Click for next page ( 161


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 160
Identifying Freight Resources 5-87 Large MPO Freight Planning Case Studies Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Oakland, California New York Metropolitan Transportation Commission Delaware Valley Regional Planning Council, Philadelphia East-West Gateway Coordinating Council, St. Louis Puget Sound Regional Council, Seattle

OCR for page 160
5-88 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas Large MPO Case Study Metropolitan Transportation Commission Oakland, California Key Lessons: Incorporating freight into the planning process and RTP. MPO Overview The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is the MPO for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area (Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Marin, Contra Costa, Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo, and San Francisco). According to estimates by the California Department of Finance, the region's population in 2004 was 7 million. The region is highly urbanized with the three largest cities being San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland. Despite the efforts of a vibrant Smart Growth program, the region continues to experience outward expansion of population into the Bay Plain region and the Outer Ring suburban community. Economic integration with the Northern San Joaquin Valley is also evident, both in terms of commute shed and regional warehouse and dis- tribution activity. Between 1990 and 2004, regional population grew by 16.9 percent. According to the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), regional employment was 3.8 million, up 17.1 percent from 1990. The largest percentage growth over the decade was in the construction trades and the government and services sector. Agriculture and wholesale trade employment declined during this period. Between 2000 and 2004, total employment in the region declined, reflecting economic dislocations in the high-technology sectors that dominate Silicon Valley in the South Bay. The 2004 Regional Goods Movement study provides some perspective on the significance of freight to the regional economy. More than 37 percent of Bay Area economic output is in man- ufacturing, freight transportation, and warehouse and distribution businesses. Collectively, these goods movement-dependent businesses spend approximately $6.6 billion on transportation services. The businesses providing these services also play a critical role as generators of jobs and economic activity in their own right. Bay Area goods movement businesses provided at least 5.9 percent of the region's employment in 1997. Since these estimates do not include employ- ment in private warehouses, it is likely that goods movement businesses provide almost twice as much employment as indicated in these figures. In addition, the types of jobs provided are crit- ical at a time when other opportunities in manufacturing are declining. More than 80 percent of the goods movement in the Bay Area involves trucking in several major corridors: I-880, U.S. 101, I-580, and I-80. Other highway corridors play supporting roles to these major goods movement corridors. The I-880 corridor has the highest volume of truck traffic in the region and among the highest of any highway in the state. Serving the Port of Oakland, Oakland International Airport, and the Oakland Intermodal Gateway Terminal (the Joint Intermodal Ter- minal) as well as a major concentration of industrial and warehouse land uses, I-880 serves as both an access route for major interregional and international shippers and a primary intraregional goods movement corridor. The I-580 corridor is the primary connection between the Bay Area and the national interstate truck network. A substantial share of Bay Area domestic trade is with South- ern California, the San Joaquin Valley, and other West Coast destinations, and most of this trade uses I-580 as a connector. This corridor has the second highest volume of truck traffic in the region, most of it long-haul in nature and involving the heaviest trucks. Increasingly, regional distribution centers have located in the San Joaquin Valley and trucks providing goods to the Bay Area use this corridor for access. I-80 has the third highest truck volume in the region, serving primarily as a con- nector to the transcontinental truck network. The U.S. 101 corridor acts as a gateway corridor in the southern end of the region with modest truck volume between Salinas and San Jose. Truck vol- ume increases substantially from San Jose to San Francisco, where the corridor serves as a primary access route to San Francisco International Airport and intraregional goods movement.

OCR for page 160
Identifying Freight Resources 5-89 After trucking, rail carries the next largest fraction of Bay Area goods. The region is served by two Class I carriers, BNSF and UP. Oakland is the center of the Bay Area rail network and the most significant elements are located in the East Bay and along the Suisun Bay network (north and south). Major intermodal terminals are in Richmond and Oakland. Oil refineries and auto terminals along the Suisun Bay network also generate substantial rail traffic. The UP line to Roseville and the BNSF line to Stockton are the two major rail routes in the Bay Area. While the Bay Area has a number of public port facilities, the largest is the Port of Oakland. Bay Area maritime cargo includes containerized cargo at Oakland and San Francisco; bulk car- goes at San Francisco, Richmond, Redwood City, and Benecia; and crude petroleum products, raw sugar, and bay sand handled at private terminals. Unlike the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, export cargo volumes at Oakland exceed import cargo volumes. Containerized cargo at the Port of Oakland accounts for the largest share of tonnage and value. There are three major commercial airports in the Bay Area that handle air cargo: San Fran- cisco International Airport (SFO), Metropolitan Oakland International Airport (OAK), and San Jose International Airport (SJC). SFO handles the largest volume of cargo (approximately 50 per- cent of the regional total) and is the principal airport for international cargo. OAK is the next largest shipper of air cargo and handles a substantial amount of domestic freight. Air cargo is the fastest growing segment of the Bay Area goods movement system. Air cargo volume is forecast to triple between 1998 and 2020 with 125 percent increase in all-cargo flights. MTC does not have a regional freight model, but it does include trucks in its regional travel demand model. In the 1980s, as part of a study of the I-880 corridor, a consulting firm devel- oped a truck travel demand model based on a survey of truck owners. The data from this study and trip generation data from the Maricopa Association of Governments study (the basis for the Quick Response Freight Manual [QRFM]) were used to develop the truck trip generation com- ponent of the regional model, and the QRFM was used for developing friction factors for the truck trip distribution model. The model results have been validated effectively using Caltrans truck counts for state highways in the region. MTC currently does not have a FAC. It does have an advisory council that includes business and labor representatives who tend to be the most active advocates for goods movement inter- ests in the transportation planning process. Incorporating Freight into Core Planning Functions In the early years after the passage of ISTEA, MTC was one of the nationally recognized MPOs dealing with freight issues. A staff member was designated to take leadership on freight issues and the MPO investigated the development of freight performance measures as part of the plan- ning process. An early success on the project side was the development of the Joint Intermodal Terminal to provide improved rail access to the Port of Oakland. In part due to encouragement by Caltrans, MTC also joined many of the other MPOs in California in the formation of a FAC. The FAC continued to meet into the 20002001 timeframe when it was abandoned primarily due to lack of participation by the private sector. Major freight issues in the Bay Area during the 1990s revolved around the Port of Oakland and the I-880 corridor, which has the highest volume of truck traffic in the region. With increas- ing waterfront development (particularly in the Jack London Square area immediately adjacent to the Port of Oakland), there was growing conflict between port uses and residential and com- mercial uses. During this period, a number of proposals for use of the recently closed Oakland Army Base included goods movement-oriented uses that would directly support the Port. How- ever, most of these proposals were controversial and none moved to development. By 2000, MTC's involvement in goods movement planning was beginning to decline. Most of the attention on freight issues in the state seemed focused on Southern California and the MPO

OCR for page 160
5-90 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas seemed to be losing interest in the issues. However, during the outreach program before the adoption of the 2001 RTP update, several business groups came forward to complain about a lack of attention being given to goods movement issues. There was a sense that the regional trans- portation investment strategy was not balanced, with little attention paid to goods movement needs and substantial expenditures on transit, bike, and pedestrian projects. MTC committed to taking a more active role in developing a goods movement element of the RTP. Before its 2004 update, MTC had not had a goods movement element in its LRP. MTC began pursuing funding to conduct a regional goods movement study to develop the database needed to assess existing and future conditions and to evaluate strategic investment opportunities. Ultimately, state plan- ning and research (SPR) funding was made available from Caltrans on the recommendation of the Caltrans Goods Movement Office. At about the same time things began heating up again around the Port of Oakland. Several key issues had emerged that were of interest to the Port and its stakeholders. The first was continu- ing land-use pressures on port-oriented businesses and other manufacturing operations in West Oakland. A combination of redevelopment activities favoring higher value uses, rising rents and land costs, and community opposition and parking/operational restrictions were forcing many businesses in the area to relocate. The Port and local stakeholders were hoping for some special designations and preservation of these uses as part of a rezoning process that was underway. The Port commissioned its own study of port services location factors to identify the specific types of port-related businesses that needed to be located adjacent to the Port and to take steps to ensure that there was sufficient industrial land preserved for these uses. One plan promoted by local port-oriented businesses would have provided for these uses as part of the Oakland Army Base redevelopment plans. But other interests in the city were hoping for the development of big box retail and other nonport commercial uses. The Port also was promoting the development of a short-haul rail intermodal service between the Central Valley of California and the Port. The objective was to provide options for central valley shippers, reduce congestion around the Port, and provide for an inland location where port-oriented uses that did not require land immediately adjacent to the Port could locate. The short-haul service has not proven to be a commercially feasible option for the railroads given current levels of congestion and the Port of Oakland was hoping to gain some public support based on the potential public benefits of the project. Caltrans provided some money to study the viability of the concept but there was little interest from local programming agencies (in Cali- fornia, most transportation project programming occurs at the county level). In general, the Port was frustrated by the difficulty it was having getting its access projects selected in the standard programming process. They argued that a regionally significant freight facility such as the Port should receive special consideration at the regional level. When MTC was putting plans together for a regional goods movement study, the Port of Oakland decided this would be a good oppor- tunity to develop policy and project priorities for regionally significant freight programs. The Port was willing to commit funds to the study. A third partner in the goods movement study was the Economic Development Alliance for Business (EDAB), a nonprofit economic development organization in the East Bay, supported in part by Alameda County. Alameda County is home to the Port of Oakland, the OAK, the Joint Intermodal Terminal, the two freeways with highest truck volumes (I-880 and I-580), and the largest concentration of manufacturing and warehouse space in the region. EDAB members in Alameda County included a number of goods movement-oriented businesses who were faced with the land-use and regulatory pressures described previously. EDAB also was concerned about the flight of manufacturing jobs from the region and the decline in job diversity. Ware- house, trucking, and logistics jobs represent a viable replacement for the lost manufacturing jobs, but the greatest job growth in these sectors is in adjacent San Joaquin County. EDAB had

OCR for page 160
Identifying Freight Resources 5-91 planned to fund its own industry cluster analysis looking at the economic contributions of goods movement to the East Bay and decided to pool its resources with the regional goods movement study. EDAB also arranged for strong participation by the Bay Area Council, a nonprofit busi- ness group in the region and one of the organizations putting pressure on MTC to consider goods movement issues in the RTP. After the study was initiated, the Bay Area Air Quality Man- agement District also agreed to provide funding. With this team in place, MTC hired a consultant to conduct the regional goods movement study. The objectives of the study included the following: Developing a regional goods movement investment strategy for the RTP; Characterizing the issues and providing a better understanding of the economic significance of goods movement in the region to better educate decision-makers; and Developing a common platform for Bay Area stakeholders to promote during federal reautho- rization discussions. Defining the Issues A key element of the goods movement study was to define issues that would resonate with stakeholders so that they would stay the course in what is likely to be a long process of bringing goods movement to a higher level of visibility in the regional transportation discussion. The fol- lowing issues emerged early in the study: Land Use. A big question that needed to be addressed in the goods movement study was how to deal with the land-use pressures that were driving goods movement business out of the region. The goods movement study was not able to prove that this trend had negative impli- cations for the region but it did provide an opportunity to examine regional land-use priori- ties and how they affected goods movement. The region has a strong Smart Growth institution that has been promoting higher density residential and commercial uses in the central Bay Area. The goods movement study spawned a discussion about how goods movement fits in this strategy. Higher density in the urban core means increases in the pressure to upgrade exist- ing industrial and warehouse land uses and this will contribute to the geographic dispersion of these businesses. This could lead to more truck VMT, more congestion on key interregional corridors, higher costs of goods delivery to the major population centers, and potentially greater truck emissions. The goods movement study was the first real opportunity to raise the issue concerning the role of industrial land preservation as part of the regional Smart Growth discussions. Access to International Gateways. At the beginning of the study, a number of stakeholders believed that the trade gateways were responsible for most of the goods movement activity in the region. The goods movement study showed this not to be the case. However, the goods movement study did clarify the importance of the international gateways to the regional econ- omy and identified some of the critical access issues and potential projects. Major Investment Priorities. Some of the region's stakeholders were concerned that South- ern California was attracting all the attention with regard to freight issues. The visibility of the Alameda Corridor and a number of other projects being promoted by Southern California stakeholders had the Bay Area stakeholders concerned that they were fighting an uphill battle to secure state and federal attention. These stakeholders were looking to identify some major projects that could provide a focus for lobbying efforts. Approach for Incorporating Freight into the Regional Transportation Plan The regional goods movement study was conducted in two phases. The first phase involved data gathering and reconnaissance. This provided the information necessary to define issues and describe them effectively to stakeholders and decision-makers. The second phase focused on

OCR for page 160
5-92 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas refining the description of key goods movement issues and developing strategies for dealing with these issues. Ultimately, the focus in the second phase was on how to incorporate results of the goods movement study in the RTP. Because the RTP update was being developed at the same time that the second phase of the goods movement study was being conducted, it provided an important target for the goods movement study and shaped the products and the interactions between the study team, MTC staff, the county congestion management agencies (the pro- gramming agencies), MTC advisory committees, and stakeholders. In the area of project selection, there were several steps in the MTC process. To satisfy federal requirements for a fiscally constrained plan, MTC identifies a set of Tier I projects for which existing funding sources must be identified. MTC suballocates its funding to the county agen- cies and these agencies submit projects to be included in the RTP. MTC then reviews the sub- mitted projects to ensure that they are consistent with the regional plan objectives and guidelines as established by the commissioners. State law also requires the MPO to conduct performance evaluations of the projects included in the plan to show how they contribute to the regional plan objectives. The way this process works in practice is that the county congestion management agencies (CMA) submit a list of proposed projects to MTC and MTC evaluates these projects against a set of performance measures. The results of the performance evaluations are then given back to the CMAs to consider as part of their final selection of projects to be incorporated in the fiscally constrained plan (subject to MTC approval). One of the criteria in the performance evaluations was the extent to which the project provided improved access to ports, airports, or intermodal facilities. During the project evaluation process, the goods movement study team sought to broaden the criteria. Proposed projects were evaluated to the extent that they were in a critical goods movement corridor (as defined by the study team during Phase I of the study), the extent to which they address a goods movement problem or issue in the corridor, and a judgment of the extent to which the project might contribute to solving the goods movement problem. Any data that the project proponents provided that could be used to evaluate potential goods move- ment benefits (such as reduction in truck VMT, reduction in truck delay, etc.) was used in the assessment. At the time that the goods movement study team became involved in the RTP proj- ect selection process, the CMAs already had submitted their initial list of candidate projects. In most cases, these projects were identified through a CMA call for projects which was open to public and private agencies. Most of these projects had been submitted to address nongoods movement issues. The goods movement study team reasoned that an incremental step toward getting greater attention paid to goods movement issues would be to identify projects submit- ted for other reasons and to show how goods movement benefits could be used to raise the pri- ority of a project that had other value. Once the "goods movement beneficial" projects were identified from the CMA lists, the study team met with the CMA directors to discuss the likeli- hood that these projects would make it into the fiscally constrained plan and to begin to raise the goods movement arguments for these projects. For the most part, this incremental approach was successful in getting the CMAs to think more about goods movement as an integral part of the project selection process. It also helped that two of the East Bay CMA directors had participated in a focus group of public sector officials to discuss goods movement issues. A second approach used to integrate goods movement into the RTP process was in the devel- opment of projects for the Interregional Transportation Improvement Program (ITIP). Cali- fornia state transportation funding, like its federal counterpart, has devolved most project selection and programming activities to lower levels of governments. Regional Transportation Planning Agencies (RTPAs) exist in every county and program state funds. However, a fraction of the state's transportation project expenditures are taken off the top of the state transportation budget to be programmed by Caltrans for projects that improve interregional mobility. Each MPO or RTPA recommends projects and criteria for inclusion of projects in the ITIP. During the 2004 RTP

OCR for page 160
Identifying Freight Resources 5-93 update effort, MTC proposed to the CMAs in the region that they recommend goods movement projects for inclusion in the ITIP. The goods movement study team then identified projects in interregional corridors or international gateways that were appropriate for inclusion in the ITIP based on this criterion. A third approach used to integrate goods movement into the RTP process is the development of a new set of projects that addressed regional goods movement needs for inclusion in the "Big Tent." Big Tent projects are those projects that are important to the region's transportation sys- tem but for which no immediate source of funding is available. In this RTP update, Big Tent proj- ects were identified with the assumption that a variety of new revenue sources might be available over the next several years (either through new programs in reauthorization, local sales tax mea- sures, or other user-based revenue sources). By putting the projects in the plan in anticipation of these funding sources, MTC was making a statement of regional transportation priorities. The goods movement study team did a more intensive evaluation of potential projects that could address the critical goods movement issues identified in Phase I of the study. These projects are being included in the RTP as part of the Big Tent. A final approach used to integrate goods movement into the RTP process was through the regional transportation and land-use platform, a statement of policy on Smart Growth issues intended to guide certain investment decisions by MTC. MTC already has several programs that provide planning grants and financial incentives to cities that are willing to promote transit-oriented development and other forms of development that further the region's Smart Growth objectives. The transportation and land-use platform guides the development of new programs and poli- cies that are supportive of Smart Growth. Several of the goods movement stakeholders made a strong push to include guiding principles and implementation strategies for the encouragement of goods movement supportive land-use strategies as part of the transportation and land-use platform. This met with mixed reactions from the transportation and land-use advisory com- mittees who tended to see land-use issues from a different perspective. While there was much debate about some of the premises under which it would be appropriate to incorporate indus- trial land preservation in the Smart Growth program, the goods movement stakeholders were successful in getting some language regarding the goods movement land-use issue in the plat- form that will be included in the RTP. In addition, staff at MTC is interested in holding further discussions about what role MTC should play in encouraging industrial preservation as part of the Smart Growth program. There are other possible outcomes of the RTP process that bode well for long-term integra- tion of goods movement into the planning process. MTC is considering reviving the FAC. With the projects and policies identified in the goods movement study, the FAC would have a clear near- to mid-term agenda of actions to pursue, which might make it more successful. In addi- tion, business stakeholders have become involved in the process through the goods movement study and there is a basis for identifying potential participants in the FAC. MTC also has recog- nized the need to build greater freight modeling capability into the regional travel demand model. Several specific suggestions have been advanced and are being considered when funding becomes available. Success Factors and Applications for Small- and Mid-Sized MPOs The success of the MTC program remains to be seen. If the efforts initiated in the 2004 RTP update can be sustained, the factors contributing to success are Stakeholders drive the agenda. MTC would probably have dropped consideration of goods movement issues altogether were it not for strong interest from segments of the business com- munity. Clearly the economic development implications of goods movement have been at the forefront of this interest. The timing of the 2001 RTP update at the beginning of a recession

OCR for page 160
5-94 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas that has had serious implications for the Bay Area economy certainly raised the profile of goods movement issues. This is not something that an MPO can orchestrate. However, regu- lar scanning of the business community for goods movement issues is a good way of making sure you are prepared when these issues do arise. State funding for data gathering and issues reconnaissance. The Caltrans SPR funding was very useful to MTC in the development of a study that gathered data and worked with stake- holders to define issues and develop project concepts. Framing freight issues in the context of local transportation issues. The connection between goods movement and land use, while controversial, receives a lot of attention in the Bay Area. This approach to tying goods movement issues to other transportation issues can be an effec- tive strategy. Incremental approach to project selection and programming. While from a classical plan- ning perspective it may make more sense to do a thorough needs assessment and then develop projects based on this needs assessment, the approach of looking at projects that already are being proposed and looking for a goods movement "angle" has the advantage of bringing local decision-makers into thinking about goods movement gradually. It also creates coalitions between goods movement stakeholders and other stakeholders and allows them to see com- mon interests more clearly.

OCR for page 160
Identifying Freight Resources 5-95 Large MPO Case Study New York Metropolitan Transportation Commission Key Lessons: Development of a regional freight plan. MPO Overview Planning in greater New York City is marked by its scale: large population, large buildings, large infrastructure, and large challenges. The New York Metropolitan Transportation Commission (NYMTC) is the designated MPO for a portion of the metropolitan area. The NYMTC addresses the challenges of congestion, programming of infrastructure and operations improvements, and planning for safer, more efficient, and environmentally sensitive freight movement throughout the region. For planners, size is not necessarily an advantage; New York's expansiveness can make the transportation system's problems seem more confounding and intractable. New York City had a population of just more than 8 million in 2003 and a metropolitan pop- ulation well above 20 million, ranking it among the largest cities in the world. NYMTC oversees transportation planning activities for a 10-county portion of the metropolitan area including the City of New York (five boroughs); Nassau and Suffolk Counties to the east (all of Long Island); and Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester Counties to the north. With a population of 12.2 mil- lion in 2003, this area grew by 10 percent since 1990 and is expected to grow by an additional 5 percent (to 12.9 million) by 2025. Employment in the region, concentrated in Manhattan, grew by almost 9 percent between 1990 and 2000 to 6.4 million jobs. NYMTC projects 11 percent growth to more than 7 million jobs by 2025. It is important to note that NYMTC does not include any portions of northern New Jersey or southwestern Connecticut, both parts of the New York City urban agglomeration. New York is the largest consumer market in the country, meaning more goods flow into New York as a final destination than any other city. New York also produces goods for export to other countries and regions and serves as a port of entry for foreign goods. The Port of New York/New Jersey is the third largest by volume in the country. A highly complex, congested network of interstate highways, parkways, and railways crisscrosses the region, serving as the conduits for freight traffic originating in, destined for, and passing through New York. In addition, the region is served by two major cargo airports (Newark and Kennedy), dozens of rail termini and inter- modal facilities, and some 60 NHS intermodal connectors. It is not uncommon to attribute New York's unique freight situation, its wealth, and grandeur, to the fact that "the world trades there." Congestion is part of the daily life of New York, not only for passenger travelers, but also for freight. Many of the region's most attractive truck routes experience "chronic" congestion, includ- ing Major Deegan Expressway (I-87) and Cross Bronx Expressway (I-95). Similarly, freight trav- eling by rail experiences delays because of shared routes with passenger trains and, in some cases, shared operators. Aside from congestion, the region also grapples with air quality concerns, exac- erbated by the fact that trucks carry more than 80 percent of all freight in the region. Successful implementation of freight planning is a long-term and complex task in New York. The institutional intricacies alone represent high hurdles. Coordinating transportation goals and activities between the MTA, Port Authority, NYSDOT, the City of New York, and many other entities is difficult but not insurmountable. On top of that, understanding the physical com- plexity, the sheer vastness of the city, and its network of flows requires a thoughtful, rigorous, and comprehensive analysis. In 1999, NYMTC began developing its regional freight plan, a multiyear project to assess the region's freight infrastructure conditions, predict goods flows, identify key areas for concern, and select alternative improvement options for priority consideration. If adopted, projects from

OCR for page 160
5-96 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas the freight plan would be considered for insertion into the TIP, STIP, and various other avail- able implementation and funding programs channeled through the MPO. Because of institu- tional complexities and divergent freight goals among stakeholders, however, the freight plan was not adopted by the NYMTC board. Nonetheless, the experience of developing a regional freight plan in New York affords some important lessons and a dose of optimism for the useful- ness of freight plans in the context of smaller, less complex regions. Freight Planning Activities Like other MPOs, New York incorporates freight-related projects into its TIPs and considers freight in the LRP. Beyond that, NYMTC continues to seek involvement and input from indus- try. One manifestation of this outreach effort is the Freight Transportation Working Group (FTWG), a body consisting of freight providers and receivers, business associations, and com- munity stakeholders. Approved by the policy board of NYMTC, FTWG's role is to bring freight issues into the fold of metropolitan planning. FTWG meets monthly and was responsible for the proposal to develop a regional freight plan in 1999. Later, throughout the drafting of the plan, the group acted as an intermediary, identifying and inviting select, important stakeholders from the freight commu- nity to participate in the development of the regional freight profile. NYMTC also conducts small-scale, special purpose studies. For instance, a report completed in 2003 assessed the availability of land for development of intermodal facilities. An earlier tech- nology scan identified the "most significant existing and emerging technologies which affect or could affect freight transportation" in the region. NYMTC occasionally carries out other related technical and policy studies. Development of the Regional Freight Plan The most rigorous recent undertaking related to freight within NYMTC was the regional freight plan, a study that took 5 years to complete. Despite the institutional difficulties encountered in its development, the process and outcome illustrate important lessons in freight planning. In 1999, the FTWG proposed and the NYMTC board approved the development of a regional freight plan. The plan, in part a response to TEA-21 and in part a fulfillment of goals expressed in the LRTP, was to examine freight conditions, needs, and opportunities for improvement in the NYMTC region. The regional freight plan included a number of components: Internal and external scan. A description of freight studies undertaken in the New York area by a number of agencies, companies, and organizations in the past century and an external study of best practices in freight planning throughout the nation. Inventory. A description of existing freight facilities, markets, and projected future demand. Assessment of needs. Performance measures, needs, and deficiencies for all modes; analyses of economic development, environmental impacts, and forecasted commodity flow growth. Improvements and solutions. A list of proposed infrastructure, operations, and policy improvement alternatives to address specific and general needs and deficiencies for economic development and for all modes: highway (truck), rail, maritime, and airport. Feasibility analysis of alternatives. An in-depth quantitative and qualitative analysis of the fea- sibility of three packages of alternatives: policy, highway, and rail. The packages contained 16, 8, and 3 projects, respectively. Impacts analyzed included transportation, environmental, economic development, regional connectivity, technology, physical feasibility, and institutional feasibility. Development of an implementation program. Recommendations for specific projects, poli- cies, and general strategies for the freight system of New York based on the cumulative studies already completed.

OCR for page 160
Identifying Freight Resources 5-97 Implementation of the recommended, high-priority projects and policies from the last task was to occur through the various responsible agencies of the New York region, including the Port Authority, NYSDOT, and others. First, though, to receive funding, the priority projects were to be considered for inclusion in the regional and statewide TIPs and other funding programs. However, because the final task was not adopted by the board, the identified programs and proj- ects are unlikely to receive funding or even much further consideration, at least in the near term. The board's failure to adopt the freight plan reflects several of the shortcomings of the met- ropolitan planning process that are specific to New York. Large public agencies present consid- erable institutional barriers to the planners at NYMTC. Such barriers, coupled with passive indifference from the freight industry, which views the long-term planning process with detach- ment because of more immediate and vital industry concerns, conspire to overwhelm the poten- tial effectiveness of a long-term document like the regional freight plan. Success Factors and Applications for Small- and Mid-Sized MPOs Although the New York freight plan's recommendations have not progressed to an imple- mentation phase, which may seem discouraging, the regional freight plan completed in New York does provide lessons for the freight planning process in other places. NYMTC's motivation for performing a freight plan was a response to the sense that the region is choked by chronic congestion and increasing air quality woes. The short-term planning hori- zons within the freight industry are incapable of dealing with such long-term problems as in- adequate capacity, environmental problems, and economic losses due to lower productivity (resulting from suboptimal logistics operations). On the other hand, the mission of an MPO is precisely to address those types of long-term issues. In spite of New York's difficulties in imple- menting its freight plan, other regions should still consider the freight plan as a valuable tool in setting long-term policy, particularly if the MPO wields enough clout within the region to influ- ence the policies and actions of other agencies. A common drawback for many regions is that the long-term horizon of a freight plan may seem unreasonable. As such, shorter-term projects and plans, in line with those pursued by such large MPOs as the DVRPC, at times may represent an equally or more constructive path for freight planners. MPOs can center their efforts on more narrow, small-scale, local goals and proj- ects. Shorter-term goals carry higher hopes of success and, therefore, engender feelings of accom- plishment among planners and within the freight industry. A long-term, visionary document for freight helps to fulfill statutory planning requirements, but successfully touting its usefulness to industry and successfully implementing its stated goals requires the kind of coordination among stakeholders that an ongoing, short-term focus makes easier to achieve. And without support for implementation, the freight plan risks becoming a missed opportunity.

OCR for page 160
5-98 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas Large MPO Case Study Delaware Valley Regional Planning Council Philadelphia Key Lessons: Engaging the private sector to implement freight improvements. MPO Overview A successful metropolitan freight planning program requires private sector involvement. However, private sector participants often perceive the public sector process for developing, approving, and implementing transportation improvements as slow and inflexible, which hin- ders their full participation. Having private sector participants devote a significant amount of time before realizing tangible benefits exacerbates the problem. To combat these issues, a num- ber of MPOs (including the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Council [DVRPC]) engage the private sector with quick turnaround or quick-fix projects that, through swift review and imple- mentation, avoid the pitfalls often encountered by more complex (and expensive) freight improve- ments. These quick-fix projects can provide immediate benefits to the freight community on a time scale more suitable for industry while simultaneously encouraging industry participation in longer-term freight planning efforts. The DVRPC is the MPO for the greater Philadelphia area. It handles transportation planning activities for the nation's sixth largest metropolitan area, including five counties in Pennsylva- nia and four in New Jersey. In 2003, the Census Bureau estimated a population of nearly 5.5 mil- lion for the nine counties, representing a growth rate of 5 percent since 1990. DVRPC projects 9 percent population growth to 6.0 million people and 3 percent employment growth to 3.2 mil- lion jobs by 2025. The shift to service industries stands out in Philadelphia, where services now account for half of all jobs. Manufacturing, on the other hand, has declined from nearly 30 per- cent in 1970 to about 12 percent today of total employment. The Delaware Valley region has a number of critical freight routes and connectors, including three Class 1 railroad providers, 12 short-lines, 10 NHS freight intermodal connectors, several transload facilities and intermodal rail terminals, a large freshwater port, Philadelphia Interna- tional Airport, and six interstate highways, including Interstate 95. Ports in Philadelphia and western New Jersey handle more than 60 million tons of freight annually; much of it is bulk cargo such as crude oil and signature cargo such as cocoa beans, steel slabs, and high-grade paper, mak- ing it second in tonnage in the Northeast only to New York and New Jersey. To meet the transportation needs of its expansive freight enterprise, DVRPC emphasizes freight in its planning activities, but also engages the private sector in short-term, quick-fix proj- ects to bolster its relationships with the freight industry. Perhaps even more important than the projects themselves, however, are DVRPC's general advocacy for freight both inside and outside of the MPO, its responsiveness to freight issues, and its customer service orientation with respect to freight interests in the region. Freight Planning Activities DVRPC's Urban Goods (freight) program derives much of its strength from the Delaware Val- ley Goods Movement Task Force, an advisory committee for freight policy and planning issues. Membership on the task force is "open to all freight interests," including railroads, ports, truck- ers, air cargo carriers, third-party logistics companies, and agencies at all levels of government. While the actual composition of the board is half public, half private, chairs for the three pri- mary subcommittees (data, planning, and shippers) all represent the private sector. The task force meets quarterly and hears presentations from academics, industry representatives, leaders in the freight planning field, and its own members. It provides formal links between private sec-

OCR for page 160
Identifying Freight Resources 5-99 tor freight providers, DVRPC, and other governmental agencies. Since its formation in 1993, the committee has not only increased freight input into long-range planning and TIP selection processes, but also coordinated with DVRPC for delivery of quick services to industry while suc- cessfully advocating freight issues in general. One manager attributes success to a mutually ben- eficial, service-oriented mission of outreach to shippers and carriers: DVRPC provides the freight community with up-to-date MPO activities of interest to the industry, and the freight industry regularly communicates its needs and concerns to DVRPC. DVRPC's current LRP, Vision 2025, includes a list of 12 projects consistent with freight goals. The plan identifies another 19 studies specifically aimed at the freight sector. Participation by the private sector through the task force allowed for consideration of freight projects in the TIP as well: "Since there is no special funding category for freight-related projects, the input of the com- mittee is central to assuring the advancement of eligible projects which facilitate the flow of goods and promote economic development." As a result, the region's most recent TIP includes several dozen projects identified by the freight task force. Five of 24 winning projects for the CMAQ (Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality) Improvement Program also were freight-specific, such as development of a transload facility and improvements to rail lines. Beyond traditional LRPs and improvement programs, DVRPC is currently undertaking a number of freight studies, including the Rail Weight Limit Study, Delaware County Highway-Railroad Grade Crossing Study, South Philadelphia Freight Complex Study, Southern New Jersey Port Inland Distribution Network Study, and South Jersey Intermodal Connectors Study. One manager points to the Freight Forward program as a small but important part of DVRPC's advocacy for freight in the Delaware Valley region. DVRPC cooperates with public sector agencies responsible for operating facilities and implementing improvements, including the PennDOT, NJDOT, Delaware River Port Authority, Pennsylvania Turnpike, New Jersey Turnpike, and others. As described in the following subsection, the program has not necessar- ily expanded from its original scope, but because of the growing cooperation between freight stakeholders and DVRPC around Freight Forward, it stands out as one among many comple- mentary programs that has brought and kept the freight industry "in the loop" with regard to MPO activities. Development of Freight-Specific Program--Freight Forward The Urban Goods program sees itself as an advocate for freight both within the MPO and throughout the Delaware Valley. Beyond encouraging participation in traditional planning activities, DVRPC's freight planning strategy is to develop strong relationships with freight industry constituents through the provision of tangible, short-term services. In return, the freight industry commits some of its resources to the planning process via participation with the Goods Movement Task Force. Alone, Freight Forward is but one small, tangible service; together with DVRPC's other efforts, Freight Forward is part of a broad, successful outreach program. Freight Forward is a cooperative improvement program between DVRPC, local agencies, and the freight industry. It encourages shippers, carriers, and other freight stakeholders to propose quick-fix projects by completing a short form and sending it to DVRPC via traditional mail, e-mail, or the DVRPC web site. Candidate quick-fix projects include Pothole repairs, Highway and railroad grade crossing resurfacing, Signage improvements, Truck turning radii improvements, Traffic signal timing adjustments, Pavement marking improvements, and Railroad siding improvements.

OCR for page 160
5-100 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas While large-scale improvements such as road widening require competitive consideration as part of a formally programmed TIP or another, similar process, DVRPC planners and engineers review Freight Forward's small improvement requests and forward them to the appropriate maintenance agencies for more immediate remediation. Typically, DVRPC receives about one request per month for an improvement. On occasion, public works crews already have scheduled the improvement for repair. In other cases, the requested improvement is quickly reviewed and, if appropriate, forwarded to implementing agencies for their attention. The status of the problem and potential improvement are then reported back to the original requester. Because the MPO does not have responsibility for small capital projects, this service is simply a courtesy provided to the freight industry at little cost to the MPO. Freight Forward remains just a small piece of DVRPC's efforts to serve the freight com- munity, but what began with patching pieces of pavement led to a more open information exchange roughly centered on DVRPC. Advocacy for freight by staff members within DVRPC is noteworthy. They have brought greater attention to the needs of and issues facing the freight community within the MPO. Sev- eral examples of advocacy, in a similar spirit as Freight Forward, but carried out concurrently, stand out: sending copies of the proposed and approved TIPs for feedback from members of the freight task force; inviting members of the freight industry, freight planning community, and academia to speak at task force meetings; submitting freight-specific stories to the monthly MPO newsletter; assisting with coordination of facility tours for visitors; nominating freight planners for MPO-wide awards; and preparing a standing presentation about freight in the region. Success Factors and Applications for Small- and Mid-Sized MPOs In Philadelphia, the relationship forged between the MPO and the private sector began with the identification of short-term, inexpensive, quick-fix projects and led to a strong relationship with industry that includes its involvement in the long-term planning process. Freight stake- holders now participate in the identification of strategic planning issues and help to guide a more appropriate and effective freight policy through planning. The ongoing presence of dedicated and competent MPO staff, combined with champions from the region's leaders has helped drive the continued success of DVRPC. This lesson can transfer directly to small MPOs that experi- ence difficulties with involvement from the freight sector. Numerous jurisdictions overlap even within small MPOs, from state highway departments to local public works agencies to privately owned rail corridors to the MPOs themselves. Potholes, tight turning radii, and inadequate signage or striping represent straightforward problems whose solutions may not be so obvious because of the numerous agencies charged with maintenance of the infrastructure. The MPO can serve as a clearinghouse for improvement requests. By sort- ing particularly onerous or commonly heard concerns, specifying the needed solution, and pass- ing the information to the appropriate implementing agency, the MPO establishes itself as a partner in promoting the interests of its customers in the freight industry. Developing such a program will, however, require the following at a minimum: Marketing the MPO as the first-stop resource for small-scale infrastructure needs, either as part of a larger program or through simple, direct outreach to freight stakeholders. DVRPC used the task force as its principal means for disseminating information about Freight Forward; Designating at least one staff member to receive and process requests from the public; Identifying implementing agencies within the MPO, their jurisdictions, and their capabilities (public works departments and state highway department districts, for example); and Developing relationships through the program and other contacts to stay informed of the issues facing the freight community.

OCR for page 160
Identifying Freight Resources 5-101 When surveyed, many MPOs identified the shortage of staff as a fundamental obstacle to com- pleting their missions, yet even for a large organization like DVRPC, the Freight Forward pro- gram requires a negligible amount of staff time. It is characterized as a "low-cost, high-benefit" program. Once implemented and marketed to the freight industry, developing relationships is the most critical step. If the purpose of the program is to engage and involve freight stakeholders for more long-term goals, then responsiveness to other short-term requests and maintaining awareness of freight needs are essential. In addition, the program must persist. Once freight stakeholders come to the table to contribute to the LRP, the MPO should continue providing incentives through short-term assistance. The relationship quickly becomes a symbiotic one. From DVRPC's example, small MPOs can see that a customer service orientation with regard to small, short-term projects can pay large, long-term dividends. Creative programs, not neces- sarily replicas of Freight Forward, provide incentives for freight industry shippers, carriers, and other stakeholders to develop relationships with the MPO. For small MPOs, that incentive may not be exactly the same as in Philadelphia, but the same principles apply: outreach, provision of incentives, encouragement to participate in long-range planning, and, finally, cultivation of a mutually beneficial relationship. For DVRPC, this relationship is maintained largely through the freight task force, an entity which small MPOs may have difficulty organizing. Nevertheless, other avenues for fostering relationships exist such as chambers of commerce, industry associations, and other direct contacts. In many small MPOs, relationships with these groups already exist. The lesson from DVRPC is that freight planning does not have to be exclusively technical or exclusively long term. DVRPC has aptly demonstrated that good freight planning may simply require advocacy, recognition of the importance of freight to a local economy, and a willingness to inquire about and address the immediate needs and concerns of the industry.

OCR for page 160
5-102 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas Large MPO Case Study East-West Gateway Coordinating Council St. Louis Key Lessons: Development of freight performance indicators. MPO Overview Goods movement has always been important in St. Louis, a city which was founded as a fur trading post. Even today, the region's strategic location provides it with trade advantages that few other cities can match. To a large extent, future growth and economic development stem from the ability of St. Louis to maintain its competitive trade advantage. The East-West Gate- way Coordinating Council (EWGCC) is the MPO for the St. Louis region. As part of the trans- portation planning process, the EWGCC gauges the performance of the region's freight infrastructure operations. Private sector engagement provided a key foundation for responsive freight planning. In addition, St. Louis freight planners benefited from the lessons learned from earlier efforts to incorporate performance measures into long-range transportation planning. St. Louis had a 2003 regional population of 2.5 million that is expected to grow to 2.7 million by 2025, and employment of 1.3 million is expected to exceed 1.5 million by 2025. St. Louis is also home to many large companies that rely on efficient goods movement: Boeing, Anheuser-Busch, Ford, and General Motors all have major facilities in the area. Six Class 1 railroads provide service in St. Louis, along with several regional and short-line railroads. These railroads also rely on a net- work of intermodal facilities and the four interstate highways that serve St. Louis. Additionally, city- owned Lambert International Airport offers air cargo facilities, numerous ports line the Mississippi River, and seven NHS intermodal connectors have been identified in the St. Louis region. EWGCC focuses part of its planning efforts on performance measures, including measures for its freight infrastructure and operations. EWGCC describes the development of the LRTP, Trans- portation Redefined, as follows: East-West Gateway planners follow a performance-based planning process centered around the transportation customer that evaluates needs and prioritizes transportation investments against six focus areas, including system preservation, safety, congestion, access to opportunity, sustainable development and the movement of goods. EWGCC comprises three counties in Illinois, four counties in Missouri, and the City of St. Louis. Although the fur trade is long gone, the St. Louis region still serves as a critical hub for the nation's goods movement network. Freight Planning Activities In the early 1990s, EWGCC established a FAC. Its 40-plus members include officials from all levels of government and freight representatives from the trucking, rail, air cargo, barge, ware- housing, and shipping industries. Figure 5.2 depicts an early conceptualization of the freight planning process, including the advisory committee's role. In recognition of the "profound" impact of goods movement on the local economy, EWGCC established a regional freight movement system called the Priority Goods Movement Network (PGMN). The network includes descriptions of all surface, air, maritime, and intermodal infra- structure as well as critical features of the distribution and manufacturing sectors. The PGMN represents the first step in a process of "identifying, analyzing, and programming the needs of the freight community." EWGCC cites several advantages to the development of the PGMN; for instance, it serves as a catalog of readily identifiable improvements for long-range planning and improvement programs. In addition, planners and industry representatives collaborate in help- ing to identify necessary components of the PGMN.

OCR for page 160
Identifying Freight Resources 5-103 Data Gathering/ Planning/ Review/ Implementation Monitoring Evaluation Refinement Annual Update Process Priority Goods Transportation Data Movement Network Initiative Areas Commercial Data Intermodal Freight Advisory Infrastructure Economic Data Management Institutional Committee Freight Directory Information Financial System EWGCC Staff Planning Freight Survey Technology Other EWGCC Outreach Management Systems Updated EWGCC Short- and Updated Annual Freight Report Card Board Long-Range TIP Plans Figure 5.2. Update of performance indicators for freight. The PGMN and other data collected from the freight industry make up the freight "report card." A report card allows for comparison of existing conditions (measures) to a set of prior agreed-upon performance indicators. Although development of performance indicators seems like an uncomplicated process, it actually entails a number of potential pitfalls. The experience of St. Louis provides lessons for MPOs or other organizations interested in developing per- formance indicators for application to freight. Development of Performance Indicators for Freight EWGCC has been innovative in developing performance indicators for all facets of the trans- portation planning process. Early attempts at defining indicators, however, encountered prob- lems for several reasons. First, as part of a Major Investment Study (MIS), indicators considered were not representative of the specific projects to which they were subsequently applied. Fur- thermore, data required for the indicators were unavailable, and the high number of indicators (about 50) was too large. A second attempt at using performance indicators tied to project selec- tion for the TIP proved inadequate for measuring progress toward overall transportation goals. Having learned from its previous efforts, EWGCC's third iteration was neither too ambitious nor too ambiguous; it was "just right." The third attempt developed performance indicators spe- cific to the freight system in St. Louis that coincided with important goals shared by the FAC. In addition, the number of indicators was manageable in size and could be measured with available or easily obtainable data. The refined list of indicators was divided into five summary categories, and the regional freight plan recommended their use in a regional TIP. The list of indicators follows: Connectivity/Congestion Safety Average speed on the St. Louis region's Number of at-grade railroad crossings in the roadway network. region or on the PGMN. Truck counts at several key locations on the Number of overpasses in the region (or on PGMN. the PGMN) that have vertical clearance restrictions.

OCR for page 160
5-104 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas Number of weight-restricted bridges in the Number of intermodal lifts that occur yearly region (or on the PGMN). at the local intermodal facilities. Intersections with inadequate turning radii for 53-foot trailers in the region (or on the Economic/Environmental PGMN). Value of freight moved from, to, and within High-accident locations on the PGMN as the region. well as total number of accidents. Number of people employed in five major Ramp geometry where sight distance to economic sectors in the region (e.g., trans- poor or sharp turns is required. port and manufacturing). Pavement life remaining on PGMN routes. Amount of warehouse space available in the region and current occupancy rate of the Reliability warehouse space. LOS below C on PGMN roadways. Number of projects and dollars expended on the PGMN. Intermodal Tons of air freight departing STL. Tons of cargo transported through the port. EWGCC carefully considered the constraints imposed by previous experience with perform- ance indicators. As a result, the refined list reflects a balance between the need for meaningful indicators that truly inform the process for programming improvements and the need for indi- cators that are easily measurable. Success Factors and Applications for Small- and Mid-Sized MPOs Because St. Louis has gone through several iterations of performance indicator development in its MPO activities, its lessons and insights are particularly informative. According to the NCHRP Report 446, the third iteration had much more success than previous attempts. Measurement of performance requires several distinct efforts on the part of an MPO of any size. First, the indicators require input from industry. Freight stakeholders work in the field everyday and their perspectives on the most important aspects of the goods movement sys- tem are essential. As a result, MPOs should consult with the shippers and carriers of their respective regions when developing performance indicators. Secondly, potential indicators are by themselves meaningless if they cannot be measured. They require data for measure- ment, so MPOs must be mindful of their capacity for data collection in drafting the indicators. Third, the process is dynamic. Over time, indicators must change to reflect improved under- standing of issues and associated problems, especially as informed by the involvement of industry participants. Once applied, measurements of performance provide several layers of usefulness for MPOs interested in improving freight planning activities and nourishing relationships with freight industry stakeholders. For example, the adage that "what gets measured is what gets done" likely holds true. Although freight traditionally receives less attention than other transporta- tion issues in the planning process, those aspects of the freight system that are measured are more likely to garner attention and have a greater chance for being addressed. Furthermore, performance measurement provides a link with industry. An MPO can expand the realm of inputs for its planning process by inviting collaboration with freight stakeholders to develop indicators. Lastly, because of the link between infrastructure and productivity, improving goods movement benefits the regional economy. In this way, freight performance measurement has a direct tie to the operational and infrastructure improvements that facilitate economic growth.

OCR for page 160
Identifying Freight Resources 5-105 Several other lessons from the development of freight performance indicators in St. Louis merit consideration: Use measurements as tools to identify performance improvement opportunities rather than as a means to lay blame for apparent shortcomings. Resist the temptation to expand the number of indicators and thereby reduce their effect (the EWGCC considers 15 to 20 indicators to be optimal). Some prospective measures may be too peripheral to offer value to the planning process; these indicators should be identified and removed from consideration. Since "what gets measured is what gets done," select indicators carefully to ensure that all critical program areas receive attention. Developing performance indicators, gathering data for measurement, reporting performance, and updating indicators to reflect changing freight circumstances requires substantial effort on the part of MPO staff. Nevertheless, for organizations interested in developing performance measurements, the St. Louis experience provides lessons and techniques for the designation of performance indicators that can save time, money, and effort by focusing on those that can be realistically evaluated and reflect program goals.

OCR for page 160
5-106 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas Large MPO Case Study Puget Sound Regional Council Seattle Key Lessons: Development of focused freight initiatives. MPO Overview Based on trade volumes as a share of gross state product, the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) web site affirms that Washington is "the most trade-dependent state in the nation." Con- sequently, PSRC and other responsible public agencies devote considerable attention to freight planning and advocating for freight projects. The primary vehicle for addressing freight-related issues in the region is a commission called the Freight Action STrategy (FAST) Corridor, though the MPO also recognizes the importance of freight through core planning initiatives such as the LRTP and TIP. The PSRC serves as the MPO for four counties (King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish) in the Seattle-Tacoma-Everett metropolitan area in northwestern Washington. Members of the MPO in addition to the counties include 70 cities and towns; two federally recognized Indian tribes; six tran- sit agencies and the Seattle Monorail Project; the WSDOT and Washington Transportation Com- mission; and the Ports of Everett, Seattle, and Tacoma. The fast-growing metropolitan region, with a current population of about 3.3 million, expects a 1 percent annual rate of increase through 2030, when the population is projected to exceed 4.5 million. Demographers expect a slightly higher annual rate of growth for employment, from 1.8 million jobs in 2000 to 2.5 million jobs by 2030. About 13.4 percent of jobs in the region are manufacturing jobs, and nearly one-third of those jobs are in the aerospace industry, dominated by Boeing and affiliated companies. The Seattle region also has two major interstate highway routes (I-5/I-405 and I-90), two Class I railroads (UP and BNSF), about half a dozen short-line carriers, more than 30 NHS intermodal connectors (many of which connect to freight facilities), three major ports, more than 30 transload facilities, Sea-Tac International Airport, and Boeing Field. Together, these facilities make up the area's "freight movement package" to compete with other major west coast port cities such as Vancouver, Portland, San Francisco-Oakland, and Los Angeles-Long Beach. Freight Planning Activities The PSRC operates within the context of a very freight-conscious region and state. A variety of state task forces as well as public and private sector partnerships focus on freight needs, per- form freight planning, and identify freight projects in need of funding. The PSRC's contribu- tion to these activities has been largely in a supporting role, although the MPO, along with WSDOT, runs the FAST Corridor program, which has identified a very specific list of freight improvements. Since 1995, the PSRC has published about a dozen freight and goods mobility reports, with topics ranging from general discussion of the development of FAST partnerships to analyses of existing freight movements and conditions in the region to a regional "business plan" for FAST. The PSRC's LRTP, Destination 2030, includes a section supporting the efforts of FAST Corri- dor. In particular, the plan supports adoption of recommended infrastructure improvements from Phase I and Phase II of FAST as part of the LRP and continued inclusion of identified improvements from FAST. While recognizing that the FAST recommendations largely fall into the near-term category, Destination 2030 mentions its commitment to "corridor improvements, truck priority and truck geometrics projects, intermodal and multimodal infrastructure proj- ects, and information infrastructure projects" throughout the planning horizon. Presumably, such projects will be included in the LRP as they are identified by FAST Corridor.

OCR for page 160
Identifying Freight Resources 5-107 Development of Freight-Specific Initiative--The FAST Corridor In 1996, the PSRC and WSDOT partnered to create the FAST Corridor (originally called FAST CAST) program. Members of the FAST partnership include transportation agencies, ports, cities, economic development organizations, as well as trucking, rail, and other business interests. Now entering Phase II, the primary accomplishments of FAST Corridor members have been to iden- tify and promote projects for the freight sector. The task force takes a multipronged approach to freight planning, including marketing Puget Sound as a desirable port to international shippers, advocating for freight-specific projects and favorable legislation at all levels of government, and encouraging private sector freight members to invest in freight infrastructure. The PSRC hosts meetings of the FAST members each month at its headquarters. In the late 1990s, Phase I of FAST Corridor identified 15 projects in the Seattle area to improve the freight transport infrastructure. Seven of those projects are now complete, one is under con- struction, six are scheduled to begin construction by 2005, and right of way currently is being pur- chased for another. Among the completed projects is an overpass above State Route 509 into the Port of Tacoma, a project to reduce congestion on SR 509 and to "hasten the flow of trucks in and out of the Port of Tacoma." Another completed project, South 180th Street in the Town of Tukwila, provided a grade separation for a four-lane road at a BNSF/UP crossing, where approximately 40 trains pass per day. Most of the 10 Phase II projects are currently in the design phase. Although several have been chosen to receive funding, not all of the projects currently are programmed. Never- theless, language in the official LRP for PSRC suggests that FAST Corridor recommendations will receive priority consideration in both the LRPs and improvement programs. FAST Corridor members recently convened in a workshop setting to assess the progress of the task force and to define its future direction. One conclusion of the meeting was an insistence among members to review the progress and effectiveness of Phases I and II before moving to Phase III. Also, based on presentations from major freight businesses, including Boeing, UPS, DHL, and the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma, the report from the workshop concluded that increas- ing the region's competitiveness with other American ports of entry should be a primary driver of the coalition's strategy. Particularly, members need to herald their successes in implementing projects that benefit regional mobility and facilitate economic expansion. By pointing out to elected officials that the region's freight facilities and shippers are responsible for a large num- ber of jobs (according to the Port of Seattle, its activities generate 165,000 jobs), members hope to bring greater public funding to the freight sector. Strategies include quantification of freight benefits and, essentially, advocating the importance of freight to decision-makers, the general public, and members of the freight sector. An implicit benefit of gathering freight stakeholders to participate in FAST Corridor is their exchange of information, concerns, and strategies. For instance, presentations from corporations such as Boeing and UPS and the Seattle-area ports at the recent workshop each included a list of recommended freight strategies. Ranging from the relatively concrete and short-term ("docu- ment and share height and weight of bridges and overpasses" and "extend marine gate hours to 24 hours") to the more abstract and strategic (increase capacity "through land, technology, and efficiencies"), participants should be able to understand better how the distinct pieces of the freight enterprise interact and to identify shared needs more readily. Success Factors and Applications for Small- and Mid-Sized MPOs The context within which the PSRC's FAST Corridor operates gives more attention to freight. Seattle's strategic location and its reliance on trade compel an efficient goods movement infra- structure that is well-planned, well-maintained, and well-funded. Efforts by FAST Corridor to publicize its vision, to encourage greater attention to freight among the public and policy-makers, and to sustain a sense of urgency among freight planners and operators in the region have con- tributed to the success of the program.

OCR for page 160
5-108 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas In some small- and mid-sized MPOs, goods movement and trade play roles as important as in Seattle. In such instances and others, the strategies to encourage the involvement of freight stakeholders and to secure greater funding for freight infrastructure include engagement of the major employers and users of the freight network. Inviting these industries (as well as ports and carrier companies such as UPS) to present their concerns at the MPO or freight task force meeting has the dual benefit of allowing the MPO to understand more clearly the needs of the industry while allowing the industry to realize that its voice is an important part of the freight improvement process. Another strategy is to recognize when freight mobility becomes an urgent concern, then com- municate that urgency to the private sector and to governmental funding agencies. When this approach is coupled with freight advocacy strategies that explain the impact of goods movement on the local economy, it frames the discussion of freight in terms to which decision-makers are more likely to respond: for example, number of jobs generated by goods movement and overall economic benefit to the local economy. As with other MPO freight initiatives, Seattle's FAST Corridor efforts reflect the shorter time scale on which the needs of the freight industry operate. While longer-term planning remains a product of the PSRC, the PSRC's FAST Corridor program has advocated for and implemented 7 projects in fewer than 10 years of existence, with another 8 projects near completion and about 10 in the design phase. Yet, despite these apparent successes, FAST members have recommended that they resist the temptation to look too far forward by beginning another cycle of project identifications. Instead, they plan to assess the value of the work completed to date and examine the effectiveness of the processes that they follow in identifying and selecting projects. Validat- ing past work, although likely only applicable to organizations that have actively participated in freight planning for a number of years, nonetheless illustrates a strategy of self-assessment that can improve the effectiveness of MPO-level involvement in freight.