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Southern Nevada’s Freight Corridor Gets the Vegas Treatment – Transport Topics Online

LAS VEGAS Before dawn on weekdays Paul DeLong arrives downtown to lead his team of commercial drivers in transporting equipment back and forth at construction sites for a project aimed at improving the work lives of truckers like him. His crew averages eight trips per shift using as many as six Western Star trucks during these final months of the aptly named Project Neon.

The $1 billion project will widen Interstate 15 at the U.S .

95 interchange Spaghetti Bowl, commonly known for its bumper-to-bumper traffic and accidents.

Excavator on U.S .< />
<p>93″ src=”http://www.translogistics.net/posts/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/99d9treatment-excavator.jpg” /></p>
<p><span><em>Construction is ongoing near the Spaghetti Bowl. (Eugene Mulero/Transport Topics)</em></span></p>
<p>On a rare rainy afternoon on May 1, when Transport Topics caught up with DeLong and the construction crew with Kiewit Infrastructure West Co., a driver had taken an excavator with a magnet attachment from a yard at Bonanza Road and transported it to the Charleston Boulevard site, just a few miles from the heart of a city inundated with tourists, celebrities, street performers and the many locals who live here . All the while, the crew from Kiewit removed the remnants of a bridge that had been turned to rubble to make room for the road expansion.</p>
<p>For DeLong, owner of a local eponymous heavy-haul firm operating since the mid- 80s and a member of the Nevada Trucking Association, Project Neon is not the typical highway renovation.</p>
<p>The project will mark a better way to access the periphery of America s playground .</p>
<p>The much-needed boost for truckers will increase lane capacity at the state s southern premier freight corridor . Passing through it will be quicker, and safer.</p>
<p>As DeLong put it, Project Neon will hopefully eliminate the congestion getting through the Las Vegas area, north and south. </p>
<p>Project managers anticipate a reduction in congestion by 30% after completion, as well as a reduction in the average of three accidents daily . The reduction in truck traffic and travel delays will likely result in $110 million annual savings for the freight industry and motorists through increased productivity, the Nevada Department of Transportation estimates.</p>
<p>Project Neon, the largest public works project in state history, targets 3.7 miles on the interstate between Sahara Avenue and the interchange with the Spaghetti Bowl .</p>
<p>Sahara Avenue is about 2.5 miles north of the Strip, and the Spaghetti Bowl is the busiest stretch of highway in Nevada with some 25,000 lane changes hourly.</p>
<h3>Project Goals</h3>
<p>At the site about half a dozen construction workers with Kiewit donning hard hats were stationed at the Bonanza Road yard . A crew member used an excavator with a magnet attachment to asses debris from the demolished old roadway in order to access metal while another crew member collected rubble with a bulldozer for disposal, construction that will continue for nearly a year as ramps and miles of roadway have yet to be paved.</p>
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<p>The project will include high-occupancy vehicle lanes, and an intricate active traffic management system consisting of 42 massive electronic message boards . Nine boards have been installed with six already operational, said Susan Berkley, the project s public involvement coordinator .</p>
<p>The boards are designed to promote speed harmonization by alerting drivers of accidents and severe traffic or weather.</p>
<p>Fuel consumption would improve for freight haulers by reducing the amount of stop-and-go movement on the roadway . This could lead to fuel savings as high as 40%, city officials with the mayor s office estimate.</p>
<p>The project is funded primarily through state revenue bonds . The city contributed $75 million in locally obligated federal highway funds, according to project managers .</p>
<p>Construction kicked off nearly two years ago with completion projected for summer 2019 . And when it is finished each road meticulously in its place Project Neon will be its own salute to the local ethos: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.</p>
<p>Truckers are anticipating the change considering traffic through the corridor is expected to double by 2035 . Several drivers familiar with I-15 said that it s a huge delay .</p>
<p>However, notwithstanding the congested bottlenecks, truckers gotta be safe out there, said Gragg Wilson of FedEx Freight.</p>
<h3>Better Access</h3>
<p>The Las Vegas metropolitan area is a shipping and freight hub demanding constant supplies of food, goods and services to maintain various industries.</p>
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A bulldozer at the Bonanza Road yard. (Eugene Mulero/Transport Topics)

Of the 300,000 vehicles on the Spaghetti Bowl every day, about 17,900 on I-15 are trucks . U.S .

95 along the same stretch is used by 2,000 trucks daily, according to NDOT . Commercial drivers travel to and from California s ports and southwest hubs to reach warehouses, storage facilities and construction sites .

Other truckers focus primarily on last-mile routes across the metropolitan area, and longhaul truckers rely on the corridor en route to states farther north or east.

With $95 billion of commerce traveling annually along the corridor, congestion leads to potential slowdowns in local and state economies . That concern prompted emphasis on freight for the project, explained Dale Keller, Project Neon s senior project manager.

We re not in the business anymore of moving vehicles . We re about moving people and goods .

So, that method and that model really applies to this Project Neon by creating different transportation choices that we have, Keller said . You ve seen out here our footprint: You can t get any wider, right ? It s very expensive .

So we re trying to find these other choices, other transportation solutions to implement that.

Infrastructure Week

Our reporters kicked off the week with a look at how some new ideas are playing out in Nevada.

Anything we can do to improve that efficiency and moving people and goods really has a bottom-line impact, added Tony Illia, a spokesman with the department.

The high volume of tourists visiting Sin City every week, coupled with the state s growing population, were catalysts for the project, explained Paul Moradkhan, vice president of government affairs at the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce . According to data presented by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the state experienced a 31.8% population growth rate from 2000 to 2010 . That was followed by a population growth of 8.5% from 2011 to 2016.

There s several key factors that always come up in this conversation .

It s congestion . It s travel of goods . It s safety, the creation of jobs, travel delays, Moradkhan said .

All those will be addressed with the construction, and reconfiguration of Project Neon.

Mayor Carolyn Goodman, a staunch supporter of Project Neon, boasts about her city s place as an exemplar for intermodal freight transportation . Las Vegas is part of a trend, with Newark, N.J., and Denver, among cities that have enhanced commercial transportation.

A Model

Mayor Carolyn Goodman

Goodman

Goodman noted those steady transportation enhancements have earned the city praise from peers at the U.S . Conference of Mayors .

Also, national leaders, such as former Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, had told officials to study Las Vegas modernization efforts . Foxx, formerly mayor of Charlotte, N.C., as secretary had championed the need for enhancing capacity along I-15 beyond the metropolitan area.

For Project Neon, the mayor s hope is similar to DeLong s . Basically, the goal of the project is to open up the clog of two lanes in each direction at the Spaghetti Bowl, she said during an interview on April 30 at her downtown office.

After Project Neon, attention will need to turn to other infrastructure needs, she cautioned .

The American Society of Civil Engineers graded the state s infrastructure a C-minus in 2014, calling for additional work to enhance mobility in urban and rural areas.

Every city in this country pretty much has the same issues every other city has . But, sadly, all of us have to go to the top of the mountain and look singularly at a prioritized list of what s the most important . The first one is safety, the mayor said, and right under that is the horrible condition of the infrastructure in this country .

And you gotta fix it.

Road projects completed

Member for Albury, Greg Aplin recently announced $2.31 million in major road upgrades have been completed in the Federation Council area.

We re committed to boosting NSW s $60 billion freight industry through targeted investments into key road upgrades that will make it easier to move regional goods from paddock to port, Mr Aplin said.
The NSW Government has contributed $1.41 million to these three Federation Council projects through the Restart NSW Fixing Country Roads program.
Bull Plain Road, Daysdale Walbundrie Road and the Federation Way freight route connect local industry to state highways and major agricultural suppliers and storage and distribution facilities in Oaklands.
Sections of these roads were often unsuitable for higher productivity vehicles, with pavement failures and high flood risks creating inefficiency in the regional supply chain.
The upgrades have removed these pinch points and reduced constraints on the movement of goods across southern NSW and beyond.
These projects have been largely funded by the NSW Government, with additional funds provided by the Australian Government and Federation Council.
Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said these works would provide a significant boost to the local agriculture industry.
These upgrades will allow for more efficient transport of grain and other agricultural products across the state increasing productivity and cutting transport costs for producers, Mrs Pavey said.
The upgraded roads will improve access to existing markets and open the door to new business opportunities.
Mr Aplin said the benefits of these projects would be felt across the wider community.
By improving pavement surfaces, increasing road width and reducing flood risks, we are ensuring our local roads are safe for vehicles of all sizes, he said.
These projects will limit ongoing road maintenance costs and eliminate delays caused by pavement failure and roadworks.
The NSW Government has reserved $500 million for the Fixing Country Roads program over multiple funding rounds.

By Corowa Free Press1 April 25, 2018

References

  1. ^ Corowa Free Press (www.riverineherald.com.au)

The future is autonomous are we ready ?

asks DHL

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BONN: December 12, 2017 . DHL Chief Commercial Officer Bill Meahl says the logistics industry needs to be planning now for a future that includes driverless trucks – and failure to do so will be a costly mistake:

“It’s time for the logistics industry to start looking seriously into an autonomous future with driverless trucks leading the way . The question is: are we ready?

“The vision of an electric, autonomous future was catapulted back into the spotlight recently when Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled his latest innovation and first foray into the commercial vehicle market.

“Though not fully autonomous, the Tesla Semi is an electric, semi-autonomous truck that Musk says will be able to travel 500 miles fully loaded on a single charge .

Tesla isn’t the only company developing electric trucks, but the moment has certainly re-charged industry hype . Everyone’s talking about it especially those of us in logistics industry . So, just how close are we to an autonomous freight transport future?

“But the conversation isn’t new .

Earlier this year, the International Transport Forum (ITF) published a report that looks at how a transition to driverless road freight transport could happen . The study makes recommendations to help governments manage potential disruption and ensure a just transition for affected drivers . The main takeaway: Although automated road freight will save costs, reduce emissions, and make roads safer, the impact on driver jobs requires a managed transition .

In short: we need to be thinking about an autonomous future now.

“We may still be a long way away from artificial intelligence (AI) behind the wheels of the world’s semis, but companies managing large vehicle fleets ignore the technological advances at their own peril . Logistics industry players certainly need to prepare for a future more reliant upon autonomous vehicles. Failure to plan for this eventual inevitability will be a costly mistake.

“That’s because the future has already begun . Did you read about the 120-mile driverless “beer run” that Anheuser-Busch pulled off in 2016 ?

The venture down Colorado’s Interstate 25 between Fort Collins and Colorado Springs broke the record for the longest continuous journey by a driverless semi-truck.

“Despite the historic feat, Lior Ron, co-founder of Otto, the company developing the self-driving truck technology that powered the ride, believes that for the foreseeable future AI will merely act ‘co-pilots’.

“We are about to start testing several autonomous delivery vehicles in 2018, including our own DHL StreetScooter thanks to our cooperation with AI computing company NVIDIA and ZF, one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers.

“And while most are still talking about Tesla’s splashy announcement, we’re taking action . Our DHL Supply division has just placed an order for ten Tesla Electric Class 8 Semi Trucks, making it one of the first third-party logistics (3PL) companies to do so . We’ll begin testing them in the U.S .

once available in 2019.

“Both companies and drivers will benefit from the technology . For starters, we think the ITF is spot on: autonomous trucks will be much more energy efficient, which will reduce costs and carbon footprints . That’s extremely important to us and our mission to achieve zero emissions by 2050.

“For drivers, who work long hours and need to be on the ball all the time, self-driving technologies will become a welcome companion in their cabs .

As it is, there is already quite a labor shortage in markets such as the U.S . and the U.K.

“According to the commercial truck fleet news site truckinginfo.com, in 2016 the industry was short around 50,000 drivers in the U.S . alone .

They estimated need for another 100,000 in 2017 on account of an aging workforce.

“That’s why I see drivers benefiting the most. Autonomous technology will make their jobs easier and safer, which may keep many on the job longer . The autopilot will take over things like acceleration, braking, lane-centering, and adaptive cruise control and react instantly in certain traffic situations . Truckers will of course have to monitor all of this and remain alert something I don’t see changing any time in the foreseeable future.

“Consider airplane pilots .

Though many people imagine pilots leaning back and reading the paper for most of the flight, that couldn’t be further from the truth . Most airlines may use automation for much of their flights, but planes couldn’t fly without the skill and expertise of the crew.

“For example, pilots must feed the computer with routing information and then constantly monitor and manage the system throughout the entire flight . The technology merely assists the human crew it does not replace them.

“Well before we witness driverless trucks cannonballing across America’s Midwestern plains, I predict we’re going to see truck convoys ‘platooning’ through the Interstate highway system at an unprecedented level of safety and efficiency.

“Platooning involves a convoy of multiple trucks that use sensors, radar and vehicle-to-vehicle communications to basically operate as a single unit .

By following closely behind a lead truck, the ‘truck train’ takes advantage of drafting, which reduces fuel consumption . The technology has the potential to enable a single driver to comfortably command an entire platoon of trucks.

“We’re currently putting platooning to the test in real-world DHL logistics scenarios in the UK . Led by TRL, an independent transport consulting firm, this British government-funded research project will see a lead driver controlling acceleration and braking for all vehicles, while drivers present in all following vehicles retain steering control and are ready to take full control if required.

“These trials will give us important insights to help better assess the long-term effects of platooning technology on road safety, the environment, traffic congestion, and the economy.

“Given both the technological and regulatory challenges, at this stage we think a fully autonomous future is likely further away than some think .

But that shouldn’t stop us and governments around the world from heeding the ITF advice and looking far into the future .

That way we’ll not only be prepared to manage the transition and avoid potential disruption, we’ll also reap the many rewards of an autonomous future with driverless trucks.

“Artificial intelligence may never supplant human intelligence in the cabs of our industry, but it will help improve driver performance and if leveraged properly, it has the potential to make their jobs easier and safer.”

Bill Meahl is responsible for coordinating the cross DHL commercial activities of the company’s Express, Global Forwarding/Freight, Supply Chain and Global Mail divisions.

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