Evaluation of Impacts of Intermodal Terminals on the Highway System

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, land use - impacts, land use - planning, economics - appraisal/evaluation, mode - rail


Virginia, Trucking, Truck transportation, Truck traffic, Train traffic, Terminals (Transportation), Regional planning, Railroad traffic, Motor truck transportation, Intermodal transportation, Intermodal terminals, Intermodal systems, Impact studies, Goods movement, Freight traffic, Depots (Transportation), Commodity flow, Case studies


Rail–truck intermodal terminals can play a key role in making rail–truck intermodal transportation an effective transportation alternative to long-haul trucking. To measure this effectiveness, public and private stakeholders require some qualitative and quantitative methodologies. This paper is based on a study describing a general methodological framework for evaluation of the impacts of intermodal terminals on the transportation system and applying it to the highway system of Virginia. Apart from incorporating the needs of several agencies into the framework, preliminary models for site-specific evaluation of impacts on mobility, accessibility, safety, and economic activities were also developed, and were calibrated with commodity flow, socioeconomic, and other data for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Results of the application of the evaluation framework on a case study terminal are presented in this paper. The study identified the key steps involved in the assessment of highway system impacts and regional planning of intermodal terminals in Virginia. It is recommended that further research be carried out on a detailed evaluation to provide decision support on the feasibility of public–private shared financing of intermodal terminals.