Freight Movement Redefined
The Freight Shuttle Xpress (FSX) concept was initiated at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute for the purposes of finding a low-emissions alternative to moving freight and relieving congestion created by trucks in heavy freight corridors. The Freight Shuttle moves truck trailers (up to 53 ft.), domestic intermodal containers (up to 53 ft.), and all sizes of ocean shipping containers via emissions-free, electric-powered transporters on elevated guideways in the medians of highways or other rights-of-way over distances of up to 500 miles
Based on Existing Technologies
The privately funded FSX is based on a patented application of existing technologies. Freight Shuttle has assembled an impressive team of designers, guideway/bridge builders, transportation engineers and construction contractors to create a first-of-its-kind energy efficient, low emission, freight-only transportation system.
Increased truck traffic on roadways taxes roads beyond their designed capacity, requiring maintenance more often. The taxpayer foots the bill.
Truck Traffic Contributes to Congestion
Trade has grown significantly in recent decades. Most commercial cargo traveling less than 500 miles is currently moved by trucks, which share public roads with private vehicles. While economic growth and increased commerce are good things for the state of Texas and the country as a whole, the resulting truck traffic increases traffic congestion, pollution and safety risks for travelers. The volume of truck and private vehicle traffic in many areas has grown faster than our transportation infrastructure was designed to handle.
More trucks on the roadways mean more time spent sitting in traffic, and that in turn means more pollution from idling vehicles. And more vehicles – especially large trucks with heavy payloads – mean increased safety risks for all drivers. These problems are most evident in metropolitan areas, at border crossings (where security checks occur), and in and around seaports and major intermodal cargo hubs.
Excessive truck traffic increases congestion, pollution, and safety hazards for border communities.
Auto exhaust – particularly what contributes to increased emissions in congested urban areas, such as during rush hour –increases air pollution, resulting in worsening pulmonary health and rising societal health care costs.
Road wear from more tires on the road – especially those of heavily laden commercial trucks – shortens roadway lifespan. Maintenance is more often necessary to repair our overburdened roads, and those costs are passed along to taxpayers.
Accidents are the tragic, natural consequences of more vehicles on our roadways. Add the ongoing maintenance issue associated with road wear, and our roads simply aren’t as safe as they could be with less vehicles on them.
Truck drivers are seeing their costs of doing business rise as the requirements of just-in-time delivery, fuel and vehicle maintenance costs, and the constant consumer demand for lower prices intersect.
Lack of truck and equipment capacity in some regions makes delivering goods to local markets not only costly, but in some cases cost-prohibitive.
More Traffic, More Pollution, Less Safety: More Costly
More traffic on our roadways results in problems costly to society in a number of ways.
The Freight Shuttle Xpress system (FSX) can be operated within either existing right-of-way or private property and needs a footprint of less than ten feet on the ground to transport freight. Fully automated, the electrically powered shuttle transporters travel unimpeded along a dedicated guideway above traffic. This provides additional security for the freight and avoids interaction with existing traffic, possibly adding capacity to existing transportation infrastructure.
As an electrically powered transportation technology, it will not create any emissions within existing highway rights-of-way where it is operated, and the potential emissions that may have been created by a hydrocarbon based transport are mitigated.
For Shippers and Truckers
Providing a dedicated, elevated guideway ensures that freight can avoid delays due to traffic and regulations, as well as damage, vandalism and theft. The reliability delivered by the 24/7 operations of the FSX could enable the shipper to reduce stock levels in the warehouse and truckers to mitigate driver shortage issues and use their resources more effectively, thereby lowering their operating costs.
Today, FSX is entirely privately funded – the taxpayer pays nothing, unlike when constructing and maintaining our current transportation infrastructure. In fact, public coffers will receive revenue when the FSX leases air rights within existing public rights-of-way. However, should the public sector be interested in using public funds, the recent FAST Act contains legislation that should make it possible. Further, some of the public-private partnership models created by some state departments of transportation (DOTs) could be used as models by other DOTs to fund a FSS.
Providing a freight-centric transportation option on a dedicated thoroughfare yields a number of benefits for both the freight logistics industry and the sellers and consumers of transported goods.
The public and private sectors alike stand to gain significantly when FSX is operational.
Driving Public and Local Communities
Less traffic congestion.
Dramatically lower emissions and pollution.
Enhanced local economic activity and connectivity.
New technology = new job descriptions.
Reduced damage to roads & bridges = less highway maintenance.
Privately funded infrastructure expansion without cost to taxpayer.
Public-private partnership opportunities to provide long-term return-on-investment to the public.
Payment for air space rights within right-of-way = revenue back to government.
Lower prices on goods achieved through more efficient shipping practices.
Taxpayers and State Transportation Agencies
Urban areas like Dallas, which suffers excessive pollution from congestion on its roadways, will be primary beneficiaries of FSX.
- Opportunity for a new, more efficient business model.
Lower Shipping Costs
Fewer delays / less waste.
Fewer and lighter assets
Opportunity to relocate resources to shorter hauls.
Higher schedule reliability / dependability.
Better / new connections between economic centers.
Reduced risk of damage, vandalism, and theft.
Lowered emissions via electric rather than diesel power.
Minimum carbon footprint using existing right-of-way.
The Freight Shuttle Xpress system (FSX) is designed to complement and integrate with the existing intermodal freight transportation system. Typically, railroads are the most efficient in the long-haul segment of the goods-movement industry, especially for distances over 500 miles. Trucks are, and likely always will be, the most flexible mode of freight transportation.
A New Capability in the Intermodal Freight Transportation Network
FSX provides an option for an organized, efficient, “conveyor belt”- type operation that achieves economic scale in high-volume corridors and relieves congestion on roadways and at “choke points” within the intermodal freight transportation system.
The market-based FSX business model creates a mechanism to channel private investment into infrastructure and to alleviate or reduce the need for government capital through public-private partnerships. Governments can also financially benefit from lease payments received from the FSX. This combination of technology and the proposed business model creates a powerful tool to enhance the quality of life of communities and increase the competitive position of industry throughout the United States while making a profit for investors.
A Powerful New Tool for Economic Stakeholders
FSX improves the quality of life, safety, and the competitive position of economic communities by removing truck traffic from congested public roadways and transporting freight using efficient, autonomous, electric shuttles on an elevated guideway within existing highway right-of-ways. Congestion, cost, and pollution challenges are a real part of everyday life. FSX offers real solutions capable of satisfying the wide range of social, environmental, and commercial parameters required to implement a low-emissions, cost-effective, profitable freight transportation system.
Real Solutions to Real Congestion Challenges
Highway Corridor Express
Inland Intermodal Container Express