Project Overview


The National Consortia on Remote Sensing in Transportation (NCRST) were established in 2000 by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA), in response to legislation in TEA-21. Four university-led consortia were set up, in Environment, Infrastructure, Traffic Flows and Hazards. UCSB led the Consortium on Infrastructure, partnering with Digital Geographic Research Corporation (DGRC), the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Iowa State University, TetraTech Inc, OrbImage, Florida DOT and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

The SAFETEA-LU bill of 2005 re-authorized funding for the program. USDOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) advertised the new remote sensing program in 2006, and created seven consortia: three in freight congestion mitigation, three in infrastructure rehabilitation, and one in environment.  UCSB led the consortium on Freight—Metropolitan Ports.

Research Focus

More than 40% of containerized imports to the U.S. enter through the ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, creating vulnerabilities in logistics, security and environment quality. Freight volume is forecast to triple over the next three decades.

The consortium's research centers on MeTrIS, a Metropolitan Transportation Information System being developed by DGRC. This rich data stream enables a variety of synoptic information products and models, both real-time and longitudinal. UCSB and partners documented spatial patterns of truck traffic, and developed optimization and microsimulation models aimed at reducing unproductive intermodal trips (e.g. empty container hauls). Our target was to achieve a 10% traffic reduction of truck trips in the study area—demonstrated by modeling.

The project had the support and active cooperation of the freight industry. A commercialization component explored the market for MeTrIS data to sustain public-good operations.

Consultation and Outreach

The goal of the NCRST program is to develop commercially viable space-based technologies. We welcome consultation and outreach opportunities.

Final Report

Executive Summary (pdf)