Spring 2012 (Vol.51, No.2)

Feasibility of an Intermodal Terminal in Rural Texas to Enhance Marketing and Transportation Efficiency

Abstract

This study examines the economic feasibility of investment in an intermodal terminal in west Texas and its implications for reducing roadway maintenance costs and CO2 emissions. The study focuses on cotton, a leading agricultural commodity in Texas, which is highly dependent on the international market and truck transport from west Texas to the Dallas-Fort Worth complex for purposes of accessing containerized railroad transportation to West Coast ports. Analyses were accomplished with a spatial model of the U.S. cotton industry that features details regarding cotton handling, storage, and transportation activities. The analyses indicate an intermodal terminal in west Texas’ intensive cotton-production region to be economically viable, attracting nearly 30% of Texas’ average cotton production. Implementation of an intermodal terminal in west Texas would annually reduce truck travel on state roadways and lower pavement maintenance expenditure by approximately $1 million and reduce CO2 emissions by 42% to 47%.

by Stephen Fuller, John Robinson, Francisco Fraire, and Sharada Vadali

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