Making Truck-Rail Intermodal Competitive

Quarterly Reports Other Documents Final Report
March 2009
September 2009
December 2009
 Final Report

Primary Investigator

Kazuya Kawamura
University of Illinois, Chicago
412 S. Peoria St., Suite 340
Chicago, IL 60607


Identifying the markets in which rail-truck intermodal is successfully competing may illustrate characteristics that can be exploited in order to shift more freight shipments from the highway network onto rail thereby reducing congestion and environmental impacts. It was found, using a series of graphs and matrices generated from the 2002 Commodity Flow Survey data, that intermodal can effectively serve wide-ranging markets including low-value, short-distance shipments under the right conditions. Also, the shipments among the northeastern states and also Midwest and southeastern region are critically important markers that should be cultivated.


This project strives to identify trends and market niches for truck-rail intermodal by examining the relationship between the characteristics of commodities and market segments that include: origin-destination, shipping distance, and value.


  1. Literature review
  2. Interview selected shippers, carriers, 3PL and public sector personnel to collect information on their processes and perceptions of making modal selection decisions as well as emerging trends and constraints.
  3. Interview selected public agencies to gather information on the constraints, trends, and their understanding of freight issues.
  4. Analyze and synthesize information from interviews
  5. Analyze data such as CFS, FAF, GeoFreight, and possibly Waybill sample
  6. Develop strategies to be used to influence the market share of Intermodal
  7. Document findings

Project Information

  • Duration: 12 months
  • Dates:
  • Budget: $49,094
  • Student Involvement: One graduate student
  • Modal Orientation: Highway, Rail
  • Project ID: CFIRE 02-28
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