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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Investigating the Possibility of Using BART for Air Freight Movement


The San Francisco Bay Area has one of the most congested metropolitan corridors in both California and nationwide, with very high demand for both passenger and air-freight transport. It is also a main entrance to the United States for the huge Asia market, and thus critical for the United States to play a leading role in the global economy. On one hand, traffic congestion in the main corridors through the Bay Area is severe and is becoming worse with the rapid increase of population and the development of the local economy, in which a substantial impact is created by truck-related activities such as the ever increasing air freight business (performed by companies such as Federal Express, UPS, DHL, and CNF). On the other hand, the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) operates a regional environmentally-green transit system has excess capacity during non-commute periods and during the commute on some lines in some reverse-commute direction. If the BART system were to be used by the air-freight delivery service providers, BART could probably provide reliable service to integrated air freight carriers to meet their limited-time window delivery service needs. This would lead to additional revenue generation for BART. For the traveling public as well as local, regional, and state government it would reduce truck activity, and its corresponding negative impacts on traffic, environment, safety, land use and the economy. Using BART for air freight movement as a model for combined goods and passenger movement can be generalized to other critical corridors nationwide to effectively relieve corridor congestion problem. Improving movement through these critical metropolitan corridors could yield significant benefits in terms of reduced travel time and delays and increased reliability and predictability of both passenger and freight movement.

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