Intermodal freight center wins federal funding

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute ( and the University of Maryland ( have been granted $700,000 in federal funding to develop a Center for Intermodal Freight Transportation Mobility and Security. The Center will develop and test information technologies aimed at increasing the overall security and efficiency of freight transportation, while reducing the negative health effects from particles emitted from truck traffic.

The Center will attempt to link data streams from such technology applications as remote sensing, global positioning systems (GPS) and automated vehicle identification to a comprehensive modeling framework, with the goal of improving the movement of goods through urban areas, explains Rensselaer's Jose Holguin-Veras, a researcher on the project. The center will work to combine these technologies to help the logistics industry meet national security measures and the demands of a growing geographic realm, while operating efficiently.

"The Center's research will incorporate a number of different disciplines, including transportation planning, information technology, transportation economics, and large-scale optimization," says Holguin-Veras. "For example, we will analyze the feasibility of using advanced technologies, such as smart containers equipped with sensors and GPS devices, as well as electronic and mechanical container seals, to increase the security of the freight transportation network."

Researchers at the new center will also examine the environmental effects of freight activity, particularly the negative health effects of particles emitted from truck traffic that disproportionately affect low-income communities, according to Holguin-Veras.

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