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Technical Report

Characterizing Washington State’s Supply Chains

Publication: Transportation Northwest Regional Center X (TransNow)
Publication Date: 2012

The University of Washington (UW), Washington State University (WSU), and Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) recently developed a multi-modal statewide geographic information system (GIS) model that can help the state prioritize strategies that protect industries most vulnerable to disruptions, supporting economic activity in the state and increasing economic resilience. The proposed research was identified after that project as an important step in improving the model’s ability to measure the impact of disruptions. In addition to developing the model, the researchers developed two case studies showing the model’s capabilities: the potato growing and processing industry was chosen as a representative agricultural sector and diesel fuel distribution for its importance to all industry sectors. As origin-destination data for other freight-dependent sectors is added to the model, WSDOT will be able to evaluate the impact of freight system disruptions on each of them. Moving forward, it is not cost-effective to develop case studies in the manner used for these case studies, therefore, the state is currently supporting activities at the national level that will provide methods for collecting statewide commodity flow data. However, this commodity flow data will still lack important operational detail necessary to understand the impacts of transportation changes. This research will begin to fill that gap by developing a transportation-based categorization of logistics chains. The goal is not to capture all of the complexity of supply chain logistics but to identify approximately 15-20 categories within which supply chains behave similarly from a transportation perspective, for example, in their level of scheduling and methods for route selection. Researchers will use existing publicly available data, conduct an operational survey, and analyze GPS data collected for WSDOT’s freight performance measures project to identify the categorization.

Authors: Dr. Anne Goodchild, Andrea Gagliano, Maura Rowell
Recommended Citation:
Goodchild, A., Gagliano, A., & Rowell, M. (2012). Characterizing Washington State’s Supply Chains (No. TNW2012-13).