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Introduction Background Over the last decade, the incorporation of freight issues into the policy, planning, and pro- gramming activities of state departments of transportation (DOTs) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) has received significant focus from federal transportation agencies, busi- ness and industry leaders, and the U.S. Congress. This public policy focus on including freight in the statewide and metropolitan transportation planning process has been driven by several factors including Federal surface transportation legislation, beginning with the Intermodal Surface Transporta- tion Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991, which first emphasized freight as a factor to consider in the transportation planning process. The importance of freight planning was further empha- sized in the Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century (TEA-21) and again with the pas- sage of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU); Recognition by business and community leaders that efficient freight transportation is a key factor in statewide and metropolitan economic competitiveness and vitality and an important consideration in business attraction and retention decisions; Continued globalization and an increasing reliance on international trade, which has height- ened the importance of a safe, reliable, and secure transportation system and placed increased pressure on an already-strained infrastructure; and Acknowledgment from private industry that public investments will be considered and in many cases required to meet increasing freight demands. These motivators for addressing freight within transportation policy, planning, and program- ming activities continue to evolve and grow in importance, challenging states and MPOs to develop the expertise and allocate the necessary resources to effectively manage the overall trans- portation system. As states and MPOs begin or continue to address freight within their transportation planning programs, they face a new set of issues and opportunities. Freight traffic by most any measure is growing faster than passenger travel. In addition, freight is highly intermodal and cannot be addressed in neat modal pieces because it often crosses over modal boundaries. Also, meshing the time cycles of public sector planning with the time cycles of the business community has proven to be a challenge. Expectations are quite different: public sector officials are used to deal- ing with long lead times and high degrees of uncertainty. These are an anathema to the business community, which operates primarily in the short term. As a result business leaders are often reluctant to get involved in the public sector transportation planning and programming processes. While these challenges are faced by state DOTs and MPOs of all sizes, they are partic- ularly daunting to small- or medium-sized MPOs, which may not have the staff, financial, or 1