Port Of Houston Wants To Try Out New Automated Cargo Transport System

Texas A&M has just unveiled a new transportation system that could take a lot of traffic off local freeways.

By Gail DelaughterSeptember 13, 2016 9:30 am| , ,

From Houston Public Media:

Gov. Greg Abbott was blunt when he talked about the traffic on Texas highways.

“It’s a sad day when a guy pushing a wheelchair can go faster than traffic stuck on some of our congested roadways,” said Abbott.

Abbott made his comments as the Texas A&M Transportation Institute debuted a new system that could get a lot of trucks out of the mix. It’s called the Autonomous Freight Shuttle System. It’s an elevated guideway that uses electric shuttles to move trailers and cargo containers. Developers say you could run it down the middle of a roadway, separating cargo from passenger vehicles, with the goal of cutting down on congestion and pollution.

One of the first places we could see the shuttle in operation is at the Port of Houston. The port has signed an agreement with Freight Shuttle International, the private company created to market the design.

Port Executive Director Roger Guenther says they’ll now start looking into how exactly they can use the system: “Which will improve efficiencies, avoid the future congestion, lower emissions, and provide a safer opportunity and alternative during the movement of freight.”

While there’s a lot of rail activity at the port, most cargo leaves by truck. And that poses a lot of challenges as the region works to meet federal clean air mandates.