolitan area transportation network. mercial vehicles These include the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), and local jurisdictions including counties and municipalities. The ARC is the designated from certain neigh- metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for the 18-county Atlanta region. borhoods to effec- Many local jurisdictions in the Atlanta region have no designated truck routes on their sec- tively and efficiently ondary road networks. An inventory of truck management policies conducted as part of the accommodating Strategic Truck Route Plan found that some counties only maintain lists of "No Trucks Allowed" routes; others maintain signage on roadways that were designated as truck routes over 50 years trucks in the urban ago, and others have not identified any form of truck routes at all. environment. This With three major Interstate highways intersecting in the heart of Atlanta, as well as a perime- is done through ter ring-route Interstate, the radial design of Atlanta's Interstate highways has been relied upon dialogue with to funnel most of the truck traffic crossing the region. Numerous capacity enhancements have added lanes, but traffic volumes continue to exceed capacity, and non-recurring events from stakeholders and weather or collisions can idle the network for hours. identifying all possi- With regional responsibility, the MPO embarked on a process to prepare a truck access plan ble routes exhibit- for regionally oriented truck movement. This system had the following two goals: ing truck friendly To alleviate the Interstate network of truck traffic that was regionally oriented, allowing the characteristics that capacity to first be applied to truck movements through the region, and To offer multiple routes in each primary direction, using existing roadways, and to develop/ may be enhanced implement a methodology acceptable to the public sector, private sector, and community for by investment, over local implementation. 64

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Case Studies 65 The Story time, to satisfy On a hot July morning, John and Bob eased their vehicles into the stop-and-go procession both the needs of of metal and humanity known as morning rush hour in Atlanta, Georgia. Bob, a commercial the freight commu- truck driver, had spent the previous night in the sleeper of his truck-tractor parked in the Fly- ing J truck stop in Jackson, just south of Metro Atlanta. On his way from Orlando, Florida, to nity and the com- Lexington, Kentucky, with a load of produce scheduled for delivery at 6:00 A.M. the next morn- munities in which ing, Bob hoped to reach Lexington before his hours of service (HOS) driving limit ran out. Bob trucks operate. pulled out of the truck stop at 7:30 A.M. and was back on the road again. John, also a commer- cial truck driver, had already commuted into work and was now beginning his day as a profes- sional driver. This day would find him traveling a "milk run" delivering and picking up at var- ious locations around the area, crisscrossing most of the 18 counties forming metropolitan Atlanta. John's customers have come to trust his dependability and cheery nature. At 7:45 A.M. John departed his base terminal located just south of the I-285 loop and proceeded down the entrance ramp to the freeway. As is often the case in the South, hot, humid conditions can generate fast-moving storms that inundate an area for several minutes then move on or die out. This morning, one such storm popped up just as the rush hour in North Metro Atlanta peaked. Slippery conditions and poor visibility caused two cars to simultaneously slide into the median at the junction of I-75 and I-85. The incident immediately triggered four more vehicles to crash, including a tanker truck loaded with gasoline, effectively closing the northbound lanes of I-75 for the next 4 hours. Thinking he had left late enough to miss the height of rush hour, Bob was now downstream from the pileup. A novice to driving the Atlanta region, Bob hoped I-75 would clear quickly, but 2 hours later he had progressed little and checked his road map for an alternate truck route. Uncertain of the local street restrictions, he felt forced to remain on I-75. As noon approached, traffic began moving, but having been "on-duty" behind the wheel for more than 4 hours, he would at best make Knoxville before HOS regulations required him to stop for a 10-hour rest period. After calling his customer, his delivery appointment was resched- uled to 6:00 A.M.--the day after next! Like dominoes, his remaining appointments for the week were rescheduled and ultimately he lost two loads reassigned to competing drivers. Under his breath, Bob murmured, "one lousy wreck that I'm not even involved in, and I lose a grand this week." John, an old-hand at maneuvering around Atlanta's traffic jams, got caught in the snarled traffic, but soon advanced enough to take Exit 241, Cleveland Avenue. Using the alternative route and skirt- ing a neighborhood where trucks were not allowed, he could still make his first appointment at Owens-Illinois. After reaching the exit, John turned first on Forrest Hills Drive, then Grand Avenue. Owens-Illinois soon came into view, the plant would still get the materials needed to maintain their just-in-time supply chain, and the manufacturing line would not be idled this morning. Lessons and Outcomes Modal selection for moving goods in urban areas is characterized by a strong dependence on trucks either as a sole-source service or as part of a multimodal solution. In 2002, the United States estimated that 60 percent of all goods by weight moved by truck (70 percent by value). Forecasts suggest the share of goods moving by truck will continue to grow, because trucking is the only modal business model that provides door-to-door service between the shipper and consumer. In Georgia, 86 percent of total freight volumes move by truck. Truck traffic in Atlanta typically constitutes between 10 percent and 15 percent of Interstate traf- fic volumes. As freight volumes grow, having a well-defined strategy for providing future highway

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66 Guidebook for Understanding Urban Goods Movement capacity for truck traffic becomes crucial to Atlanta's economic competitiveness, especially in the face of fiscal realities suggesting that infrastructure enhancements will be only marginal. Designing and enhancing an alternative route network to the radial Interstate highway net- work was identified in the Regional Freight Mobility Plan as a potential strategy. Alternately, new construction of yet another bypass ring-route to alleviate truck volumes on existing Interstates in the metro region is another proposed solution. Each of these solutions provides resolution, but additional bypass capacity carries with it the possibility of unintended consequences for additional growth in the form of sprawl. The development of a Strategic Truck Route Master Plan encompassed the identification of existing non-Interstate roadways that most suitably fulfill the need for access. Selected truck routes should exhibit truck friendly characteristics that may be enhanced by investment, over time, to satisfy both the needs of the freight community and the communities in which they operate. The adoption of such a system is one of Lesser investment needs that provide an efficiency-oriented solution instead of one of construction; Economy-of-scale expansion of the system in which the methodology exhibits a vision of future designation; and Complementary to integrated land-use designation practices that are planned to successfully adapt to land-use planning, existing and new development, and adaptation of previous land- use designations to new, more freight- or non-freight-centric uses. In July 2010, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC Board), which is comprised of represen- tatives of all local jurisdictions, adopted the Atlanta Strategic Truck Route Master Plan (ASTRoMaP). The successful adoption of ASTRoMaP has been attributed to the extensive inter- action with all parties involved in creating the network. Throughout the process, local jurisdic- tions were well informed about the purpose and progress, and repeatedly throughout the process, allowed to question the designation of routes during the process as opposed to raising questions only at the point of adoption. Concerns were answered or adaptations made as the study was being conducted. ASTRoMaP represents a truly regional approach that avoided addressing access issues for individual jurisdictions. The network can be viewed as a benefit to all local communities in the Greater Atlanta region. Many urban areas in the United States have designated truck routes primarily as prohibitions against commercial vehicles (i.e., truck routes more often than not are simply a means of keeping trucks out of residential neighborhoods). The approach adopted by Atlanta was undertaken as a means of effectively and efficiently accommodating trucks in the urban environment. This attitude contributed greatly to the success of the project and the overall strategy. The entities involved in the process expressed a significant desire to initiate a network that encompassed not only regional but local access issues. To prevent the distraction of an individual local road generating a specific need and counterpoint discussion, interviewees understood the MPO's approach to develop a "backbone" system. In subsequent discussions, post adoption, local county jurisdictions are reviewing funding mechanisms to pursue similar strategies to develop more localized networks to complement and support the regional network. References and Sources Arey, Norman, "Greater Atlanta Metropolitan Area Now Includes Alabama County," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News, August 25, 2003. Atlanta Regional Commission, Cities and Towns 2009 Yearbook of Growth and Change, 2010. Atlanta Metropolitan Area, as defined by the U.S. Census. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Freight Facts and Figures, 2005.