Journal of Transportation Management


Since the terrorist events in the United States on September 11, 2001, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has been testing and evaluating cargo tracking technologies to improve the safety, security, and efficiency of commercial motor vehicle operations. While satellite-based systems used for tracking vehicles and cargo provide sufficient geographic coverage in the majority of the United States, there remain several vital regions that are uncovered and difficult to monitor. One such region is Alaska, where officials arc particularly concerned with the hazardous materials shipments that are transported parallel to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. This article analyzes the risks and benefits associated with adopting an Expanded Satellite-Based Mobile Communications Tracking System to monitor hazardous materials and high-value cargo in Alaska. Technical and acceptance risks are evaluated against the communication, safety, security and real time information benefits that the system provides. The findings indicate that the system provides a significant communications upgrade relative to previously available technology.