Oakland Port Tests Sensors to Measure Wait Times

June 26, 2015

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Photo via Port of Oakland
Photo via Port of Oakland

The Port of Oakland has announced that it is testing sensors to measure how long trucks servicing the port are waiting to enter marine terminals.

The Northern California port is installing Bluetooth sensors along thoroughfares in the Outer Harbor area of the Port of Oakland. The sensors will automatically detect anonymous signals emitted from phones or other mobile devices in truck cabs. They will measure the time between the first and last of each signal to calculate wait times.

With wait time information, drivers could avoid peak periods and shippers could collect cargo at less crowded times. The information is then sent to truckers and cargo owners through mobile devices and computers.  

“Our customers want to get in and out of the Port with their cargo quickly,” said John Driscoll maritime director at the port. “We think this technology can provide an important component of wait-time metrics to our Port stakeholders.”

The technology is the same type currently used on major freeways to calculate rush-hour commute times. The system will also include cybersecurity measures like network security, access control and audit and accountability to protect critical infrastructure.

The pilot program will last for several months and is one way the port is looking to accelerate cargo movement. The technology will be deployed throughout the port if the test is successful. In the future, the sensors may also be used for turn-time measurement within its terminals.

“This is proven technology for determining travel times and a cost-effective approach for determining port drayage truck wait times,” said Taso Zografos of Leidos Inc., the firm conducting the test. “If the test is successful, then it would be applicable to implement portwide.”

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