Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Industrial Engineering

Committee Chair

Bai, Lihui


Hazardous substances--Transportation--United States; Hazardous wastes--Transportation--United States; Hazardous substances--Management


The trucking industry is the largest freight sector, making up about 70 percent of all domestic shipment in the United States and contributes greatly the American economy. About 10 billion tons of goods are shipped annually and of that, about 800,000 shipments of hazardous materials are transported in the United States each day by trucks, resulting in 300 million annual shipments (Federal Motor Carrier Security Administration). These hazardous materials (HazMat) range from relatively harmless products, such as hair spray and perfumes, to bulk shipments of gasoline by highway cargo tanks, to transportation of poisonous, explosive, and radioactive materials. The complexity of this commodity makes them of particular interest, especially to carriers, shippers, consignees, emergency responders, and government officials. However, at both the national and state levels, the transport of HazMat shipments has not been analyzed to the degree necessary to completely understand the operational logistics. To assist strategic planning on the development and expansion for highway infrastructure and to mitigate security risk due to HazMat shipment, it is necessary to understand their shipment/flow characteristic, and more broadly, the current awareness and preparedness of shippers and carries of risk mitigation. Therefore, more research is necessary to help federal and local government to make efficient regulations regarding risk mitigation of HazMat highway shipments. The objective of this project is to understand the risk involved with HazMat shipment and the mitigation strategies/tools used in an effort to lessen the impact of HazMat-caused incidents on people, property and environment through actions taken before a disaster strikes. To accomplish this objective, a survey questionnaire was developed and distributed to HazMat shippers/carriers. The questionnaire mainly consists of three parts: part 1, background information of survey participants including company name, size, and location; part 2, commodity flow characteristics including HazMat type, shipping tonnage, and shipping mileage, etc.; and part 3: the state and future of risk mitigation including current precautionary measures and technologies, and future plans on strengthening security, etc. Inland waterway (IWW) is another important mode of transportation in the U.S. The inland waterways networks consist of nearly 12,000 navigable miles which makes it vast in geographical area and ability to carry high tonnages of goods (U.S Army Corps of Engineers, 2005). The direct access to large ports makes it a very beneficial for carriers using this mode of shipment. The inland waterways accounts for over 624 million tons of freight annually and create tremendous cost savings for U.S agriculture sector. It is also has a vital connection in energy production in the U.S resulting in low energy cost. This makes it a crucial economy contributor; making up 14% of our intercity freight and is valued nearly $70 billion (National Waterways Foundation, 2008). It is a logical mode for transporting several commodities due to its relative low cost compare to other modes of transportation and more environmentally friendly option. Despite these benefits inland waterway for shipment remains under-utilized and many of the existing infrastructures are nearing their designed life span. The objectives our research are: 1. To understand the factors that manufacturers consider before choosing what mode of transportation is appropriate for their commodity; 2. To propose an incentive that will either encourage participants who are currently using inland waterways to increase the volume transported via inland waterway or stimulate those who are not currently using to consider shipping via inland waterway. A survey questionnaire was designed and distributed to manufacturers. Data collected from the survey was analyzed and presented the subsequent chapters. This document focuses on the two areas discussed earlier; First, Risk Management of Hazardous Material (Chapter 1) and second, Identify factors that can help boost the use of inland waterway shipment (Chapter 7). The goal is to observe data collected from surveys and propose recommendations that can be used to improve both area of focus at the end of this research.