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Smart Mobility Challenge: Traffic Impact of CSX Pittsburgh Intermodal Rail Terminal and Mitigation Plans for McKees Rocks Title

Team: Sean Qian (PI, CMU), Xidong Pi (CMU), Wei Ma (CMU)
Funding source: Traffic 21, Mobility 21 National University Transportation Center
Start/End time: 2017-2018

A CSX intermodal rail terminal is planned to open in late 2017 on a parcel of land located immediately north of the McKees Rocks Bridge in the Borough of McKees Rocks and Stowe Township, PA. The development will consist of an intermodal facility that will accommodate approximately 50,000 lifts per year opening year (2018) and 136,000 lifts per year at full buildout (2023). Access to the terminal is proposed via an improved Michael Alley to Island Avenue (SR 0051). It is expected to generate a significant number of trucks in the Borough of McKees Rocks, which adds additional burdens on the existing roadway in the Borough. The terminal may bring in heavy congestion to individual roadway drivers. A traffic impact study was conducted indicating a minor congestion increase with the new infrastructure. This research project conducts an in-depth analysis of the potential traffic impact in high temporal and spatial resolutions. Using the data collected in the traffic impact study along with other relevant data sets possessed by CMU Mobility Data Analytics Center, we simulate individual cars and trucks, and model their route choices, travel time and mixed traffic flow conditions. The result includes the travel time, travel delay, vehicle-mile-traveled and emissions for each road segment and intersection by time of day. We will also examine the effectiveness of potential traffic management strategies, specifically West Carson Street Extension and truck routing.


  • Sean Qian, Jia Li, Xiaopeng Li, Michael Zhang, Haizhong Wang (2017), “Modeling heterogeneous traffic flow: a pragmatic approach.” Transportation Research Part B, Vol.99, pp. 183-204. [URL]

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