Florida Statewide Multi-Modal Freight

Resource Systems Group, Inc.
Florida Department of Transportation
Goals and Objectives: 

The model was motivated by a desire to enhance the state’s  freight forecasting capabilities and also to provide a framework that can be used to support enhancements to more geographically detailed regional freight forecasts. 


Policy sensitivity is sought by the following model enhancements:

  • Representing characteristics of individual firms and shipments
  • Representing supply chains and distribution channels
  • Capturing trip-chaining behavior associated with trucking deliveries
  • Multimodal transportation network assignments (and uses network information to understand transportation costs, including storage costs, during transshipment)
  • Using the results of the statewide model in tour-based regional freight models (proposed)
Overview and Description: 

The model converts the supply chain information on firms, shipments, and modes into modal trip tables, and assigns these trip tables to a multimodal statewide transportation network. This network consists of highway and railway links, seaports and waterways, airports, and intermodal connectors. The model uses a combination of FAF zones and Florida counties. The model covers the freight movements within, into and out of the entire state of Florida, using a transportation network database that extends to the entire United States and around the world. This statewide model is designed to be integrated with sub-state regional models. These regional models will be able to use cross-boundary freight flows from the statewide model. The statewide model is built on the following seven step framework:

  • Firm Synthesis creates a list of businesses and their locations in Florida, the United States, and the rest of the world.
  • Supplier Selection links suppliers with buyers based on the commodities that the suppliers produce and the buyers consume.
  • Goods Demand uses observed freight demand and distributes the commodity flows amongst pairs of suppliers and buyers.
  • Distribution Channel models determine whether the freight shipments are direct or require intermediate handling (i.e., movement through an intermodal or distribution center).
  • Shipment Size converts the total annual commodity flow between each supplier and buyer pair into individual shipments by size and frequency.
  • Mode and Transfers identifies the mode used for each part of the freight trip and the transfer locations. The shipments are assigned to the following modes: truck, rail, water, and air. The choice of the mode is decided based on the full logistics cost of the path from the supplier to the buyer.
  • Network Assignment assigns freight trips to the multimodal networks based on the information on the modes and transfer locations
Spatial Detail: 

The model covers all of Florida and includes external flows over transportation networks across the USA and internationally. Florida, Georgia and Alabama counties are used to represent within south east region, including within Florida freight flows, keyed to FAF zonal commodity flow totals broken down using county data and the ‘Make’ and ‘Use’ Tables in the 2007 U.S. Benchmark Input-Output Account to determine the type and percentage of commodities used by each industry. Flows with origins or destination outside the state use FAF3’s 123 internal to the USA plus 8 foreign traffic analysis zones.

Mode Detail: 

The model uses the 7 FAF3 modes: Air, truck, Rail, Water, Pipeline, Multiple Modes and Mail, Other & Unknown.

Commodity Detail: 

The model uses the 2007 FAF3’s 43 2-digit SCTG-based commodity classes.


The model is intended to support the following FDOT planning activities:

  • Support freight plan development
  • Evaluate potential large scale infrastructure investments
  • Provide inputs to more detailed project level evaluations
  • Provide inputs to regional transportation planning models

And to be sensitive to policies involving the following:

  • Changes in land use and economy: spatial distribution of employment and mix of industries
  • Changes in transportation supply, including
    • Major highway network changes
    • Changes to rail capacity
    • Intermodal facility capacity changes, including deep water ports and airports
  • Changes in distribution center network
    • New facilities (with regional significance)
  • Changes in commodity flow origins and destinations outside Florida
System Platform: 

CUBE Interface; coded in R

Data Sources: 
  • 2007 Benchmark Input-Output Account
  • County Business Patterns
  • InfoUSA
  • Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages
  • Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics data
  • USDOT Waybill data
  • American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI)
  • Port Import Export Reporting Service (PIERS) Database
Example Inputs & Outputs: 
  • Inputs: FAF commodity flow data, firm characteristics (i.e., location, industry, size, commodity), employment data, input-output data, truck GPS data
  • Outputs: vehicle and commodity flows on networks, use of intermodal/distribution centers, shipment paths.
Software Information: 

Currently being developed

Website & Contact Information: 



Vidya Mysore

Manager, Systems Traffic Modeling

Tallahassee, Florida




FDOT Systems Planning Office
Mail Station 19
605 Suwannee Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0450
(850) 414-4901

FAX (850) 414-4876
diana.fields@dot.state.fl.us also vladimir.majano@dot.state.fl.us