Port of Long Beach Battles Traffic Congestion with New Freight Mobility Application Technology


Picture courtesy of Gateway Cities Council of Governments.

The Port of Long Beach began a testing phase Wednesday with its Freight Advanced Traveler Information System (FRATIS) Demonstration Project, which aims to improve freight traffic and communications, air quality, and boost container volume in participating test ports within the next 20 years.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), the FRATIS Demonstration Projects has partnered with public and private organizations to streamline the information flow between trucks and port terminals using Bluetooth proximity-reading technology.

Among the USDOT and RITA’s development partners is Port Logistics Group, providing resources and services from its Long Beach facilities. The Port of Long Beach faces four-and-a-half billion dollars in investments for intelligent transportation systems within the next ten years.

“We are seeing a huge increase in container traffic, and that’s going to impact traffic terribly,” said Gateway Cities Council of Governments Board Member Diane DuBois in a press video. “We’ve recognized that for some time and have been working on solutions.”

The freight communication system will grant port drivers the opportunity to reroute or reschedule according to the real-time information they receive.

According to Randy Butler, FRATIS program manager and federal highway administration, freight-specific ITS applications are currently not used consistently throughout the trucking industry, meaning freight terminals only share queue information with other trucks sharing their specifications.

“Intelligent transportation systems are becoming more and more important our [traffic] congestion problems in our regions,” said Gill Hick, Cambridge Systematics’ Sr. Associate and Director of Southern California Operations.

The six-month testing for FRATIS will mainly be conducted by the Los Angeles Metropolitan County Transportation Authority (METRO) and the Gateway Cities Council of Governments.

“If the demonstration is deemed successful by the stakeholders and implemented here on a larger scale, we can expect to see reduced congestion in peak hours and at key choke points,” said Cambridge Systematics Principal Mark Jensen in a statement. “That translates directly into improvements in mobility and air quality for the region.”

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