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Integrating Freight into MPO Activities 3-7 Common Issue Potential Solution Limited freight expertise by technical staff. Investigate training and education opportunities. There Most MPOs have technical advisory are a number of training and education opportunities committees that advise and support MPO available to MPO staff to enhance understanding of freight, initiatives. In many instances, building its common issues and concerns, and how it can be more support for freight inclusive language in effectively integrated within a transportation planning the transportation program will be process. See Module 5 for a list of training and education challenged by lack of experience in this resources. area, as well as the overriding sentiment in many locations that freight is handled by the private sector. Political opposition. MPO leadership is Develop champions and advocates for freight and freight often driven by local politicians who work planning. Few local decision-makers and general public to improve the transportation system for members understand the link between efficient freight their constituents. The general public's movements and quality of life. The selection of fresh fruits aversion to heavy industry and truck and vegetables in the middle of winter; the ability to have a traffic often encourages politicians to package delivered anywhere in the country overnight; respond in a restrictive manner toward and even the coal, oil, and natural gas that heat our homes freight as opposed to promoting freight and power our cars all depend on an efficient, intermodal friendly programs. freight transportation system. In addition, an efficient freight system is often a key component of business expan- sion and relocation decisions. Articulating the positive benefits of freight and the link between freight and eco- nomic development can help create advocacy for freight planning. Stakeholder participation. Historically, Develop outreach strategies. There are a number of it has been a challenge to engage the private strategies that can be employed to more fully engage the sector given the difference in planning private sector freight community. The Outreach and horizons and a focus on operations versus Partnerships section in this module describes some of the long-term planning, and the time commit- more successful strategies. ments required for effective participation. Developing a Regional Freight Profile Overview A regional freight profile is essentially a primer for understanding a region's freight trans- portation system. The regional freight profile typically summarizes the geographic area, such as its land mass and the percentage of land devoted to and people employed in different types of industries (e.g., agriculture, manufacturing, and service). It also includes a high-level overview of the transportation infrastructure, including rail, roadway, ports, airports, and pipelines, not- ing the key features and relative importance of each to the region. Population centers within the region are usually identified in regional, state, and national terms. Many regional profiles also identify the natural resources in an area that contribute to its base freight transportation needs. Examples include natural deposits of oil, coal, gypsum, and timber, as well as water resources such as bays and rivers. These resources typically drive a number of primary industries associ- ated with leveraging the resources. The sources and causes of any seasonal variations in freight volumes are identified along with an indication of the importance of such swings within the local economy and its impact of freight movement within the area. The types of information captured and provided in a regional freight profile are relatively con- sistent between MPOs of any size, differing primarily in terms of information depth and complexity as dictated by area specifics. For example, a small MPO that is located in an area that is distant from any major highway system and lacks significant air, rail, or water freight transportation

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3-8 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas networks would have a less complex regional freight profile than a larger MPO that has a full range of modal options and networks. However, the process and fundamental elements necessary to develop a regional freight profile would be similar. Basic versus Advanced Approach The major distinguishing characteristics between preparing a basic versus an advanced regional freight profile involves the effort expended in two primary areas: (1) the breadth and extent of stakeholder involvement and (2) the amount of freight data captured and analyzed. Basic regional freight profiles tend to involve less stakeholder involvement (in terms of number and extent of stakeholder participation) while capturing or using fewer sources of freight infor- mation. More complex or advanced efforts to create regional freight profiles involve significant stakeholder participation and expanded capture of or use of freight data. Some correlation exists between the effort required to update or produce a regional freight profile and the relative size of the MPO or the complexity of its transportation network. Accord- ingly, small MPOs or MPOs in regions dominated by single industries or with fewer transporta- tion modes and options (and with lower volumes of freight traveling through the region without stopping) should be able to produce a satisfactory profile with less stakeholder involvement or data collection than a larger MPO or one with a more diverse and complex freight system. In practice, however, the detail and analysis contained in a regional freight profile tends to reflect the resources available, with additional resources resulting in higher levels of stakeholder involvement and data collection and analysis. MPO staff is encouraged to devote the resources necessary to develop a comprehensive and accurate regional freight profile because it represents the foundation for subsequent freight planning efforts. Key Activities The freight summary for the region should be organized around three key components. The first component is the freight transportation infrastructure. This consists of the physical and operational attributes available for each modal system, such as key routes and facilities, industry use, physical condition, and traffic volumes. The second component is a commod- ity flow summary that describes the tonnage and value of freight shipments moving into, out of, through, and within the region. The third element of the freight system profile focuses on incorporating other transportation-related factors, such as economic development, land-use, safety, and environmental impacts. The combination of these components provides an illus- tration of what the regional freight system is, how it is being used, and how it impacts the community (and vice versa). The regional freight profile should identify major freight service providers (motor carriers, railroads, airports, etc.), distributors (warehouses, port terminals, etc.), and their geographic locations. Centers of motor carrier break-bulk and intermodal freight operations need partic- ular attention and notation because they impact traffic operations within a region somewhat dif- ferently than other freight operations. Information on the freight volumes being transported through a region can be more challenging to capture. The MPO survey conducted as part of this project identified the use of truck counts as the most common means of capturing this infor- mation, followed (in descending order) by the use of Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) data, origin-destination surveys, and commodity flow surveys (CFSs). Other sources included FHWA's Freight Analysis Framework (FAF), air cargo data, and Reebie TRANSEARCH commodity flow data. Much of the basic information needed to develop a regional freight plan and supporting documentation is available from local government offices, libraries, chambers of commerce, and economic development offices.

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Integrating Freight into MPO Activities 3-9 MPOs should engage regional freight stakeholders in the process of creating the regional freight profile as part of the holistic approach to involving and engaging the freight community. These stakeholders can provide valuable input on historical, current, and future freight and economic trends that have important competitive implications for the region. Local traffic clubs1 and supply-chain logistics organizations2 provide outreach sources that can be particularly valuable in terms of identifying local industry partners. Local chambers of commerce and local economic development organizations also provide access to economic data sources as well as identify local business leaders. Basic Approach Activity Developing a Regional Freight Profile--Basic Activity Type Planning Level of Effort Moderate Technical Complexity Low Data/Analytical Tool Needs Moderate. Requires collection of available data and limited stakeholder outreach. Outreach/Partnership Needs Moderate. Requires completion of a limited number of interviews and contact and engagement of local freight organizations. Training/Education Needs Low. Requires staff to begin building basic freight knowledge and become familiar with available data; should explore resources available from FHWA. Related Activities LRP Freight Element, Freight Analysis in Corridor Plans and Studies, Freight Needs and Deficiencies. Key activities: Develop a high-level overview of the regional freight system. Step 1. Conduct limited outreach to key regional freight partners. Identify and meet with a small number of key freight stakeholders to begin to build an understanding of the local freight system, how it is used, and what are its weaknesses or bottlenecks. This can often be accom- plished via phone calls or site visits to individual stakeholders. Step 2. Develop freight system infrastructure maps. Using available MPO, state, and federal resources, develop a freight system map of the region. This should include major roadways, intermodal connectors, railroads, intermodal terminals, port facilities, and airports. Any read- ily available information on additional load centers (such as warehouse and distribution centers or trucking terminals) should be included. Step 3. Review aggregate commodity flow data. The FAF and CFS are available on-line from FHWA and Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), respectively. They provide commodity flow profiles for state and National Transportation Analysis Regions (NTAR). Although these geographic levels are much larger than an MPO region, in lieu of more costly data, they can pro- vide general characteristics for the region, such as key commodities, mode shares, and inbound- outbound splits. Step 4. Summarize key socioeconomic data. Review key regional trends in employment and population growth. Many MPOs already maintain these data. For the freight profile, they should 1Such as Delta Nu Alpha, a transportation and logistics society, 2Such as APICS, the Association for Operations Management,, or the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals,

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3-10 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas use types of employment and overall growth throughout the region to monitor freight trans- portation needs in the future. Many of these data are also available from (a) federal sources, such as the Census Bureau or Bureau of Economic Analysis, (b) state sources, such as state depart- ments of labor and employment, and (c) universities. Step 5. Develop high-level regional freight profile. Based on these steps, MPO staff should develop a summary of the material to be used to describe the regional freight system. This can serve as the beginning of a freight program and a place holder for a more comprehensive LRP freight element. Advanced Approach Activity Developing a Regional Freight Profile--Advanced Activity Type Planning Level of Effort High Technical Complexity Moderate Data/Analytical Tool Needs High. Requires collection or purchase of new regional freight data; signifi- cant outreach to private partners; review of region's travel demand model. Outreach/Partnership Needs High. Requires completion of interviews, focus groups, and surveys; development of freight technical advisory committee. Training/Education Needs Moderate. Requires staff to build on basic freight knowledge, particularly relating to available data, analysis, and stakeholder outreach; should explore resources and training available from FHWA and National Highway Institute (NHI). Related Activities LRP Freight Element, Freight Analysis in Corridor Plans and Studies, Freight Needs and Deficiencies. Key activities: Develop a comprehensive regional freight profile. Step 1. Conduct outreach to private industry serving the region (see Data and Analytical Tools section in this module). MPO staff should identify and interview key regional freight part- ners to collect input on the freight system and its operation. Step 2. Develop infrastructure and service profiles for each mode of transportation in the region. Summarize available data into a comprehensive description of the regional truck, rail, intermodal, air, water, and pipeline freight networks. This will include information on key routes, carriers, terminals, and service characteristics. A global information system (GIS) will be used to illustrate these modal systems, based on available databases. Step 3. Analyze the commodity flow data. Commodity flow data are available from several sources. The most disaggregate data are provided at cost from Global Insight, Inc. (TRANSEARCH). The BTS also provides data via the CFS. MPO staff must determine the best resource for the region based on available funds and the overall complexity of their system. A detailed commodity flow analysis would summarize the following: Overall volume and value of freight moving into, out of, within, and through the region; Major domestic trade partners; Key commodities moving into, out of, within, and through the region; and Modal shares for freight moving into, out of, within, and through the region.

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Integrating Freight into MPO Activities 3-11 Step 4. Identify and analyze international trade data. Review and analyze the international trade data available from border crossings, air cargo operations, and seaports. Step 5. Describe examples of regional logistics patterns. It is important to understand what is moving, how it is moving, why it is moving in that way, and what the operational constraints and bottlenecks are for industries based in your region. MPO staff should work with private part- ners to document logistics patterns for key regional industries to illustrate the types of decisions made on a daily basis to operate successfully in a competitive market. The following highlights the types of questions that need to be answered to accomplish this goal: General Business Description. Describe your primary business. What product or service do you provide? Why are you located here? Where do you have other facilities? How many employees do you have? Do you manage your own transportation and logistics? Do you own your transportation equipment? Describe Inbound Movements. What are the primary raw materials brought in for produc- tion? Where are your suppliers located, geographically? Does your selection of suppliers depend on their business location? How do you place orders? Is it technology driven (auto- mated)? What modes are used for delivery of these materials? Why do you use these modes? Are your materials mode-specific or dependent? How many truck loading/unloading docks do you have? Do you have a rail siding? What volume of freight do you receive weekly or monthly (by mode)? What service requirements do you have for these shipments? Do you have any penalties for late or missed shipments? Describe Production Process. Is your manufacturing process automated? If so, what system are you using? How important is timeliness of delivery to your production lines? How do you ensure reliable delivery? Do you require service contracts? Do you maintain an inventory of raw materials? If so, how many days worth? If not, are you operating on just-in-time? Have you ever had to shut down a production line because of a missed shipment? How long does a production run take? Are your orders customized or do you make standard products? Do you maintain an inventory of finished products? If so, how many days worth? Do you have your own warehouse space? Describe Outbound Flows. What are the primary products manufactured or distributed? How do customers place orders? Is it technology driven (automated)? What modes are used for delivery of these products? Are your products mode-specific or dependent? How many truck loading/unloading docks do you have? Do you have a rail siding? What volume of freight do you send out weekly or monthly (by mode)? What service requirements do you have for these shipments? Do you have any penalties for late or missed shipments? Identify Specific Operational Issues. What are the strengths of the region's transportation infrastructure? What are the weaknesses of the region's transportation infrastructure? How could the existing infrastructure be operated differently to improve your operations? How could the existing infrastructure physically be changed to improve your operations? Can you identify specific needs? Step 6. Work with MPO modeling staff to develop truck trip estimates for the region. Key truck corridors can be identified using a combination of model assignments and truck counts. Understanding truck travel patterns helps staff identify regionally significant freight roadways as well as prioritize future roadway improvement projects. Based on what is available, it may be necessary to use the Quick Response Freight Manual to estimate truck trips generated or attracted by traffic analysis zones to help identify key freight roadways. Step 7. Review the impact of other transportation-related factors. Data available on components of the community that impact freight transportation should be analyzed. This

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3-12 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas Chittenden County MPO--Developing Regional Freight Profile The Chittenden County MPO, MPO for Burlington, Vermont, provides an excellent example of how to develop a freight profile. This MPO developed a comprehen- sive regional freight profile using consulting resources and through close coordi- nation with a similar statewide effort underway by the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VAOT). The profile included descriptions and maps of the freight infrastructure and its operational characteristics; an economic and demographic summary that described employment and population trends; a commodity flow analysis that summarized volume and value of freight moving in the region, the mode splits, and key trade partners. In addition, the MPO benefited from shipper/receiver and motor carrier mail out surveys, and truck driver origin-destination inter- cept surveys conducted by VAOT. Interviews also were conducted with regional shippers and carriers; data collected were used to describe supply chain management practices. In addition to the data and analyses, the MPO organized a Freight Technical Advisory Committee which met several times throughout the project. Data and analyses were presented to this group and their feedback and input were included in the development of the freight profile. The freight profile was a backbone of the overall freight plan being developed. The plan included the full profile; in addition, it summarized findings and conclusions and presented recommendations for further freight program development. For a more detailed review of the profile, readers are referred to the following link on the MPO's web site: freight_ prof_ 1.pdf will include basic sociodemographic trends (population, employment, etc.), land-use pat- terns, environmental impacts of new projects, and safety concerns with existing systems and proposed projects. Step 8. Develop the regional freight profile. The above steps provide the data and findings necessary to develop a regional profile. This should consist of GIS-based maps of the infrastructure and operations, descriptions of existing freight operations, and a summary of key sociodemo- graphic and land-use development patterns. This profile should be used to support other related activities, such as an LRP freight element. Common Issues and Potential Solutions The development of a regional freight profile can encounter several challenges. The first obstacle is that many MPO staff will be undertaking this activity for the first time. This requires that staff take the initiative to search out available data sources and take advantage of education and training opportunities, as well as examples of best practices available from counterparts in other MPOs. Other challenges include availability of data, funding for freight data, and engaging private sector partners. The following summarizes the key challenges and offers potential solutions.