Identify plausible domestic freight routes across different modes of transport
Determine the most efficient way of moving freight around Australia using average speed of trucks and trains. An intermodal train can load 100 to 150 shipping containers. Goods can only move between trucks and trains at seaports and intermodal terminals. Consider using Google Maps Places API to identify major manufacturers and distribution centres.
Trucks and trains are the workhorses of Australia's domestic freight network. Some high value and perishable goods like vaccines are moved by air, whereas minerals like bauxite, iron ore and coal for smelters are moved by sea. Steel trains from Port Kembla and Whyalla service most population centres on the mainland. Intermodal trains move containerised goods between cities. Trucks are the most versatile mode of transport. They can move goods to and from intermodal terminals onto trains and cargo ships, or move goods over long distances on their own.
Due to commercial sensitivity and the lack of representative data, the exact science of how domestic freight operates is not well understood. This exercise is about finding the locations of major manufacturers, distribution centres, ports and freight handling facilities, and piecing together some plausible insights on how goods can be moved efficiently to service consumers, manufacturers and exporters. Consider what broad commodity categories are moved by trucks or trains exclusively and what uses different modes of transport, and then overlay the routes in a visualisation.
This is a geospatial and demand modelling exercise, so be prepared to use a lot of assumptions. See if you can make use of the datasets on the average speed of trains and trucks, international trade, ABS population statistics, Google Maps Places API, Routes API or anything else that you can think of to illustrate freight movements from a whole of system perspective. This is a blue-sky challenge, so let your imagination run wild!
Image credit: National Freight Data Hub.
Eligibility: Must use at least one NFDH dataset. Must include interactive visualisation overlayed with different routes.
Entry: Challenge entry is available to all teams in Australia.
National Freight Data Hub
NFDH - ABS data for International Merchandise Trade
NFDH - Australian Intermodal Terminals
Data.gov.au - Freight Vehicle Congestion
NFDH - ARTC train count and average speed
NFDH - Harmonised Traffic Counts