Mid-America Transportation Center


Date of this Version


Document Type



Report # MATC-KU: 361 Final Report 25-1121-0001-361


2012 Copyright of Mid-America Transportation Center


This study analyzed the potential of cell phone positioning techniques in freight truck data collection and long-haul truckshed (geographic extent) tracking. Freight truck identification and tracking algorithms were developed by means of cell phone network data and the established freight truck analysis GIS, to recognize freight trucks and determine their geographic extent (trucksheds). A case study was conducted to illustrate the truckshed tracking process and verify the tracking results from the cell phone network. Cell phones leaving from the test logistics distribution center were tracked and classified based on the developed tracking algorithms. The case study also demonstrated the processes of determining the geographic extent and traffic impact on the transportation network from the test logistics distribution center. The results showed that the proposed tracking algorithms can identify a similar percentage of freight truck data from the test facility compared with manual counts. The analysis of geographic extent indicated that 60 percent of freight traffic stayed within 30 miles of the facility, and approximately 20 percent of the traffic was considered long-haul freight traffic traveling more than 80 miles away. The long-haul tracking results found that most of the long-haul trucks returned to the original test facility during the same day. It is recommended that the tracking algorithms and data analysis process could also be applied to any other freight trucking terminal or intermodal transportation facility, as long as the cell phone network data are available. A complete freight GIS analysis network around the study area is also recommended to understand the likely destinations.