Travel Behavior Analysis of Agricultural Commodities in a Freight Activity Microsimulation Framework
Mahmoudifard, Seyed Mehdi
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In 2013, farm-related industries contributed $789 billion to the U.S. GDP. Many other sectors of the economy also are dependent directly to the agricultural products including: food beverages, tobacco products, forestry, food services, fishing and related activities, textiles, and leather products. About 9.2% of U.S. employment is related to agricultural industries involving 16.9 million full-time and part-time jobs. Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) and state department of transportation are considering freight transportation modeling in their studies to improve the transportation system efficiency. However, there are several problems with current freight models: • They are too aggregate and new strategies and policy-changes cannot be tested on them. • Because of freight complexity, there is a big gap in modeling logistic elements such as determining the exact structure of supply chain. • Despite the fact that agricultural commodities are a major component of freight flows, only few studies have mentioned them specifically. Current study is the continuation of Freight Activity Microsimulation Estimator (FAME) designed at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). FAME while introducing stunning procedures and complex models into the freight simulation modeling, suffers from commodity aggregation issues and computational problems. This study has improved the accuracy of models by disaggregating agricultural commodities and determining the exact supply chain for them. More data sources were added to the framework to make the models more practical. A specific framework was introduced to capture the effect of cereal grain movements in the U.S. transportation network. And finally, the computational problems of the previous model were solved by introducing a new supplier selection model.