|Vol I, Issue 3 March 2005|
Theoretical Model Compares Competitive and Non-Competitive Markets
The model explores the impact of improvements in truck/barge transport technology (such as navigation improvements that reduce the cost of barge traffic) on railroad pricing and the consequent effect on shippers. The model introduces the concept of alternative terminal markets to the equation. Under this extension shippers choose the terminal market as well as the mode of transportation. This may be particularly important in the case of railroads because the railroad tracks may be linked to a network with multiple terminal markets. By contrast, the geography of the river system may limit the terminal market shipping options. The model also examines the impact of capacity constraints on railroads.
Team Examines Integration of Shipper Choice Models Into Corps Planning
Study Analyzes Discrete Event Simulation Model on Upper Mississippi
The interdependency of lock operations created by the service of common tow traffic and the existence of periods of high and low levels of demand for use of the system provide currently untapped sources of efficiency improvements for the implementation of alternative traffic management policies in the operation of the UMR system, according to the study. Such systems include scheduling traffic, re-sequencing vessels and providing economic incentives for decreasing system use during high demand periods and increasing use during low-demand periods.
The study applied the model to the lower five 600-foot locks on the UMR navigation system. The model was employed to identify the potential impact of implementing a shortest-processing time first policy. According to the model the implementation of such a policy would bring about only a marginal improvement of approximately 9 percent in expected lock transit times. Other changes to the operating characteristics of the UMR can be readily examined using the model’s framework, according to Sweeney. Useful extensions of the model and the data requirements needed to implement these extensions are identified in the study.
Columbia-Snake River Survey
NETS web site: www.corpsnets.us
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Navigation Economic Technologies Program, US Army Corps of Engineers