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Integrating Freight into MPO Activities 3-13 Common Issue Potential Solution Lack of freight expertise. Existing staff expertise Investigate training and education opportunities. will likely not cover all the technical areas There are a number of training and education oppor- addressed by a regional freight profile. Staff tunities available to MPO staff to enhance under- members will need to familiarize themselves standing of freight, its common issues and concerns, with the resources outlined in Module 5 of the and how it can be more effectively integrated within a Guidebook, as well as the data that are available transportation planning process. Chittenden County locally. MPO worked closely with its state partners and since completing the study has attended freight training provided by FHWA through NHI. Lack of freight data. Data availability is one of Investigate freight data sources. There are a number the most significant challenges of freight transpor- of publicly available freight data sources and data tation planning. Much of the data are considered techniques that can be useful to metropolitan freight proprietary by private partners; in addition, many planning efforts. State DOTs, FHWA, and other publicly available sources are aggregated to levels agencies are potential sources of freight data that can above an MPO region. Furthermore, available be used in the development of a regional profile. In resources are often not available to conduct exten- Chittenden County's case, the state DOT provided sive data collection, such as truck driver origin- county-level commodity flow data at no cost to the destination surveys; or to purchase private data, MPO. In addition, the MPO benefited from mail out such as TRANSEARCH commodity flow data. surveys to motor carriers and shippers and receivers, This can limit the completeness of a regional as well as origin-destination truck driver surveys freight profile. conducted by the state. Private partner participation. Private sector Develop outreach strategies. There are a number of partners represent a unique source of data, both strategies that can be employed to more fully engage in qualitative perceptions of the system, as well the private sector freight community. Chittenden as quantitative volume information. However, County MPO developed and maintained a freight many such partners are reluctant to share their advisory committee (FAC) throughout the develop- data for fear of losing their competitive advantage. ment of its freight plan. This issue requires building trust with private industry. Identifying Freight Needs and Deficiencies Overview The identification of freight needs and deficiencies is a planning activity that identifies gaps between existing freight system conditions and capabilities and the projected freight transportation needs for the area. This is a critical element of an MPO's transportation pro- gram, because it feeds the identification, development, and implementation of improvement projects. The process of identifying freight needs and deficiencies is driven by data collection and analysis and stakeholder input. Regional operational conditions (level of service [LOS] on regional roadways, congestion, high-accident locations, inadequate roadway geometrics, modal capacity constraints, etc.) are used to establish the areas where the needs or deficien- cies may be most prevalent. Most MPOs already will have access to data specific to roadways, although staff may not have reviewed these data from the perspective of freight operations. Condition of intermodal connectors, access to industrial areas, and key truck crash locations represent the types of information necessary to fully identify roadway freight needs. In addi- tion to roadways, this process must evaluate the operations of other modes. For example, dredging needs for ports and waterways, the ability of the region's rail system to handle double- stack operations, and adequate airport runway length for cargo operations are critical elements to consider.

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3-14 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas Basic versus Advanced Approach Differences between "basic" versus "advanced" freight needs and deficiencies efforts primarily relate to the cumulative level of effort in the freight planning process. Two of the major variables are the freight data collection efforts and the involvement of freight stakeholders. Many MPOs lack adequate detail on the performance and condition of their freight transportation system. The extent to which MPOs attempt to secure additional information through direct data collection or through purchase of information from private sources is a major variable in such efforts. This information provides the quantitative information that drives the needs and deficiencies process. The depth and extent of freight stakeholder involvement is another distinguishing factor between basic versus advanced freight needs and deficiencies activities. At a basic activity level, the MPO may choose only to involve a small group of freight stakeholders and limit their involvement to confirming the accuracy of information gathered and deficiencies defined. In an advanced effort, the small group of stakeholders might be expanded to a much larger group and participate in a series of meetings at each process step, such as conducting facilitated meetings to generate a group consensus of regional freight needs and deficiencies. As in other planning activity discus- sions, the engagement of freight stakeholders is a key success factor in conducting a successful needs and deficiencies activity. Key Activities The needs identification process expands on the regional freight profile, using the available data and analyses to focus on areas of improvement. The profile summarizes what the region has and how well it works; the needs and deficiencies statement packages this information, along with anticipated future demand, and focuses on identification of key bottlenecks that need to be effectively managed to ensure continued or enhanced regional mobility, safety, security, and eco- nomic vitality. The needs and deficiencies statement will be used to identify and develop freight improvement projects. MPOs vary in terms of the number and complexity of freight operations. The resulting doc- umentation of freight needs and deficiencies should reflect the relative complexity of the regional freight system (e.g., some MPOs will have limited or no significant water, pipeline, or rail operations, other MPOs may be dominated by one of these modes). Accordingly, the level of effort devoted to identifying needs and deficiencies by freight mode vary for small- to medium-sized MPOs. Basic Approach Activity Identifying Freight Needs and Deficiencies--Basic Activity Type Planning Level of Effort Moderate Technical Complexity Low Data/Analytical Tool Needs Moderate. Relies on work completed as part of the regional freight profile; limited outreach to private partners. Outreach/Partnership Needs Low. Requires limited interviews and focus groups with a small number of private partners. Training/Education Needs Low. Requires staff to apply basic freight knowledge to needs identification activities in coordination with outreach; should explore resources available from FHWA. http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/FPD/index.asp Related Activities Regional Freight Profile, Freight Element of LRP, Freight Project Identification.

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Integrating Freight into MPO Activities 3-15 Key activities: Develop high-level description of key regional freight needs and deficiencies. Step 1. Review regional freight profile. This step assumes a regional freight profile has been developed. A regional freight profile typically serves as the starting point for the needs and defi- ciencies analysis, because it summarizes the existing system and its condition. If no regional pro- file exists, it is recommended that staff consider developing one before conducting a detailed needs and deficiencies statement. If that is not possible, staff should use available data and con- duct a limited number of interviews with regional freight stakeholders. Key operational charac- teristics available from the profile should be used to help staff identify key performance gaps impacting freight operations, such as Congestion locations using LOS, speed, and delay; High-accident locations involving commercial vehicles; Geometrically constrained roadways and intersections impacting truck access to key load centers; and Inadequate loading/unloading zones in downtown areas. Step 2. Identify key freight needs and deficiencies. Based on the profile, staff should identify key bottlenecks. These should consist of locations that have been identified as at or above capacity, high rate of accidents or safety issues, geometric constraints, and locations identified by private partners. If the MPO has not prepared a regional freight profile, the needs and deficiencies should be based on the available data and limited stakeholder interviews. The supply chain analyses completed as part of the regional freight profile should be used to highlight the transportation system performance factors important to the region's industries. These factors should be used in coordination with the operational characteristics to identify the most critical freight needs and deficiencies, which will be documented in Step 3. These factors include, but are not limited to the following: Travel time, Reliability, Speed, and Multimodal access. Step 3. Develop summary of high-priority needs. The complete list of needs and deficien- cies should be reviewed by MPO staff. This internal review will provide the opportunity to iden- tify those that are critical to the region. The selected needs should be summarized and used to support the identification and development of improvement projects. MPOs may wish to con- sider displaying these needs, deficiencies, or bottlenecks on a GIS map, if appropriate. Advanced Approach Activity Identifying Freight Needs and Deficiencies--Advanced Activity Type Planning Level of Effort High Technical Complexity High Data/Analytical Tool Needs High. Relies on work completed as part of the regional freight profile; significant outreach to private partners through interviews, focus groups, formation of a freight technical advisory committee. Outreach/Partnership Needs High. Requires completion of significant interviews and focus groups with a small number of private partners; organize and implement freight technical advisory committee.

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3-16 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas Training/Education Needs Moderate. Requires staff to apply more advanced freight knowledge to needs identification activities; this will require significant coordination with outreach and partnership activities; should explore resources and training available from FHWA and NHI. http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/FPD/index.asp Related Activities Regional Freight Profile, LRP Freight Element, Freight Project Identification. Key activities: Identify and document freight needs and deficiencies. Step 1. Review regional freight profile. This step assumes a regional freight profile has been developed. A regional freight profile typically serves as the starting point for the needs and defi- ciencies analysis, because it summarizes the existing system and its condition. If no regional profile exists, it is recommended that staff consider developing one before conducting a detailed needs and deficiencies statement. The advanced approach relies on significant data and should not be undertaken without a freight profile. Key operational characteristics available from the profile should be used to help staff identify key performance gaps impacting freight operations, such as Congestion locations using LOS, speed, and delay; High-accident locations involving commercial vehicles; Geometrically constrained roadways and intersections impacting truck access to key load centers; and Inadequate loading/unloading zones in downtown areas. Step 2. Identify preliminary list of freight needs and deficiencies. The profile will pro- vide MPO staff with infrastructure and operations data which will support the identification of regional freight needs and deficiencies. These should consist of locations that have been identified as at or above capacity, high rate of accidents or safety issues, geometric constraints, and locations identified by private partners. The supply chain analyses completed as part of the regional freight profile should be used to highlight the transportation system performance factors important to the region's industries. These factors should be used in coordination with the operational characteristics to identify the most critical freight needs and deficien- cies, which will be documented in Step 3. These factors include, but are not limited to the following: Travel time, Reliability, Speed, and Multimodal access. Step 3. Conduct additional data collection. Once the list of needs and deficiencies has been identified, MPO staff should identify and collect additional data to provide for a more detailed description and analysis of the specific needs. Using this information, staff will validate the list. Data collection could include traffic counts, field observations and inspections, and additional stakeholder outreach. Step 4. Conduct focus groups with private partners to validate and flesh out the key regional needs. After the additional data have been collected and the needs have quantitatively been validated, focus groups should be conducted to engage the private sector. This could include use of a freight technical advisory committee. This provides the opportunity to build support for

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Integrating Freight into MPO Activities 3-17 Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG)--Identifying Freight Needs and Deficiencies ACOG, the MPO for the Oklahoma City Regional Transportation Study (OCARTS) area, is an example of an MPO that has developed an effective process for identi- fying freight needs and deficiencies as part of its long-range planning process. Of particular note is the involvement of a wide range of freight stakeholders and the ability to take advantage of existing training and education resources (peer exchange program). ACOG has effectively involved the freight community in its region as part of its long- range planning process. In advance of LRP updates, staff distributes transportation surveys to help identify specific needs, and has held focus groups and meetings to gather input on policy issues. These mechanisms were used to develop the initial intermodal element of the 2020 LRTP. For its 2025 LRTP update, staff called on a panel of peer experts in coordination with the FHWA peer-to-peer program; this included a consultant, the Mid- America Regional Council (MARC, MPO for the Kansas City region), and FHWA's Resource Center. ACOG staff presented its freight profile to this group of experts. Following a review, the panel came back with a long list of recommendations. These recommendations were added to the profile and then presented to local stakeholders, including Oklahoma DOT, railroads, trucking association, rail association, and trucking companies. Following review and comment by the stake- holders, the freight profile and recommendations were incorporated into the LRTP. The local stakeholders were the same companies and agencies involved in the initial intermodal element completed as part of the 2020 LRTP update. As part of the 2025 LRTP update, ACOG evaluated future truck routes using its travel demand model. potential improvement projects and also provides private partners with the ability to confirm that the list is accurate and complete. Step 5. Develop list of key freight needs and deficiencies. After completing Steps 1 through 4, the final list of needs and deficiencies should be documented. This should consist of a needs state- ment that defines and describes each constraint. Step 6. Develop recommended solutions to guide project identification and development. Once the MPO has identified the nature and scope of freight deficiencies, it must begin to iden- tify tactical ways to address these problems. At this point in the planning process, such solutions typically consist of broad statements such as, add additional lane capacity or construct left turn bay. The identification of specific projects will be addressed as a separate activity (see the Iden- tifying Freight Projects section in this module). Common Issues and Potential Solutions The development of a comprehensive needs and deficiencies statement for freight trans- portation is limited by data, staff expertise, and dependence on other activities in the planning