Transportation Systems Essay

Pages: 10 (4671 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Transportation

¶ … Transportation Systems

These two questions are a written paper 2 pages each or combine them together and 4 pages.

After reading the ?Transit projects a guide for practitioners? chapters 1 -2 provide and explain some general steps that the state of New Jersey, in our discussion post, must have taken in order to obtain an idea of benefits they would acquire by investing in their infrastructure.

How would one go about calculating utility of a traveler-s choice in utils? Provide an explanation of all the variables in the formulae. (Hint Read Chapters 4-9)

Transportation Considerations: New Jersey

The state of New Jersey had to understand quite a bit about their transportation needs as well as the existing infrastructure before they could make any meaningful changes. They would have had to understand not only transportation supply but demands as well, as a function of the congestion and the networks that needed to be fixed as a top priority. Cities, delivery centers, and ports all represent transportation network hubs, and it is around these hubs that the network often needs to be modified to increase the handling capacity. Certain time demands are also exacted on the system, and these demands may be very time specific as well.

First of all, transportation networks and projects are limited geographically. The state of New Jersey had to consider the geographic locations of many of its ports and gridlocked locations before deciding how to alleviate some of the congestion. Rivers, hills, mountains, and state borders can all affect the planning and building of the state's transportation infrastructure. Human beings represent the largest variables within a transportation system (Hummels, 2007). Some drivers will inadvertently stop for fuel or food while certain deliveries and trucks have to be made at certain times, representing very inelastic time constraints. Also, emergency vehicles need to be able to serve the state effectively, and these operations are the least elastic of all relative to time and distance constraints (Rodrigue; Comtios; and Slack, 2009).

Next, the state had to consider the types of transportation and the specific costs and benefits to each. Rail lines can move large amounts of cargo and people, but are often inefficient forms of transportation within small distances (Hummels, 2007). Trucks and automobiles can move people and cargo, but often roads and highways become clogged and jammed at certain times and in certain locations (Boyce, 2007). Air and ship transport are also very efficient, but again, are limited by volume and distance considerations (Rodrigue; Comtios; and Slack, 2009). Therefore, the state of New Jersey had to understand the specific needs of its businesses, consumers, commuters, and citizens before it could enact an efficient and effective transportation policy.

The network supply and demand consideration is also an integral part of evaluating any transportation infrastructure (Rodrigue; Comtios; and Slack, 2009). The state of New Jersey is certainly no exception, and it would have had to both map and graph the demand on particular parts of the network and then form some solutions as to how to cut down on congestion in each mode of transportation. It is important to realize that in increasing the viability for one mode, another mode's viability or efficiency may be decreased (Boyce, 2007). This is true for road and rail transportation, and is one reason why rail transport is not as efficient for short distances as road transport is. The transport supply variable is rather fixed, yet the demand shifts from minute to minute, hour to hour, and day-to-day. Often it is these smaller time frame shifts that create the most congestion within a transportation network.

Travel Utility

A traveler's choice of utilities can be explained through a better understanding of the variables that a present in a traveler's world. These variables are many, and some have large impacts upon the travel's choice of transportation while others have virtually no impact. It is important to understand the nature of human travel as relatively inefficient, that is to say human travel is often bound within certain requirements of time and space.

Travelers are often limited in their travel choices by the very limitations that create the necessity to travel. Certain people have a meeting they need to attend in a separate city, yet the meeting is at a specific place and time, so the time variable is rather inelastic for a traveler such as this. Other travelers do not have such time constraints, but instead have distance constraints (Hummels, 2007). For example, some workers are able to flex their work schedules so as to avoid rush hour traffic. But these same elastic time travelers represent rather inelastic distance or destination demands. That is to say, they are commuting to and from the same locations each day or week.

Utility of transportation is another factor that affects network demand. Travelers can always be incentivized to behave differently, but in the vast majority of examples, it is very difficult to change the normal day-to-day operation or behavior of the vast majority of travelers, since their work schedules are often inflexible (Rodrigue; Comtios; and Slack, 2009). It is therefore important to remember that at certain times of the day or week, certain modes of transportation within the network have higher demand. For example, in the morning there are lots of automobiles and delivery trucks clogging the roads. But in the evening and early morning hours, the travel demand is much lighter.

Commuters and travelers who are incentivized to select different modes of transport based on utility alone must be pushed to do so because it makes more sense for them to change their travel behavior (Boyce, 2007). One way to lower the demand on the network through understanding human nature and basic transportation utility is to create non-stop bus or light rail services to and from clogged locations (Hummels, 2007). Air travel already consists of a relatively non-stop schedule, at least between two major airport hubs. This helps alleviate the many human factors or variables associated with people clogging the network because they need to pull over for fuel or for food. The utility of a traveler's choice of transportation options can be assessed or calculated.

Utility depends on both human variables as well as the variables associated with supply and demand within a transportation network (Rodrigue; Comtios; and Slack, 2009). The formula for calculating utility will take into consideration these factors as well as the upfront costs to travelers and the incentives offered to them to change their behavior, which is assumed to be relatively economically rational in a perfect world. Utility is also subjective, but from an efficiency standpoint, certain modes of transportation have certain levels of varying utility, depending on supply and demand as well as the desired outcome during the travel. Different utility solutions will also work differently in unique areas, and the geographical and human nature constraints serve to stand in the way as obstacles to perfect utilitarian maximization of any transportation system.

References

Boyce, David. (2007). "Forecasting Travel on Congested Urban Transportation

Networks: Review and Prospects for Network Equilibrium Models." Networks and Spatial Economics. Vol. 7, No. 2. Pp. 99-128.

Hummels, David. (2007). "Transportation Costs and International Trade in the Second

Era of Globalization." The Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 21, No. 3. Pp. 131-154.

Rodrigue, Jean-Paull; Comtois, Claude; and Brian Slack. (2009). The Geography of Transport Systems, Second Edition. New York: Routledge.

This is a Discussion Board Topic (1page).

What issues should a logistics or transportation or operations manager consider in trying to select a mode of transportation?

There is a whole host of issue that helps to define the selection of a particular mode of transportation within a network. Many of these issues stem from the type of cargo that is to be transported, the destination, and the time constraints of the transport. Also, supply and demand in local transportation networks is crucial, as understanding the modes of transportation that help to reduce congestion and strain on the system will help to create a more efficient transportation network.

The type of cargo or freight to be transported is a major consideration for any operations manager. Cargo that has inelastic time constraints, such as frozen cargo or emergency vehicles is often left out of the equation. The mode of transport that fits these groups best depends on distance constraints. The most versatile mode is likely automobile transport or air travel, both achieving this status for different reasons. Emergency vehicles need to be able to operate anywhere and have few geographic constraints. Because roads exist just about everywhere people are, they serve emergency vehicles quite well. Also, emergency vehicles such as helicopters need to be able to transport critically ill or injured people quickly, and this mode of transport works well for this reason. Freight on the other hand, that is not subject to inelastic time constraints is best moves by rail or ship for large distance demands and by truck or automobile for shorter distance trips.

Rail travel represents a very… [END OF PREVIEW]

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