Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Alameda County Transportation Commission
(Alameda CTC) - GoPort Freight Intelligence Transportation System


The Alameda County Transportation Commission (Alameda CTC) and the Port of Oakland (Port)are pleased to submit this application for the Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) grant program. As partners, we have been working on a two-year systems engineering and preliminary design effort that we are finalizing in September 2017, which will result in the preliminary engineering design and detailed implementation plan of the first integrated Freight Community System and port Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) in the nation.

More specifically, Alameda CTC and the Port have developed a comprehensive transportation technology and congestion management concept called the Global Opportunities at the Port of Oakland Freight Intelligent Transportation System (GoPort Freight ITS). The GoPort Freight ITS is intended to improve traffic flow and goods movement to and within the Port, reduce congestion, improve safety, provide improved traveler information, reduce emissions – and collectively these benefits will significantly improve port operational efficiencies, thereby increasing the competitiveness of the Port in the global market. The GoPort Freight ITS will provide real-time critical information (e.g. congestion alerts, terminal queues, truck parking availability) to the Port's community of public and private stakeholders, and will also apply technology to key freight arterials and connecting freeways, including the Primary Highway Freight System (PHFS) roadways on the National Highway Freight Network (NHFN) in Alameda County.

This project has extensive support in the region, including from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the City of Oakland, and a broad-based private-sector group of three marine terminals, trucking companies, two Class I railroads, and beneficial cargo owners (BCO) – is pleased to submit this application to partner with the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) on this groundbreaking port technology deployment that integrates advanced ITS technologies, sensors, and data, with a new core system based on the principles of a Freight Community System.

The Need

The Port is one of the most export-intensive ports in the nation, helping to strengthen the national trade balance, and serves as a critical global gateway of the vast and diverse Northern California regional economy. The Port is a nexus for handling a variety of goods including agricultural, viticulture, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and electronics to the rest of the world. It is one of the top 10 busiest container ports in the U.S. handling approximately 2.4 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2016. The Port complex encompasses approximately 1,300 acres, including 770 acres of marine terminals, numerous transload/warehouse companies and is served by two Class I railroads. The Port's facilities include six major container terminals, 20 deep-water berths equipped with 35 container cranes, near-dock rail intermodal facilities operated by the Union Pacific (UP) Railroad and BNSF Railway, and a network of arterial roads on the PHFS that link to Interstate (I-) Highways I-80, I-880, I-580, and I-980 in the NHFN.

As highlighted in Figure 1, while the Port has available marine terminal and warehouse capacity, it has noticeable roadway access and internal circulation constraints, such as roadway queuing in advance of Port terminal gates, inefficient arterial traffic movement through intersections, recurrent traffic congestion, and illegal parking violations. Additionally, trucks traveling to the port from within the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, as well as significant agricultural truck traffic from California's Central Valley, face significant peak-period congestion and unpredictable traffic congestion that reduces truck travel time efficiency and reliability. Currently, Port operations staff has a limited set of tools and information systems to address traffic and incidents. Moreover, trucking company dispatchers, truck drivers, terminal operators, railroad operations personnel, and BCO logistics planners have no common information platform to receive key information on Port road conditions, queue lengths, and incident alerts.

Two images of heavy traffic with several Freight Trucks depicted.  The first image is labeled 7th and Middle Harbor Rd and the second is labeled Ben E Nutter Terminal Approach

Figure 1: Examples of Truck Congestion Issues at the Port of Oakland

Collectively, these constraints act to reduce the efficiency of the Port, causing wasted time in truck traffic delays, unnecessary queuing/idling, inefficient responsiveness to traffic incidents, illegal truck parking, and missed appointment windows for container pickups and deliveries. These inefficiencies result in economic losses which reduce the competitiveness of the Port on the global market. Additionally, these conditions result in diminished air quality due to increases in greenhouse gases (GHG) and particulates from truck idling and traffic congestion delays.

Port efficiency on the West Coast has been determined to be a critical area of focus for the Federal government, as outlined in this excerpt from a recent report to congress from the U.S. Government Accountability Office:

U.S. West Coast ports are critical to the national transportation freight network and global supply chains. Changes in global shipping and disruptions at ports can create congestion and economic hardship for shippers with resulting effects throughout supply chains. The 2015 Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act provides freight policy goals, including increasing U.S. economic competitiveness; reducing freight congestion; and improving the safety, reliability, and efficiency of the freight network.1

As described in the following subsections, the GoPort Freight ITS has been carefully conceptualized and designed to respond to these challenges, with its primary mission centered on increasing the freight transportation efficiency of the Port, which in turn, will lead to benefits in the areas of productivity, safety, mobility, energy and environmental.

Project Foundation

The GoPort Freight ITS has its origin as a part of the broader "GoPort Program" that is focused on improving truck and rail access to the Port of Oakland. The GoPort Program consists of three components – two infrastructure improvements, and one ITS improvement. Appendix E provides a two-page GoPort Program Summary Sheet that outlines the program in more detail.

  • The two major infrastructure projects are focused on construction of a new railroad grade separation (7th Street West Segment), and reconstruction of an existing railroad underpass (7th Street East Segment).2 These projects will significantly improve port access for vehicles (trucks and automobiles), trains, pedestrians and bicyclists, and will minimize conflicts between each of these transportation modes.
  • The third project is the development of an Intelligent Transportation Systems and Technology (ITST) Master Plan, and subsequent design and deployment of ITS elements detailed in the plan. The ITST Master Plan project, which will wrap up with a preliminary design in September 2017, was developed in partnership by Alameda CTC and the Port, and supported by a Systems Engineering Team consisting of Jacobs Engineering and Cambridge Systematics. The project has completed the development of a rigorous user needs assessment, an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) compliant concept of operations, and ITS implementation master plan.

Based on the ITST Master Plan concept of operations, Alameda CTC and the Port identified an initial phase of development and implementation of a comprehensive freight transportation technology and congestion management concept called the GoPort Freight ITS, which is the focus of this application.

Additionally, the GoPort Freight ITS proposed in this grant application presents a unique opportunity to create a symbiotic relationship between the two infrastructure projects and the ITS implementation. It is intended that the GoPort Freight ITS will need to be implemented no later than 2021, before the construction of the major improvements associated with the two 7th Street infrastructure projects. Thus, the GoPort Freight ITS will be used in order to manage traffic and incidents to minimize disruption to the goods movements to the Port during this construction phase.

Project Description

Beginning in 2015 with an initial scoping study, and concluding in September 2017, through the ITST Master Plan project, Alameda CTC and the Port of Oakland have committed nearly $2 million for planning, systems engineering, and preliminary design activities to plan for the deployment of the GoPort Freight ITS. As shown in Table 1, the GoPort Freight ITS Implementation Plan consists of a suite of 14 carefully integrated technology deployments as part of an "Initial Deployment Phase," centered on advanced ITS and freight-centric information exchange among Port operators and users.

Alameda CTC and the Port would welcome the opportunity to partner with the USDOT to fully implement the "Initial Deployment Phase" in this plan, as highlighted in Table 1. These improvements represent a comprehensive list of deployments that support the collection, management, and dissemination of information designed to improve Port access, efficiency, and operations. Additionally, while not included as projects in this grant application, the entire plan, including elements identified under the "Future Elements" list in Table 1, will lay the foundation for the future deployment of multiple USDOT-defined Connected Vehicle applications and advanced ITS and freight technologies. With these deployments, the ITS foundation will be ready to support expected developments in truck automation technologies as soon as 2020.

ATCMTD Grant Request (Initial Deployment Phase) Future Elements Not Addressed in this Grant Request
  • Communications (Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi), fiber)
  • Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) upgrade to high definition
  • Queue detection
  • Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS)
  • Centrally controlled and adaptive signal system
  • Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) readers
  • Changeable Message Signs (CMS)
  • Joint Traffic Management Center (TMC)/Emergency Operations Center (EOC)
  • Supplemental vehicle detection (speed)
  • Center-to-center (C2C) communication
  • Advanced rail grade crossing system
  • Weigh-in-motion (WIM) scales
  • GoPort Freight ITS Information System/Application
  • Basic smart parking system
  • Freight signal priority
  • Advanced GoPort Freight ITS information system/app
  • Dynamic lane control
  • Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) Radios
  • Advanced smart parking system
  • Advanced ATMS
  • Connected and autonomous vehicles

There are two key synthesizing elements of these 14 technology deployments: a GoPort Traffic Management Center (TMC)/Emergency Operations Center (EOC); and the GoPort Freight ITS Information System/Application:

  1. The GoPort TMC involves the expansion of the Port's EOC to include Port-specific TMC capability, consistent with staffing levels at the current EOC. The effectiveness of the TMC/ EOC can be enhanced by other technologies, including additional surveillance and detection equipment, integration of existing databases, improved data analytics, provision of detailed freight-specific information through mobile devices (e.g. predictive terminal wait times, container availability through an eModal (an online gateway that provides marine terminal operator (MTO) information on container availability) link, customized alerts, etc.), Internet applications, as well as roadside changeable message signs (CMSs). Regional data sharing through Center-to-Center (C2C) Communications with Caltrans District 4 can also be featured, as well as connectivity with MTC's existing 511 traveler information system.
  2. The GoPort Freight ITS Information System/App consists of a database to integrate with the TMC synthesizing, both real-time and historical data, on Port traffic, truck access, major travel routes, incidents, terminal queues, parking conditions, rail crossing information, ship arrival, container availability, and other key information. Additionally, multiple user applications (web and mobile) will be developed on the platform for multiple user types – including trucking dispatchers and drivers, marine terminal operations staff, railroad operations staff, Port operations staff, and public-sector operations staff.

Figure 2 provides an illustrative overview of how the GoPort Freight ITS can be used by stakeholders in the region to improve their operations. For its freight industry stakeholders, the GoPort Freight ITS will improve the efficiency, safety, and reliability of truck access and circulation within the Port (e.g. terminals, rail yards, warehouses, parking). The use of the GoPort Freight ITS is projected to reduce shipping costs and improve the competitiveness of the Port, while also generating benefits that extend beyond the Port area, such as reductions in truck travel times, emissions, safety and job creation.

The study area for this project focuses on the Port of Oakland and PHFS roadways that provide access to Port facilities within Alameda County, and the NFHN including the I-80 segment from Carquinez Bridge to the I-80/I-580/I-880 junction, the I-238 segment from I-580 to the I-880 Interchange, the I-580 segment from I-238 to east of Crow Canyon Road Interchange, and the I-880 segment from the I-80/I-580/I-880 junction to the A Street Interchange. These facilities all experience significant congestion; and while this project will not significantly alter general regional congestion, it does provide freight-tailored traffic information, including predictive truck trip times to trucking fleets and drivers both within the study area, and beyond, extending to agricultural trucking fleets in California's Central Valley.

map of Oakland California

Figure 2: GoPort Freight ITS Overview

ATCMTD Elements Addressed in this Application

As detailed previously, Alameda CTC is proposing to partner with USDOT on this groundbreaking port technology deployment that integrates advanced ITS technologies, sensors, and data, with a new core system based on the principles of a Freight Community System.

The goal of a Freight Community System is to effectively link and integrate (including conversion of data to standardized formats) existing databases and management systems, and then to create web and mobile applications which can be accessed in a freight community (by both private and public sector users) such as a port. The Port of Oakland has the building blocks of a Freight Community System, already having a truck registration system with a corresponding Radio-Frequency Identify (RFID) network for trucks, and terminals which use a standard platform to communicate container availability (eModal).

For the GoPort Freight ITS, the Alameda CTC team is proposing to go well beyond the basic Freight Community System concept, and deploy the nation's first integration of Freight Community System and advanced ITS technology. This unique approach, which will also include a new port-specific TMC, will allow for the fusion of traffic sensors, advanced traveler information, traffic messaging, trucking information web and mobile apps, rail grade traffic warning information, terminal queue information, and more. This system would be an invaluable template for other U.S. ports to consider in the competition for global trade share.

A preliminary Bluetooth-based travel time system that the Port is currently evaluating, called DrayQ as represented in Figure 3, provides an example output of the functionality of a GoPort Mobile Application for the trucking and Port private-sector stakeholders. This functionality includes Port and terminal wait times, entry-to-exit terminal turn times, street wait times, and wait time trends. More importantly, these components can be tracked and provided in real time to truckers, dispatchers, and terminal operations staff. Traffic camera images and travel time data can supplement this, providing truckers and dispatchers with real-time confirmation of traffic conditions both inside and outside of the Port. This allows users to select the most appropriate gateways into the Port to reduce travel time and distance and improve the coordination of their transactions. The GoPort Freight ITS Mobile App will also provide a platform that can be tailored to the operations and/or travel patterns of specific users across public and private stakeholder groups.

Figure 3: Potential Outputs from a GoPort Freight ITS Mobile App for Truck Drivers

Table 2 provides a comprehensive summary of the advanced congestion management technologies that will be deployed in this project, highlighting that many of the proposed project
elements address the solutions identified in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO).

Table 2: ATCMTD Technologies Addressed in this Application
Congestion Technology Solutions Projects
Freight Community System GoPort Information System and Applications
Advanced Transportation Management Technologies ATMS, Joint TMC/EOC, Communications (Wi‑Fi, Fiber), CCTV Upgrade to HD, Adaptive Signal Systems, RFID readers, Vehicle Detection, Queue Detection
Advanced Traveler Information Systems GoPort Information System and Applications, CMSs, C2C Communication, Advanced Rail Grade Crossing System, Basic Smart Parking System
Infrastructure Maintenance, Monitoring, and Condition Assessment CCTV Upgrade to HD, WIM, Joint TMC/EOC
Transportation System Performance Data Collection, Analysis, and Dissemination Systems ATMS, C2C Communication, Joint TMC/EOC, GoPort Information System and Applications
Advanced Safety Systems Advanced Rail Grade Crossing System, WIM, Joint TMC/EOC

Grant Application Information and Commitments

The total project cost is estimated at $24,291,369. Alameda CTC is requesting $9,716,548 in Federal funds (40 percent) from the ATCMTD program to complement the $14,574,821 in committed local funds (60 percent), which will be provided through the local match. The source of the local match is Alameda County's Measure BB, as further elaborated in Section 2. The project's planned duration is four years, from October 2017 through September 2021.

Additionally, to enhance USDOT's confidence that Alameda CTC and the Port will continue to operate these technologies for the long term, the Port commits to fund operations of the GoPort ATCMTD technologies and applications for a minimum of five years beyond the completion of the ATCMTD grant.

Alameda CTC and the Port fully commit to expeditiously implement project activities to ensure completion within four years after grant award. Alameda CTC and the Port will be working with a range of stakeholders, who represent both users of the proposed system and agencies responsible for planning, designing, construction, operations and maintenance of the transportation system. Outside of Port staff, other goods movement system users include MTOs, motor carrier operators and dispatchers, nonvessel operating common carriers (NVOCC), BCOs, ocean carriers, chassis providers, rail company operators, members of the Port sponsored Port Efficiency Task Force (PETF; an intermodal freight private sector stakeholder group – further defined in Section 2),
and other travelers to the Port. Public-sector stakeholders include Caltrans, California Highway Patrol (CHP), Alameda CTC, City of Oakland, MTC, MTC Service Authority for Freeways and Expressways (SAFE), and other supporting entities (e.g. U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and local utility providers).

Table 3 summarizes the performance of the project relative to the ATCMTD grant criteria. The results of the benefit-cost assessment of deployment of these technologies, which is presented later in Section 8, forecast a benefit-cost ratio in just the first year of operations in 2020 to be 10.6 to 1. The expected long-term outcomes outlined in Table 3 fully illustrate how the proposed GoPort Freight ITS as presented in this application meets the selection criteria for the ATCMTD Grant Program.

Table 3: Summary of Grant Criteria
Criteria Long-Term Outcomes
Technical Merit
Alignment with vision, goals and focus areas
  • Reduced costs for users of the Port of Oakland through time savings and improved operational efficiency.
  • Environmental benefits from reduced congestion and idling.
  • Improved safety through more efficient flow on the arterial and freeway system.
  • Improved safety through traffic system coordination with rail grade crossings.
  • Addressing Freight Community System focus area through use of the GoPort App to collect and disseminate high-quality traveler information of different elements to the freight community.
  • Economic benefits and improved Port competitiveness through reduced delays and more efficient operations for truckers, BCOs, and their customers – extending to manufacturers, consumers and the community.
  • Use of the GoPort Freight ITS App to integrate technologies into existing transportation management systems.
  • Collection of data to identify impacts of the project and allow transferability to other locations.
  • Project responds to Integrated Corridor Management focus area by improving coordination between arterial and freeway systems with traveler information and incident management.
  • Development of a project that will be prepared to incorporate Connected and Autonomous Vehicle technologies as they are introduced.
Readiness of Technologies to be deployed and likelihood of success
  • By September 2017, Alameda CTC and the Port of Oakland will have completed a 2-year effort to plan, perform preliminary systems engineering, and complete preliminary design of the GoPort Freight ITS – this includes a robust Concept of Operations (ConOps) consistent with the USDOT-recommended IEEE 29148-2011 Standard.
  • On June 8, 2017, the Port of Oakland, the lead agency under California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), determined overall GoPort ITST as categorically exempt from the requirements of CEQA pursuant to Section 15301 (Existing Facilities).
  • Through the stakeholder engagement activities and through the ConOps process, a rigorous User Needs Assessment was conducted to ensure that the technologies and applications deployed will meet actual Port user needs, and achieve the forecasted benefits.
  • The project is built upon proven ITS, ATMS, and information technologies that are readily available from technology vendors and system/software vendors in today's marketplace.
  • The ITS elements deployed take advantage of a robust existing fiber communications network and backbone.
Scalability and Portability to other jurisdictions
  • The GoPort Freight ITS ConOps, deployment plans, and design documentation will be made available to other port regions interested in deploying similar technologies.
  • Given that the project is built upon proven ITS, ATMS, and information technologies, the project technologies will be scalable and transferable to other regions with Port facilities.
Commitment to evaluate the effectiveness of activities proposed
  • As detailed in the resumes in Appendix A, the proposed project team includes experience with conducting ITS technology evaluations, performance monitoring, and brings to the table, data and analytical capabilities required for a rigorous analysis of impacts.
Program Management and Organizational Structure
  • As detailed in the organizational chart in Section 15 and the attached resumes in Appendix A, the proposed organization led by Alameda CTC, with support from the Port of Oakland, is well-positioned to successfully implement this project.
  • The Alameda CTC Management Team collectively provides transportation program management, project delivery and quality control skills from two senior staff, who together have successfully delivered multiple projects of comparable size, scope and complexity to this proposed GoPort Freight ITS.
  • The proposed staffing is a continuation of the current staffing that is being utilized in the current plan development, environmental clearances, preliminary systems engineering, and the completion of the preliminary design.
  • The team consists of experienced agency management and consultant staff expertise in port and intermodal operations, freight technology, traffic operations, ITS, and logistics – and who rigorously follow accepted ITS engineering standards/best practices.
Cost Reasonableness and Conformance
  • Costs were estimated using both engineering and analogy estimating techniques, supported by use of common cost categorization factors for ITS deployment, and incorporating known ITS equipment costs, as well as cost information contained in the USDOT's Tool for Operations Benefit Cost (TOPS-BC) Analysis model.
  • Costs are compared to ITS deployments already existing in the region, and have been subject to scrutiny of implementing agencies.
  • The Port of Oakland has committed to provide five additional years of operations and maintenance (O&M) support to this project following completion of the four-year grant.
Funding Availability
  • Alameda CTC has already secured matching funding through its sales tax funding; Alameda CTC received sales
    tax voter reauthorization in 2014, which will generate more than $8 billion over 30 years.
  • Local match will be 60% of total project cost, significantly exceeding the USDOT requirement of 50%.

1"West Coast Ports: Better Supply Chain Information Could Improve DOT's Freight Efforts," United States Government Accountability Office, October 2016. [Return to Note 1]

2 The location of these two infrastructure projects, the 7th Street Grade Separation (West Segment), and the 7th Street Grade Separation (East Segment), are shown on the GoPort Freight ITS Project Map in Figure 4 of this application, within the Geographic Scope section (Section 3). [Return to Note 2]

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