Electrification, Connectivity, & Active Demand Management: Addressing the traffic, health, and EJ impacts of drayage trucks in Southern California

*PhD Defense*
09/01/2022 8:30 AM (PDT)
4080 AIR Building
Monica Ramirez Ibarra
Monica Ramirez Ibarra

Trucking electrification combined with connected and automated technologies promises to cut the cost of freight transportation, reduce its environmental footprint, and make roads safer. If electric trucks are powerful enough to cease behaving as moving bottlenecks, they could also increase road capacity and reduce the demand for new infrastructure, a consequence that has so far been overlooked by the literature. In this dissertation, I study the traffic and infrastructure demand impacts of electrifying and connecting (via cooperative adaptive cruise control, CACC) heavy-duty drayage trucks (HDDTs) that serve the San Pedro Bay Ports (SPBP; the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which is the largest port complex in the U.S), quantify the resulting health, environmental, and Environmental Justice impacts, and explore how to maximize the benefits of connected vehicles with active demand management.

In Chapter 2, I explore the potential traffic and infrastructure implications of replacing conventional HDDTs that serve the SPBP with electric and/or connected HDDTs. I rely on microscopic simulation on a freeway and arterial network centered on I-710, the country’s most important economic artery. My results show that 1,000-hp electric/hydrogen trucks can be a substitute for additional road capacity. Accounting for the traffic impacts of new vehicle technologies is critical in infrastructure planning, and my results suggest shifting funding from building new capacity to financing zero-emission (ZE) 1,000 hp HDDTs until the market for these vehicles has matured.

In Chapter 3, I quantify the health and GHG reduction benefits of replacing the HDDTs serving the SPBP with ZE-HDDTs. I simulate ZE-HDDTs on a regional freeway network to analyze their PM2.5 and CO2 emissions in 2012 and 2035 using MOVES3 emission factors. I then estimate their contribution to PM2.5 concentrations with InMAP and health impacts with BenMAP. I find that despite technology improvements and air quality regulations, SPBP HDDTs would still cause 106 premature deaths (valued at $1.3 billion in $2022) and 2,142 asthma attacks (>2/3 accruing to disadvantaged communities) in 2035 due to population and drayage traffic growth, not to mention at least $220 million in climate costs. With ZE-HDDTs becoming attractive from a total cost of ownership point-of-view, the main cost of achieving ZE road drayage is a scrappage program for non-ZE-HDDTs. My results justify implementing this program by 2035.

In Chapter 4, I study the performance impacts of lane management strategies implemented on I-710 to support the deployment of CACC-enabled vehicles and their potential to absorb the 2035 projected growth in cargo demand at the SPBP. I find that a designated lane for CACC-enabled vehicles can decrease congestion by creating more platooning opportunities, thus maximizing CACC benefits.