Compare and contrast how the different cargo carrying capacity innovations and related transportation security policies have impacted the U.S. trucking and rail service industry from December 1980 until December 2011.
Note: Compare means list factors such as how much one mode can be described in what it can carry, the distance moved, and many other similar factors.
Two, contrast means to demonstrate with numbers or facts how that list of factors from one mode is better, or different, than the other mode under certain circumstances and geography.
Three, discuss any kind of technology that affects one or both modes of carriers.
Four, your answer covers all trucking and rail across the U.S., border to border. So, be creative, but include facts from referenced sources.
Impact of Cargo Carrying Capacity innovations on the U.S. Trucking and Rail Service Industry
The transportation of freight is a significant component of the economy of the US. For the past two decades, the growth of the US economy has been greatly impacted by the movement of goods. Case in point, between 1990 and 2008, there was an 11 percent increase in the movement of goods across the US as a result of the increased realization of the freight transportation to the economy (United States Department of Transportation, 2015). As such, developed public policies related to freight transportation ought to reflect how sensitive the national economy is to the effect that such pol9cies have on the freight. It is clear that various innovations have been adopted in the movement of cargo, with most of this innovations proving to be effective in enhancing efficiency and reducing cost.
There are different modes of transportation in in the US, used for movement of goods. Such modes include water, truck, air, rail, and pipeline. Considering value and weight, most of the goods are transported via trucks. Nevertheless, the capacity of cargo carried via rail is comparable to that carried using trucks considering distance measured in ton-miles multiplied by amount. Given their competiveness of the freight movement industry, cost-effectiveness is the major factor of consideration for the private sector when selecting a mode for transporting their cargo (Vanderbilt University, 2009). Each of the modes of transport provide different merits and demerits. To compare the modes of transportation in freight movement, some of the key metrics that can be considered include convenience, energy efficiency, and cost (Vanderbilt University, 2009).
In terms of energy efficiency as measured in terms of energy consumption for every ton mile in goods’ movement, rail proves to be more-energy efficiency than any other mode of transportation. In the findings provided by the Association of American Railroads (AAR), there was a 94 percent increase in the distance covered by trains when transporting a ton of freeing while consuming a single gallon of diesel, to 457 miles (Association of American Railroads, 2015). Convenience provides another not so reliable metric of comparing and contrasting the4 modes of transpor5tation, but still significant. This metric is highly dependent on the source of the good and the good itself, the time required to deliver the good, and the destination. Most industrial goods including coal and other bulky goods are mostly moved by rail. The portion of freight that is moved by rail and ships increases with distance, with an average distance of 691 miles being covered in transportation of goods by rail (Association of American Railroads, 2015). Nevertheless, the rail proves to be a less cost-effective method when it comes to transporting goods over short distances. In addition, the trucks are mode advantageous as compared to rails and ships as the highway networks are geographically extensive while the rail and water networks are less extensive.
Cost is a highly important metric and varies with each mode of freight transportation. Both the trucks and rail are competitive modes when considering cost as their costs majorly comprise of labor and fuel. However, the costs of these methods depend on the market fuel prices and the current costs of maintenance and hence may vary from time to time (Kim & Wee, 2011). Nevertheless, as compared to the other methods, both the rail and the road are highly cost-effective.
One of the greatest
innovations that has greatly influenced transportation of freight by the road
is information and communication technology. Through this technology, those
within the supply chain are able to use the internet to access services that
were otherwise obtained physically, including online paying of bills for single
freights instead of physically visiting the clearance offices to pay such bills (Kim &
This saves the transporters time and increases efficiency.
Association of American Railroads. (2015, May). Rail Intermodal Keeps America Moving. Retrieved from Association of American Railroads: https://www.aar.org/BackgroundPapers/Rail%20Intermodal.pdf.
Kim, N. S., & Wee, B. V. (2011). The relative importance of factors that influence the break-even distance of intermodal freight transport systems. Journal of Transport Geography, 19(4), 859–875.
United States Department of Transportation. (2015). Economic Impact of Freight. Retrieved from United States Department of Transportation: http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/programs/freight_transportation/html/freight_and_growth.html
Vanderbilt University. (2009, October). Critical Issues Impacting the Freight Transportation Industry in the Southeast Region. Retrieved from Vanderbilt University School of Engineering: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/vector/research/StrategicFreightScan-Final.pdf.