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8 Scope synthesis, and presents various definitions for terms that are used in the text. The Project Panel has defined the scope of this synthesis by the following points: Chapter two discusses the method for the literature review and for the surveys, as well as the assumptions for conduct- The emphasis is on the road-based movement of freight; ing the literature review, the survey, and the interviews. This that is, surveys of truck freight. However, it is important chapter is not intended to be a detailed discussion, but rather to note that data for other freight modes (rail, air, water, to ensure that the reader understands how the information intermodal, and pipeline) also are taken into account in was gathered and any caveats or comments that may be asso- the survey of practitioners (see the next section, Study ciated with the information. Process) for purposes of completeness of coverage. The synthesis examines both urban and inter-urban Chapter three summarizes the state of the practice in surveys. transportation survey methods, as derived from a survey of The focus is on U.S. state and regional agencies, but the practitioners that was conducted for this work. This chapter synthesis also includes select national agencies, port documents and synthesizes current practices used to collect authorities, and purveyors of commercial freight data. freight transportation data, characteristics, and important The synthesis focuses on U.S. practices, but also con- issues of each survey type. siders practices in other jurisdictions. The scope of freight survey techniques considered does Chapter four complements the practitioners' survey not include traffic counts. results with case studies from the literature. The chapter also The synthesis focuses on the most recent survey expe- includes a comparison of survey techniques. rience, in order to appropriately represent the prime objective of the state of the practice. However, where Chapter five concludes the work with a series of recom- appropriate, reference also is made to older surveys. mendations for future research in the area of freight trans- portation surveys, based on the practitioners' survey and the Study Process case studies. The synthesis focuses on the practice as opposed to academic or There are three supporting sections to the text: a list theoretical considerations; although the latter are noted if they of references, a bibliography of sources and a glossary of were relevant. The basis of the synthesis is information that was selected terms. Finally, two appendixes complement the gathered in two ways: a review of the literature and a web-based synthesis. Appendix A (a web-only section of this report) survey of state departments of transportation (DOTs), selected contains a copy of the web-based survey questionnaire with metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), and selected a complete tabulation of the survey results. Appendix B lists national agencies, port and airport authorities, and commercial the organizations that responded to the survey. purveyors of freight data. Thus the synthesis primarily consid- ered the practices of state and regional planning agencies, but also considered other significant participants in U.S. freight AUDIENCES data collection activities. It also assembles opinions and inter- pretations as well as factual information. Case study examples This synthesis is intended to serve as a resource primarily to are used to illustrate the different approaches and best practices: state DOTs and MPOs that have some or all of the following these are drawn from the survey and from the literature. freight data collection activities: Finally, it is important to note that this synthesis focuses Freight transportation data are required to provide on the technical aspects of the state of the practice in freight input for transportation operations and transportation transportation surveys. It is not intended to be judgmental planning and investment decisions. with respect to the policies of individual organizations or Freight transportation data collection initiatives are how these organizations have used the resultant freight trans- administered, either internally or externally by a portation data. Nor is the synthesis intended to advocate par- consultant. ticular policies or practices; rather, it attempts to present an Freight data are purchased from commercial sources. unbiased and accurate summary of the state of the practice. Many national government agencies are involved with conducting various freight data surveys, such as the country- ORGANIZATION wide Commodity Flow Survey. These sources of data and their uses also are considered. This synthesis is organized into four chapters. The remain- der of chapter one identifies the intended audiences for the