Document Type


Date of Award

Spring 5-31-1995

Degree Name

Master of Science in Transportation - (M.S.)


Executive Committee for the Interdisciplinary Program in Transportation

First Advisor

Lazar Spasovic

Second Advisor

Louis J. Pignataro

Third Advisor

Athanassios K. Bladikas


In rail-truck intermodal transport, a highway truck-trailer or container is moved by truck from a shipper to a rail terminal in the shipper's vicinity, and by rail in line haul between rail terminals. Upon being unloaded at the destination rail terminal, the container is delivered to a receiver (consignee) by truck. The highway portion of the move, or drayage, accounts for a relatively high percentage of total origin to destination cost, and it limits severely the competitiveness of intermodal service with door-to-door truck service. The approach used in this thesis is to examine in detail the current costs and potential for improvement at one intermodal terminal for a pre-determined analysis period. The analysis is conducted by first determining the actual cost of container movements and comparing it with the costs of an operation in which movements are scheduled using a proposed heuristic model that reduces the movements of empty containers. The model results indicate a 7.79% reduction in the overall cost of drayage. This reduction is achieved by repositioning and reloading containers, after they have been unloaded at consignees.