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Integrating Freight into MPO Activities 3-55 Staff expertise. Many freight-specific datasets Investigate training and education opportunities. and analytical tools are still in their early stages There are a number of training and education oppor- and many MPOs are still in the early stages of tunities available to MPOs to enhance understanding applying them to their programs. of freight, its common issues, and how it can be more effectively integrated within a transportation planning process. Peer exchange programs can be effective ways to build staff expertise in particular subject areas. See Module 5 for a listing of training and education resources. Private industry participation. Private sector Develop outreach strategies. There are a number of freight data are often considered proprietary strategies that can be employed to more fully engage and therefore confidential. This complicates the the private sector freight community in this process. data collection activities and the completeness Before sharing data with an MPO, most private sector of the regional freight profile. freight stakeholders want to see the potential benefits of providing data and participating in the process. Developing outreach strategies that describe the potential benefits of participation can help, such as providing missing data necessary to promote an improvement project. Ensuring confidentiality of data is another key factor. The Outreach and Partnerships section in this module describes some of the more successful strategies. Ongoing commitment. Data collection activities Dedicate yourself to data collection. MPOs must should be undertaken as an ongoing program realize that data collection is an ongoing, dynamic to develop current and trend descriptions of the process. MPOs should consider building time and region's freight system. It is important that initial budget for collecting and reviewing freight data into data collection activities not be so elaborate and their UPWPs. In an environment that has limited costly that they are seen as one time events. data collection dollars, it is critical that staff work to include freight considerations or enhancements to existing programs. For example, annual count pro- grams can be revised or modified to include key inter- modal connectors and truck corridors. Training and Education Overview In recent years, freight training and education have become significant focus areas for MPOs and state DOTs as staff continues to expand and develop freight transportation pro- grams. Training opportunities, while still limited, have expanded to meet these demands. FHWA has taken the lead for much of the training and education activities through its FPD program. Key components of this program include a peer exchange program and the Talk- ing Freight seminar series. In addition, the NHI has partnered with FHWA to facilitate the development of specific courses in the areas of transportation planning and freight model- ing. At a more localized level, specific vendors provide training for their tools and products. For example, travel demand model vendors provide training seminars and model conversion services to assist MPOs and state DOTs use their models. In addition to these formalized training and education programs, outreach activities often are used by MPOs and state DOTs to educate system users and impacted communities of the positive benefits of efficient freight transportation. Freight training and education efforts typically focus on the following areas: · Promote need for efficient freight transportation. Freight is an integral part of an inte- grated, multimodal transportation system; it must be incorporated to achieve a truly balanced system.
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3-56 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas · Identify freight as relevant component of the transportation system program. While MPOs typically have limited control over non-highway modes of freight transportation, it is critical that local transportation programs address all established aspects of freight transportation, because each mode/operation impacts the community. · Define opportunities for integrating freight into existing programs. Effective integration of freight operations into an established program will enhance a region's ability to predict and manage congestion, safety, and key bottlenecks. · Provide specific instruction on individual analysis tools. There are many tools available to staff, including economic impact, travel demand, and air quality; these tools typically are pro- vided with instruction and training. · Define and provide wide variety of freight data and research. Many MPOs and state DOTs have undertaken freight initiatives that can be used as best practices; in addition, organizations like NCHRP, TRB, and AASHTO have and continue to develop resources to assist MPOs. · Build political and technical support for freight program development. Outreach is a criti- cal component in the education process; impacted citizens and leaders must understand the importance of freight transportation. Basic versus Advanced Approach The distinction between basic and advanced approaches to freight training and education is driven by the type of activities that an MPO is undertaking, as well as the resources available. For an MPO with limited freight background, the training and education needed to undertake the development of freight policies and a regional freight profile may consist of FHWA's Talking Freight seminar series and peer-to-peer exchange program, combined with outreach to a lim- ited number of private partners. For MPOs that have developed a basic description of their freight system and are engaging in more advanced analytical and modeling techniques, the train- ing and education activities may consist of attendance at formal training courses or bringing technical experts in-house to train staff. Key Activities Training and education activities should focus on the defined needs of an MPO. The exercises defined in Module 2 provide staff members with a comprehensive analysis of what they do and do not know about freight transportation. This section defines the types of training and educa- tion activities that can be undertaken to meet basic and advanced needs. It is important to acknowledge that specific topics should be based on intended program direction. The types of activities will fall into the following categories: · Staff Initiative. Many staff members have developed expertise in freight through their own actions, such as regular review of industry periodicals and other literature available on specific modes, supply chain management, and trade. · Peer Exchange. Learning from the experiences of counterparts around the country is a sim- ple yet invaluable mechanism. In fact, FHWA's freight peer-to-peer program was developed to facilitate this kind of activity. · Private Industry Outreach. One of the best ways to learn about freight is to meet with repre- sentatives from industry. They will provide real-life descriptions of business operations, key decision factors, and transportation needs. · Training Courses. Training courses provide specific instruction on a particular subject. This type of educational activity is most useful for a staff that is undertaking a specific advanced freight transportation initiative.
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Integrating Freight into MPO Activities 3-57 Basic Approach Activity · Training and Education--Basic Activity Type · Policy, Planning, and Programming Level of Effort · Low Technical Complexity · Low Data/Analytical Tool Needs · Moderate. Requires outreach to private partners to collect data on the freight system; collect and review available research and data from avail- able sources (other MPOs, state DOTs, FHWA, etc.) Outreach/Partnership Needs · Moderate. Requires limited but ongoing outreach to a limited number of private partners to build knowledge base of freight operations and local issues. Training/Education Needs · http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/FPD/index.asp Related Activities · Supports all activities. Step 1. Evaluate training needs. It is critical that the staff review the freight policies, the results of the Module 2 exercises, and the key characteristics and needs of the region to ascertain areas of required expertise. Step 2. Identify available training opportunities. Based on the results of Step 1, staff should identify key training opportunities. At the basic level, this will include personal initiative to become familiar with industry operations, outreach to private partners, and participation in peer groups such as FHWA's peer-to-peer exchange program and Talking Freight seminar series. Step 3. Participate in training activities. Once the key opportunities have been identified, staff should develop and implement training activities on a regular basis. The activities defined in Step 2 can be used repeatedly over time to enhance expertise in freight transportation. Advanced Approach Activity · Training and Education--Advanced Activity Type · Policy, Planning, and Programming Level of Effort · Moderate to High Technical Complexity · Moderate to High Data/Analytical Tool Needs · Moderate. Requires outreach to private partners to collect data on the freight system; collect and review available research and data from avail- able sources (other MPOs, state DOTs, FHWA, etc.) Outreach/Partnership Needs · Moderate to High. Requires ongoing outreach to private partners to build knowledge base of freight operations and local issues. Training/Education Needs · http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/FPD/index.asp Related Activities · Supports all activities. Step 1. Evaluate training needs. It is critical that staff review the freight policies, the results of the Module 2 exercises, and the key characteristics and needs of the region to ascertain areas of required expertise. Step 2. Identify available training opportunities. Based on the results of Step 1, staff should identify key training opportunities. At the advanced level, this will build on the basic activities to include more focused outreach to private partners (such as focus groups) and identification and scheduling of more intensive freight training courses (such as NHI's Integrating Freight into Transportation Planning Process and Uses of Multimodal Freight Forecasting in Transportation
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3-58 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas FHWA's FPD Program In response to customer needs, the FHWA's Office of Operations launched the FPD program. This initiative assists state DOTs and MPOs in developing the skills and knowledge needed to meet the challenge of growing freight flows on the nation's transportation system. The FPD program consists of four key elements: training, education, technical assistance, and a resource library. · Training. The FPD program provides training, including short courses and seminars, on a broad range of freight topics. Two FPD courses were offered through NHI in fiscal year (FY) 2005: Integrating Freight in the Transportation Planning Process and Uses of Multimodal Freight Forecasting in Transportation Planning. · Education. The FPD program works with the academic community to promote needed changes in transportation planning and logistics degree programs critical to ensuring the future availability of appropriately trained freight professionals. Many university-based freight and related degree programs are identified on the new FPD web site at http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/FPD/index.asp. · Technical Assistance. The FPD program provides assistance to states and MPOs engaged in transportation and freight planning. The ongoing Talking Freight sem- inar series offers a no-cost way for freight transportation professionals to broaden their knowledge and develop new skills. Seminars are held monthly and are open to all interested parties through http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/fpd/talking_ freight.htm. The Freight Planning LISTSERV, located at www.fhwa. dot.gov/freightplanning, also provides a forum for peer information exchange. · Resource Library. The FPD program offers a web-based one-stop shop for current information and state-of-the art practices pertaining to freight. The resource library is located on the FPD web site. Source: http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/aboutus/one_ pagers/fpd.pdf. Planning courses). In addition, training should be identified for specific tools and models that staff considers critical for the support of the freight program development. Step 3. Develop formal training program. Staff should define an annual training program that incorporates the needs of the MPO, the availability of training courses, and the availability of funding to support staff attendance. This program should appear in the MPO's UPWP. Step 4. Implement training program. The implementation of the training program should correspond to the current level of expertise and the planned freight activities. For example, a peer-to-peer exchange could be scheduled to provide access to expertise in a specific area or, if the MPO is scheduled to update its travel demand model, staff should work with FHWA and NHI to schedule the current freight modeling course.3 The program should be reviewed and updated annually to provide an ongoing opportunity for staff members to develop and enhance their freight expertise. 3FHWA-NHI-139002, Uses of Multimodal Freight Forecasting in Transportation Planning. http://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/ training/course_detail.aspx?num=FHWA-NHI-139002&cat=&key=&num=139002&loc=sta=%25&tit=typ=&lev=&ava= &str=&end=&drl=.