A proposed cross-border Freight Shuttle System using autonomous, electrically powered shuttles to move cargo in 53-foot-long truck trailers on elevated guideways was named in a U.S. Treasury Department study to a list of 40 infrastructure projects across the United States that would provide significant economic benefit if completed.
The study was commissioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in support of the Build America Investment Initiative to identify 40 proposed transportation and water infrastructure projects across the United States of major economic significance.
The proposed Freight Shuttle System project, which would transport cargo between El Paso and Juarez using transporters powered by efficient, electric linear induction motors on a 12-mile elevated guideway between secure terminals on either side of the border, was identified in the study as one of only eight projects nationwide that would provide over $10 of economic benefits for every dollar of investment. The system was conceived and designed at Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI).
“The Freight Shuttle is a great example of how research universities and the private sector can solve everyday problems in the real world,” said Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp. “In the El Paso example, it would address border security, traffic congestion and environmental concerns. And now we have confirmation of its economic benefits.”
Freight Shuttle International (FSI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of El Paso, the City of Juarez, and state officials in Chihuahua in 2012 to support continued consideration of establishing a privately financed Freight Shuttle System across the border to reduce congestion on international bridges, improve security, lower the cost of cross-border cargo transportation, and reduce truck-generated emissions.
FSI’s chairman and president, Dr. Steve Roop stated, “We’ve been developing the freight shuttle concept for over a decade and we proposed the cross-border system at El Paso nearly four years ago, when the system was just a concept, but now that it is a real, tangible system with a working full-scale prototype in testing, we believe the time is right to seriously consider deployment of a system.
The results of this study support private or private-public-partnership investment in this new transportation system.” The City of El Paso Department of Bridges has been executing a strategy to facilitate smooth flow of cargo across the border and has been monitoring the Freight Shuttle System development.
“This new way of moving freight across the border has the potential to bring a privately financed solution into our tool box for managing secure and efficient cargo transportation between the U.S. and Mexico. We believe that the system could be a game changer for cross-border economic development in our region” stated City of El Paso Deputy City Manager of Economic Development Cary Westin. “The results of this new study are very encouraging and serve to demonstrate the economic value of investing in cross-border transportation infrastructure.”
“This technology is a visible example of the significance and importance of university-based research programs at organizations like TTI and The Texas A&M University System,” said Gregory D. Winfree, TTI agency director. “Congested border crossings and seaports are ideal locations for the Freight Shuttle System, which will reduce congestion, lower emissions, improve safety and security, and increase on-time delivery.”
“The Freight Shuttle System was designed to provide secure transportation and total control of cargo movement across the border”, said Gordon Dorsey, vice president of strategy and commercial development for FSI. “Drivers and trucks do not need to cross the border. Only the trailers and cargo move across the border in either direction and 100 percent of those can be scanned in motion.”
Freight Shuttle International has also recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Port of Houston Authority and is engaged in the early phases of planning to support development of a strategy for deployment of a Freight Shuttle System in the Port of Houston area.
Link to the study, which was conducted by AECOM with the assistance of Compass Transportation Inc., Raymond Ellis Consulting and Rubin Mallows Worldwide Inc. can be viewed HERE.