Transport plays a central role in the development of economies and people around the world, by adding value to goods and developing industries, among other economic benefits. Selection of transportation modes are of significant interest to shippers, government actors and the general public due to both costs and impacts. The main objectives of this thesis are two-fold. First, is to develop a framework of economic life-cycle analysis focusing on rail and trucking systems to identify the most viable and reliable land transportation mode for moving goods based on hauling distances and freight loads. The second objective is to build a comprehensive model to estimate the shipping life cycle cost for design strategies using statistical procedures and GIS software applications.
Contributions of this thesis include: (1) Development of a Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) model that includes all of the direct costs, indirect costs and pollution produced by using rail and trucking freight transportation systems; (2) Determination of effect of issue of border delays, which is one of the main constraints when border inspection stations are factored into shipment processes; (3) Planning a future rail network that passes through different countries using ArcGIS; (4) Application of the reliability and sensitivity analysis using the implemented model; (5) Development of logistics applications using different scenarios that help to evaluate intermodal yard locations, alternative route selection, risk and warehouse facility locations; and (6) Establishment of guidelines for environmentally sustainable and reliable freight transportation systems to aid transportation engineers and policy makers. Data from different countries, municipalities and companies within the Gulf Cooperation Council region were used to build the model and conduct the analysis.