Freight Origin-Destination Patterns

Quarterly Reports Other Documents Final Report
March 2009
June 2009
September 2009
OD Disaggregation Problem

Primary Investigator

Alan Horowitz
Department of Civil Engineering and Mechanics
University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
EMS E326
3200 North Cramer Street
Milwaukee, WI 53211


Coarse information about the origins and destinations of commodities is available from a private vendor (Global Insight), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and the Federal Highway Administration. These origin-destination (OD) tables are of very limited use by state DOTs and metropolitan planning organizations because of their very high level of spatial aggregation. There is an immediate need for methods to reliably disaggregate those tables. This research will come up with workable methods to disaggregate commodity OD tables.


Project proposes to explore the techniques on disaggregating freight origin-destination (OD) tables, including information from toll transponders, weigh station transponders, and single-station OD surveys and come up with workable methods. The use of ground counts for refining OD tables is now a mature technology, but there are still computational issues with very large OD tables which will be considered in this research.


  1. Develop methods of using transponder data to ascertain truck OD tables in urban areas and methods of using single-station OD surveys to ascertain truck OD tables in rural areas. Use transponder data from NYC as a case study,
  2. Seek out other transponder data, as needed,
  3. Results of case studies will be used in travel forecasts or in microscopic traffic simulations,
  4. Continue research into the use of ground data to refine truck OD tables,
  5. Develop workable methods to disaggregate commodity OD tables from national sources so that they are usable for local traffic planning and management,
  6. Determine the possible use of time series methods in understanding the spatial distribution of truck traffic across a region.

Project Information

  • Duration: 24 months
  • Dates: October 1, 2007 – September 30, 2009
  • Budget: CFIRE: $24,000; Total: $48,000
  • Student Involvement: Two undergraduates
  • Modal Orientation: Highway
  • Project ID: CFIRE 02-31
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