Port of Long Beach Strategic Land Use Study

The Port of Long Beach is preparing to meet the future by initiating a broad, long-term Land Use Study, using PRIME.

Assessing All Development Options

Rather than creating a single Land Use Plan, the Port of Long Beach needs a flexible model that can readily adapt to shifting commercial demands, while simultaneously addressing wider port and regional goods movement issues. To achieve this, the Port needs to consider multiple Land Use Plans that reflect different paradigms for Port development. The viability of these Plans needs to be judged in the context of goods movement demand, and the collective impact of Port operations on the City of Long Beach and Southern California.

WSP was selected to conduct this vital USD 2.15M Study. The current and future work on this project includes stakeholder outreach, goods movement demand projection, port-wide capacity assessment, individual facility planning, port-wide planning, impact analyses for road, rail energy and environment, and multi-variant plan evaluation. These traditional elements will be brought together into a unique set of integrated planning tools that combine site planning, capacity assessment, impact assessment, plan integration, and GIS-based land management. These tools will be turned over to the Port for their use when evaluating the viability of future land uses. The tools will empower the Port to see beyond immediate drivers and forecasts, and to respond to future requirements, whatever they may be.

Preparing for Growth

The Port of Long Beach is the second-busiest container port in the United States, providing an essential gateway for goods moving across the Pacific. It also has essential facilities handling passengers, petroleum, petcoke, coal, lumber, cement, and automobiles. The Port continues to experience rapid growth in demand, as well as rapid changes in the nature of ocean transportation. It is served by two Class I railroads and a complex, busy network of arterial highways. The Port is surrounded by a vibrant community that exercises a strong influence on the Port’s development.  Any land use decision must consider not only the direct benefits from the movement of goods, but the direct and indirect impacts of those goods movements on other Port users and other external stakeholders. Any land use analysis must provide a coherent, unified, robust view of benefits, costs, and impacts based on a rigorous understanding of modern port operations.

Tonnes of general cargo/year
82 million 82 million
Vessel calls/year
2,000 2,000
Jobs in the region
316,000 316,000

Tailored Port Technology

WSP is developing the Port Rail Intermodal Modeling Environment (PRIME) for the Port’s use. PRIME has two major elements: Planning and Analysis. The Planning element allows the user to draft, against a GIS-driven background, the physical and operational layouts of all types of goods movements in the terminals, and the channels, roads and rails that serve them. The Analysis element reads directly from the Planning element and calculates capacity, rail traffic, road traffic, capital cost, revenue, cash flow, and emissions, all based on a common, unifying set of operational assumptions. Changes in land uses in the Planning element will instantly and seamlessly be reflected in the Analysis element. This approach will ensure that all predictions of benefit, cost and impact are based on a single model, avoiding mismatches between elements that serve different purposes and different stakeholders.

Our team delivered the following:

  • Establishment of study objectives
  • Broad stakeholder outreach to establish plan priorities and evaluation criteria
  • Integrated analysis of all land uses against established evaluation criteria
  • Updated data on all operational parameters that affect capacity and impact
  • Land uses that close any gaps between current capacity and projected demand
  • Consideration of new technologies that impact goods movement efficiency
  • Port-wide plans that reflect a range of development paradigms
  • Living tools that allow the Port to repeat this effort using internal resources whenever required

Seeing the Possibilities

The project will provide the Port with a comprehensive view of the full range of land uses that will likely be required in response to continuing volume growth. It will include not only container terminals, which currently lead the Port’s business, but facilities for other current and new goods movements, and the support facilities necessary to ensure effective transport logistics.

The project will show different ways in which required land uses can be assembled on existing and potential new parcels. A range of development paradigms will be examined, each exploring a different strategic imperative facing the Port. Each Port-wide plan will be scored based on robust evaluation criteria established through comprehensive outreach efforts with Port staff and Port’s many stakeholders.

The project will provide a set of interactive tools that will allow Port staff to rapidly lay out proposed land uses, and then examine them against established evaluation criteria. These tools will tightly integrate site planning with analysis of capacity, operational efficiency, cost, and a broad range of regional impacts. The Port will then be able to see the impact of any land use decision as it is integrated with all other activities of the Port.