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2021 Innovations in Freight Data Workshop

Due to COVID-19, this event will occur virtually. 

September 21-23, 2021



Building on the success of two prior workshops, the third Innovations in Freight Data Workshop aims to bring together a broad community of data users and data developers to share:

  1. Recent advances in the application of emerging data sources for broad multi-modal freight applications;
  2. Experience and lessons learned from integrating new data sources in practice for freight planning and performance measurement, supply chain management, or fleet management;
  3. Experience on the use of emerging freight data sources for public and private sector decision-making;
  4. Advances in data visualization, data collection technologies, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and data analytics methods with potential applications for freight; and
  5. Promising advances and future needs for continuing advancement in freight data research and practice.


Call for Abstracts
The planning committee invites practitioners and researchers to submit abstracts for presentation at the workshop. Abstracts should address one or more of the workshop objectives stated above, or otherwise inform practical advances in the use of emerging data sources by freight stakeholders. Abstracts may be selected for presentation in a variety of formats, including, but not limited to, panel presentation, speed presentation, interactive poster presentation, or static poster presentation. Presentation types will be determined by the planning committee. Extended submission deadline is 11:59PM ET, February 22, 2021. 

Specific Topics of Interest
The following is a non-exhaustive list of potential freight data sources and data applications of interest to the planning committee:

  • Long-range freight planning.  What are the sources and applications that could improve the ability of agencies to understand potential long-term freight trends and flows (data focused, not modeling focused) versus existing methods?
  • Infrastructure or facility design and planning. What are the data and applications—that influence the design and planning of freight facilities, including terminals and warehouses?
  • Evaluating freight system performance.  What are the data and applications that 1) measure performance in new ways (beyond what has been shared in prior TRB workshops) or 2) improve the accuracy of performance evaluation of freight systems (e.g. highway corridors, supply chains, international borders, freight fluidity, rail systems, ports, and air cargo)?
  • Optimizing freight traffic operations and last-mile access.  What data sources and applications would help improve traffic operations on freight facilities, especially truck routes, including signal optimization and other traffic management measures specifically designed to improve freight movement, including access to major freight facilities?
  • Measuring Resiliency.  What data and applications help agencies, BCOs, and carriers measure resiliency and/or enable agencies or asset owners to plan for supply chain continuity, especially for critical food and medical cargo?
  • Understanding E-Commerce Movements. What are the data and applications the measure the movement and delivery of e-commerce—from fulfillment center to consumer doorstep?
  • Evaluating curb management strategies and city logistics. What data and applications enable city planners, developers, property managers, freight carriers, and others to manage scarce curb space, delivery environments, and last-50 feet in urban environments?
  • Route planning and fleet optimization.  What data and applications inform better operational decision-making for carriers, fleet managers, and logistics providers?
  • Implementing route management, capacity planning, or location management.  What data sources, software (homegrown or purchased) were used in your team's layout and what is next?  Air, Ground, ocean or any mode is welcome!

The committee is particularly interested in implementations that address common freight data gaps and use challenges (see examples below).

Examples of Emerging Data Source:
Emerging data sources are potentially common information sources that have not yet been widely applied for freight applications. Emerging freight data sources include but are not limited to:

  • Satellite and aerial images
  • Remote sensing data (lidar, radar, infra-red, etc.)
  • Location-based data (GPS/Bluetooth/IVMS)
  • Crowdsourced data (smartphone apps)
  • Road sensor data (inductive loops, piezo-electric strips)
  • Smart vehicle/infrastructure information (containers, RFID, DSRC)
  • Connected and automated vehicle (CAV) data
  • Transactional data (Bill of Lading, fuel tax revenue, tonnage, value, blockchain)
  • Inventory data
  • Traffic operations data (affecting freight routes)
  • Human factors data affecting freight (on-board sensors)
  • “Open” public records that may provide information relevant to freight activity
  • Economic data (employment, wages, sales)
  • Effectively integrating commodity flow data for various modes

Examples of Persistent Freight Data Gaps and Use Challenges

  • Availability (data sources, timeliness, access, cost of investment, procurement, acquisition)
  • Implementation (utilization of data, information transfer, reporting, visualization)
  • Granularity (performance, commodity coverage, freight cost data, generator and attractor locations, short-haul and local movements)
  • Linkages (gaps in domestic movements of international trade, O-D data by commodity and vehicle, whole trip data across modes)
  • Consistency and Quality (accuracies, data validations, inconsistency in data taxonomy, data collection, data gaps, data synthesis, data quality problems)
  • Technology (technology deployments, hardware developments, software development, system architecture design, mobile applications)
  • Management (data processing, data analysis, filtering, cleansing,)
  • Communication and Awareness (data sharing partnerships, communications, outreach improvements, policies and initiatives)

TRB Freight Event Attendance Assistance Grants
In order to assist the professional development of young transportation practitioners, the Transportation Research Board is providing registration and travel grants to young researchers from state and local transportation departments and planning organizations. This assistance will be provided to the two authors or co-authors of the abstracts received that best exemplify the workshop objectives.  Authors must be 35 or less years old, and the abstracts will be judged through the normal review process of the conference. Each prize will reimburse registration, travel, hotel, and subsistence expenses relative to attendance at the conference. Authors should indicate on their abstracts that they are applying for a grant, and where there are multiple authors, the primary author must be aged 35 or less. Winners will be advised in advance of the workshop. Generous support for these grants is provided by the Alan M. and Natalie P. Voorhees Fund at the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia.