Geospatial Intermodal Freight Transportation (GIFT) Model

Research Project Title

Geospatial Intermodal Freight Transportation (GIFT) Model


Project Description

The Geospatial Intermodal Freight Transportation (GIFT) Model is a network optimization model collaboratively developed by the University of Delaware and the Rochester Institute of Technology to evaluate the energy, emission, cost, and time-of-delivery attributes of intermodal freight transport.  The network is characterized not only by distance and time-of-delivery, but also by operating costs, energy, and emissions.  A full network version can compute thousands of origin-destination pairs to represent freight flow from existing or scenario data sets. 

The model is designed to be performance focused, multi-scale, and data-neutral.

See this draft youtube GIFT overview, with updates pending.

WebGIFT is an implementation of the Geospatial Intermodal Freight Transportation (GIFT) model. GIFT has been used by policy analysts to assess the environmental, energy, and economic impact of freight transportation [1-3]. WebGIFT makes the basic functionality of GIFT available on the Web.

The Multi-Modal Energy and Emissions Calculator (EmissionsCalc) is an associated model linked to WebGIFT that computes consumed energy and produced emissions for trucks, trains, and marine vessels used in freight transportation. It uses fundamental concepts about fuel (energy density, carbon content, sulfur content, etc.), engine efficiency, engine load (cargo capacity, etc.),and emissions control technologies to compute the emissions expected from operating that vehicle for freight transportation.

Project Team

CEOE Faculty
James J. Corbett

RIT Faculty
James J. Winebrake, Professor, Rochester Institute of Technology;
Karl Korfmacher, Rochester Institute of Technology;
J. Scott Hawker, Rochester Institute of Technology.

Other UD staff:
Jordan Silberman, GIS design, model development
Earl “Rusty” Lee, faculty in Civil and Environmental Engineering
Other UD staff S-contract support.


[1] Hawker, J.S. Comer, B., Corbett, J.J. Ghosh, A. Korfmacher, K., Lee, E.E. Li, B., Prokop, C., Winebrake, “An Integrated Model to Study Environmental, Economic, and Energy Trade-Offs in Intermodal Freight Transportation,” 2010 International Environmental Modelling and Software Society (iEMSs) 2010 International Congress, Ottawa, Canada, July, 2010.
[2] Comer, B.S., Corbett, J.J., Hawker, J.S., Korfmacher, K., Lee, E.E., Prokop, C., Winebrake, J.J., “Marine Vessels as Substitutes for Heavy-Duty Trucks in Great Lakes Freight Transportation,” Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, 60 (7), July 2010, pp. 884-890.
[3] Winebrake, James J., James J. Corbett, Aaron Falzarano, J. Scott Hawker, Karl Korfmacher, Sai Ketha, and Steve Zilora, “Energy, Environmental, and Economic Tradeoffs in Freight Transportation Decision-Making,” Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, Volume 58, Number 8, August 2008.


Page updated Februrary 2015.

Featured Faculty

James Corbett

James Corbett picture

Associate Director, Marine Policy & Professor Marine Policy


CEOE School & Departments

School of Marine Science & Policy

Advancing the understanding, stewardship, and conservation of estuarine, coastal, and ocean environments.

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Department of Geological Sciences

Discovering how geological processes have operated over various time scales to create and influence the planet’s surface environments.

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Department of Geography

Investigating the interactions between people and the environment and the processes that explain the location of human and natural phenomena.

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College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment • 111 Robinson Hall • Newark, DE 19716 • USA • Phone: 302-831-2841
Geography: 302-831-2294 • Geology: 302-831-2569 • Marine Science and Policy: 302-645-4212 • E-mail:

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