Modeling multimodal freight transportation scenarios in Northern Canada under climate change impacts

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  • In Canada’s Northwest Territories, goods are delivered to remote communities and natural resource extraction sites by inland barge, trucks, and for some goods, air. Combinations of all-weather and winter roads are used in the winter months, while river barge transport and all-weather roads are used in the summer. However, Northern Canada is disproportionately impacted by climate change, which results in greater variability in water level conditions on the Mackenzie River from year to year. This in turn critically affects tug-and-barge operations on the river. This paper investigates Mackenzie River Corridor freight delivery performance – with a focus on the river route – considering how variations in river water conditions can impact network operations and operational costs. We investigate the impacts of water level variation on shippers’ route choice decisions, waterway supply capacity and the resulting overall performance of the freight transport system. Model outcomes provide insights into how the multimodal transportation network may be utilized and perform (quantified by delays and generalized costs) under different water level scenarios. The overarching purpose of the analysis is to provide guidance for infrastructure investment decision-making and business case development, to maintain an effective freight transportation network in the face of on-going climate change impacts.

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    Article (Draft / Submitted)
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    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International