Feasibility of a Next Generation Intermodal Rail-Truck Transport System for Western I-80 Corridor: FHWA-WY-06/05F
Interstate 80 is one of the heaviest traveled east-west freight corridors in the nation. Each day approximately 5,000 to 7,000 trucks travel I-80 across Wyoming and Nebraska. Ninety-five percent of these trucks have neither an origin nor a destination in Wyoming.
Within 15 years the number of trucks on Interstate 80 is projected to double. Given this level of truck traffic, the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) will need to significantly increase funding (and perhaps divert funding from other highways) to maintain I-80 pavement in its current condition.
This study evaluated alternatives for managing the projected growth in truck traffic across Wyoming as well as across the western I-80 corridor. A simulation model was developed to analyze the costs and benefits of pavement alternatives such as material changes, additional capacity and strategies to divert trucks from I-80 to rail. This simulation model utilizes equations based on traffic data, pavement data, cost data, construction inflation and safety data.
Funding scenarios and constraints are also included in the simulation model.
Preliminary analysis indicates that subs tantial benefits would result from diverting as little as 20 percent of trucks from I-80 to rail using an innovative “land ferry” concept. However, this would require increasing Union Pacific Railroad’s rail capacity by approximately 1,400 miles on their central corridor.
The study recommends:
- WYDOT develops a long-term strategy for managing I-80, and
- Supports private sector efforts to divert freight from highways to rail.