Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Krmenec, Andrew J.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Geography


Freight and freightage--Illinois--Chicago


This thesis is a geographical analysis of the demand for and supply of intermodal transportation services in Chicago, Illinois. Particular attention is given to the potential of consolidating the current network of 18 intermodal rail-truck terminals into a network of directional common terminals. Intermodal freight transportation has grown tremendously over the past twenty years. As intermodal has grown, two primary points of weakness have emerged: capacity constraints in specific lanes and at intermodal terminals in general. The recycling of existing classification yards into intermodal terminals has led to the establishment of 18 separate facilities operated by 12 railroads that are not necessarily located in an optimal manner. The purpose of this thesis is to perform a geographical analysis of the demand for intermodal transportation in the Chicago region and then locate a network of terminals that will optimally serve the demand while at the same time provide for the smooth transfer of containers and trailers between terminals. A geographic information system (GIS) is used to perform both demand and supply analyses. Demand for intermodal services is a regional as well as local activity. The regional component of intermodal demand, the suburbanization of local demand and the large amount of rail intermodal traffic that is merely bridged across Chicago, reduces any advantages that may be derived from an inner city location. Intermodal terminals must seek a balance between the need to provide high quality service to local and regional consumers while also performing inter-terminal transfers in an efficient and timely manner. The existing intermodal network of 18 terminals is evaluated to measure accessibility to local and regional demand concentrations and connectivity to regional truck route and rail belt lines. The connectivity and accessibility analyses are then combined to calculate a terminal rating index which is used to select a subset of the present network as sites for common yards. The facilities rated as most efficient from a supply and demand perspective are the Bensenville and Proviso terminals in the northwest suburbs; Cicero and Clearing on the near west side; and Markham in the southern suburbs.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [76]-79)


79 pages




Northern Illinois University

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