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Research being undertaken by academics at the Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Delaware will analyze the economic and environmental tradeoffs of different modes of freight transportation in the congested I-95 corridor from Maine to Florida. The lead researchers--James Winebrake, chair of science, technology and public policy at RIT, and James Corbett, assistant professor of marine policy at UD--will develop a computer-based model for decision makers to evaluate the energy, environmental and economic impacts that exist with different modes of freight transportation. With this tool, analysts can examine the energy and environmental impacts of transporting goods via different modes and identify routes that reduce greenhouse gases and other pollution emissions. In this way, tradeoffs among shipping cost, time and environmental impacts can be explored.
"We are building a network model to study optimal routes under different objectives," Winebrake says. The model also will enable decision makers to evaluate tradeoffs associated with shipping decisions. Corbett adds, "By considering together the economic, energy and environmental components of freight transportation, this research will help develop the integrated multi-modal context needed to understand freight transportation in both on-road and non-road dimensions."
In the future, Winebrake and Corbett hope to layer the tool with geographic information system technology to create a web-enabled interactive map for identifying transportation routes with the lowest environmental impacts.
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