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

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


Alameda CTC and the Port seek to improve the efficiency of freight transportation through the use of ITS and other technologies. The proposed improvements are targeted to provide benefits to the public and private sectors in terms of congestion relief, efficiency, sustainability, and economic stimulation. Issues and challenges were identified through an extensive stakeholder process, which encompassed the following:

  • Surveys of 350 private sector truckers.
  • Input from public agencies and private-sector parties that operate in and around the Port,
  • including BCOs, chassis providers, consultants, ILWU, motor carriers, NVOCC, ocean carriers, Port staff, and railroads and terminal operators, who all participated in several PETF meetings to provide input on overall project goals, specific objectives, and focus areas.
  • One-on-one phone interviews with several PETF members in the BCO, chassis provider, motor carrier, NVOCC, and terminal operator sectors.
  • Input from the CAC, which was established as a forum to translate the user needs developed from the above sources to the ATCMTD technology solutions proposed in this application.

Based on this intensive stakeholder engagement effort, as outlined in both Section 1 and Section 5, this project addresses the following issues and challenges in the Port area:

  • Port and Traveler Information. Signage on Port property for traveler information and traffic control is severely lacking. The stakeholders who do look on‑line for information that can help them better coordinate trips have to go to multiple traveler information sources (e.g., 511, Port email newsletters, marine terminals’ websites, Google Maps, etc.). While the daily email newsletter from the Port provides information regarding vessels berthed, it does not give a good indication of real-time operational conditions at the Port. Truckers, dispatchers, and operations staff need to know if operations are slow at the Port, regardless if they are still at the distribution center, en‑route to the Port, or already in queue. This allows them to better manage not only their pick-ups and deliveries, but also their customers’ expectations. Google and most travel time apps do not list travel times for truckers nor take into account Port-specific activity. Performance metrics, currently available on a limited basis, have not been used for trending analysis. Additionally, there are time lags in getting container availability information. For example, on the terminal’s website, a container may be listed as available, but it will take an additional 20 minutes for a BCO to be able to make an appointment through eModal for that same container. And, lastly, information on truck queues on the public roads in front of the terminals, as well as information on terminal turn times for trucks, generally are not accurate and are not in real time.
  • Traffic and Incident Management. While increases in container volumes at the Port indicate economic growth, it also adds additional pressure to streamline freight operations wherever possible to maintain economic competitiveness. Several truck transportation challenges need to be addressed in order to maintain and improve operational efficiency:
    • Delays caused by long gate queues were among the most cited inefficiencies reported by stakeholders. At some terminal gates, trucks have reported two-hour wait periods in many cases, and in extreme cases, four-hour wait periods.
    • Chassis lot searches and at‑grade rail crossings in the Port further slow down the turn times of trucks.
    • Motor carriers do not have a reliable way to view closed-circuit television (CCTV) video streams of arterial conditions while in the Port. CCTV video streams currently do not capture train approaches, which can often block intersections for 30 minutes, causing truck queues that can last for an hour. Currently, only about 25 percent of the CCTV cameras are high definition (HD). This is not sufficient for effective traffic management and incident detection.
    • Lack of signal coordination and street design features hinder the movement of goods on major truck arterial routes.
    • Currently, Port staff uses ad‑hoc methods for incident management and have rudimentary means of gaining situational awareness of Port activities. There are no common incident clearance protocols or information on detour options.
  • Regional Traffic Congestion. In addition to the congestion noted above at Port gates, there is significant congestion on major freeways and arterials in the dense area around the Port. While real-time freeway travel times are provided through CMSs and other sources, there is no information on arterials. These CMS messages are focused on general traffic, and do not provide travel time for truckers (e.g. Port exit closures, Port incidents). The highly congested regional freeway system also can cause significant delays for freight traffic traveling to and from areas outside the region via I‑80, I-238, I‑580, and I‑880. Trucks approaching from the Central Valley or other areas outside the region require frequent updates on traffic conditions, as congestion can emerge quickly on these interstates and result in unexpected delays.
  • Rail Traffic Interaction. The at‑grade railroad crossings in the Port, specifically on Maritime Street, where the at‑grade crossings near 7th Street and Middle Harbor Road can occasionally be simultaneously blocked by one train, which in turn creates queues, modal conflict concerns, and can impact safety. A blockage of the at-grade crossing of Maritime Street near 7th Street also results in significant truck queues that can extend onto I‑880.
  • Truck Safety/Roadway Conditions. PETF members have indicated that there are occasions when the truck weight listed on shipping paperwork is inconsistent with the actual container or item. Overweight trucks pose safety risks to themselves and other vehicles on the road, and also result in damage to roadway surfaces and bridges.
  • Environment and Emissions. Technology and operational strategies are included to reduce impacts of goods movement activity on the health, safety, and quality of life in neighboring communities; and also to reduce the creation of GHG. Addressing environmental justice issues while reducing GHG emissions is a major focus of the Alameda County Goods Movement Plan (2016).
  • Parking. Illegally parked trucks are a common occurrence on Port property and are not efficiently enforced. Trucks parking on Adeline Street (among other illegal locations) add risk and liability to motor carriers, pedestrians and bicyclists. While monthly parking spots can be reserved in the privately owned Ampco Trucking Lot, many motor carriers will not do so if they do not access the Port on a daily basis. There are no overnight parking facilities.

As discussed previously, the problems identified combine to reduce the efficiency of freight movement in and out of the region, reduce the safety of the facilities and neighboring communities, and increase the emissions released. About 40 percent of Port traffic is local to the East Bay which is impacted by the heavy level of congestion experienced in the region. For those traveling longer distances, travel time uncertainty is even greater. Congestion issues have a domino effect that impact all major stakeholders, including BCOs and MTOs. The result is a negative impact on the regional economy and a reduction in the competitiveness of the Port and its stakeholders. The GoPort Freight ITS, outlined in this application, is designed to make a measurable difference in mitigating all of these issues and challenges.

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