SPECIAL REPORT 276

A Concept for a NATIONAL FREIGHT DATA PROGRAM

Committee on Freight Transportation Data: A Framework for Development

Transportation Research Board OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Transportation Research Board

Washington, D.C.

2003

www.TRB.org



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A Concept for a National Freight Data Program: Special Report 276 SPECIAL REPORT 276 A Concept for a NATIONAL FREIGHT DATA PROGRAM Committee on Freight Transportation Data: A Framework for Development Transportation Research Board OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Transportation Research Board Washington, D.C. 2003 www.TRB.org

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A Concept for a National Freight Data Program: Special Report 276 Transportation Research Board Special Report 276 Subscriber Category VIII freight transportation (multimodal) Transportation Research Board publications are available by ordering individual publications directly from the TRB Business Office, through the Internet at www.TRB.org or national-academies.org/trb, or by annual subscription through organizational or individual affiliation with TRB. Affiliates and library subscribers are eligible for substantial discounts. For further information, contact the Transportation Research Board Business Office, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001 (telephone 202-334-3213; fax 202-334-2519; or e-mail TRBsales@nas.edu). Copyright 2003 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to the procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The study was sponsored by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Freight Transportation Data: A Framework for Development. A concept for a national freight data program / Committee on Freight Transportation Data: A Framework for Development, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies. p.cm.—(Special report ; 276) ISBN 0-309-08570-5 1. Freight and freightage—United States—Data processing. 2. Information storage and retrieval systems—Freight and freightage. 3. Transportation—United States—Planning. I. Title II. Special report (National Research Council (U.S.). Transportation Research Board) ; 276. HE199.U5N37 2003 388′.044′028557—dc22 2003060678

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A Concept for a National Freight Data Program: Special Report 276 THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. On the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, on its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both the Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. The Transportation Research Board is a division of the National Research Council, which serves the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. The Board’s mission is to promote innovation and progress in transportation through research. In an objective and interdisciplinary setting, the Board facilitates the sharing of information on transportation practice and policy by researchers and practitioners; stimulates research and offers research management services that promote technical excellence; provides expert advice on transportation policy and programs; and disseminates research results broadly and encourages their implementation. The Board’s varied activities annually engage more than 4,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. www.TRB.org www.national-academies.org

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A Concept for a National Freight Data Program: Special Report 276 Committee on Freight Transportation Data: A Framework for Development ARNIM H. MEYBURG, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, Chair PAUL H. BINGHAM, Global Insight, Inc., Washington, D.C. KENNETH D. BOYER,* Michigan State University, East Lansing ROBERT COSTELLO, American Trucking Associations, Inc., Alexandria, Virginia DAVID L. GANOVSKI, Maryland Department of Transportation, Baltimore J. SUSIE LAHSENE, Port of Portland, Oregon CATHERINE T. LAWSON, State University of New York at Albany ROBERT E. MARTÍNEZ, Norfolk Southern Corporation, Norfolk, Virginia ROBERT TARDIF, Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Downsview, Canada C. MICHAEL WALTON, NAE, The University of Texas, Austin Transportation Research Board Staff JILL WILSON, Study Director Consultant RICK DONNELLY, PBConsult, Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico * Kenneth D. Boyer chaired the committee from May through October 2002.

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A Concept for a National Freight Data Program: Special Report 276 Preface On November 14–15, 2001, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) hosted a conference in Saratoga Springs, New York, entitled “Data Needs in the Changing World of Logistics and Freight Transportation.”1 This conference, organized by NYSDOT and the Transportation Research Board (TRB), was sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the Federal Highway Administration, and the Northeast Association of State Transportation Officials. The main objective was to provide transportation officials concerned about the economic competitiveness of their regions with a broader understanding of data issues associated with global economic competition and its implications for the existing transportation infrastructure, trade corridors, and market areas. Conference participants—who were drawn from both the public and the private sectors and represented most aspects of freight transportation and associated data needs2—determined that currently available regional and national data are inadequate to support the requirements of analysts and policy makers and that market area data are not readily available. However, participants also agreed that freight data collection, storage, and distribution are expensive activities, so any effort to collect new freight data should be preceded by an understanding of why such data are needed. 1 The conference synthesis and additional material on conference presentations can be found on the NYSDOT website (www.dot.state.ny.us). 2 A list of participants is included in the conference synthesis.

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A Concept for a National Freight Data Program: Special Report 276 Development of a strategic freight data business plan to guide future data collection efforts and an associated freight data framework emerged from the Saratoga Springs meeting as one of the highest-priority action items. Conference participants recommended that this framework be structured so that Underlying reasons for freight movements are considered, Data sets are compatible across geographical and functional aggregations, A time frame for data updates is included to keep the data current, Joint efforts (partnerships) between the public and private sectors are represented, and The latest developments in information technology are used to track shipments and vehicle movements. After the Saratoga Springs meeting, BTS asked TRB to conduct a study to recommend a framework for the development of national freight data. This framework is not intended to be a detailed data collection plan. Instead, it is to articulate the types of freight data needed by the variety of users in transportation and the roles of different data providers. In response to BTS’s request, TRB convened a 10-member committee with expertise in freight transportation planning and logistics, transportation policy and infrastructure, freight transportation data and modeling, and survey methodology and data collection. To expedite the study process, Rick Donnelly of PBConsult, Inc., was appointed as a consultant to the committee and charged with preparing a freight data business plan under the committee’s guidance. Dr. Donnelly’s commissioned paper, presented in Appendix A, formed a foundation for committee discussion of a new approach to freight data collection. The committee’s commentary on Dr. Donnelly’s plan for a national freight data program is provided in Chapter 3. At the committee’s request, Dr. Donnelly also prepared the review of freight survey collection techniques presented in Appendix B. The committee met three times between June and November 2002. The first two meetings included information-gathering activities, details of which are given in Appendix C. The final meeting was devoted to deliberative discussions and preparation of the committee’s report.

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A Concept for a National Freight Data Program: Special Report 276 The committee members reached consensus on all the findings and recommendations, which are presented at the outset of the report, immediately after the highlights. The committee also reached consensus on Chapters 1 and 2. However, one member, Kenneth D. Boyer, dissented from Chapter 3, where a concept for a national freight data program is discussed. Dr. Boyer’s dissenting statement is presented in Appendix D. In accordance with National Research Council policies, this appendix provides the opportunity for the expression of views not shared by the majority of the committee. The report commences with a highlights section, which summarizes very briefly the reasons freight data are needed, the deficiencies of current data, and a new approach to data collection aimed at remedying these deficiencies. The highlights section is followed immediately by the committee’s findings and recommendations. Subsequent chapters address in some detail the need for freight transportation data (Chapter 1), current data limitations (Chapter 2), and a concept for a national freight data program (Chapter 3). This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Academies. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the National Academies in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. The committee thanks the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Lillian C. Borrone, Avon-by-the-Sea, New Jersey; Theodore K. Dahlburg, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Robert E. Gallamore, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois; Lance R. Grenzeback, Cambridge Systematics, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts; John J. Lawson, Transport Canada, Ottawa, Ontario; Mary Lynn Tischer, Virginia Department of Transportation, Richmond; and Charles A. Waite, CBW Consulting, Falls Church, Virginia. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the

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A Concept for a National Freight Data Program: Special Report 276 committee’s conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Lester A. Hoel, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, who was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of the report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. The committee thanks the many individuals who contributed to this study through presentations at meetings, correspondence, and telephone calls. The assistance of Thomas Bolle and Jack Wells of BTS in responding to committee requests for information is gratefully acknowledged. The committee would particularly like to thank Rick Donnelly of PBConsult, Inc., for developing the initial concept for a freight data framework, and for his enthusiasm in working with the committee to expand and refine this initial concept. Jill Wilson managed the study under the supervision of Stephen R. Godwin, Director of Studies and Information Services. Frances E. Holland assisted in logistics and communications with the committee. Suzanne Schneider, Associate Executive Director of TRB, managed the report review process. The report was edited and prepared for publication by Norman Solomon under the supervision of Nancy Ackerman, Director of Publications.

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A Concept for a National Freight Data Program: Special Report 276 Contents     Highlights   1     Findings and Recommendations   3 1   The Need for Freight Transportation Data   21      Charge to the Committee,   23      Why Data Are Needed,   24      Examples and Case Histories,   25      Concluding Remarks,   34 2   Freight Transportation Data: Current Limitations and Need for a New Approach   36      Limitations of Current Data,   37      Need for a New Approach,   48 3   Concept for a National Freight Data Program   51      Rationale for Conceptual Plan,   54      Challenges in Implementation,   61      Next Steps,   74     Appendixes     A   A Freight Data Business Plan,   76 B   Review of Freight Survey Collection Techniques,   88

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A Concept for a National Freight Data Program: Special Report 276 C   Committee Meetings and Other Activities   97 D   A Framework for the Development of National Freight Data: Dissenting Statement of Kenneth D. Boyer   100     Study Committee Biographical Information   110