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1 SUMMARY Identifying and Using Low-Cost and Quickly Implementable Strategies to Address Freight-System Mobility Constraints Increasing freight demand and capacity constraints present several challenges to the man- agement and operation of the freight transportation system. Recent studies and statistics document the inadequate capacity and the resulting increasingly costly congestion--not only on the nation's highways but also in metropolitan areas, at water ports, railroads, air- ports, and intermodal facilities. The ability to increase freight transportation capacity to meet demand is constrained by geographic barriers, population density, and urban land use development patterns. The consequences of this increased freight demand and increased density include increased congestion, travel delay, emissions, and commercial operational costs, among others. Freight mobility is constrained not only by physical infrastructure inadequacies but also by operational, regulatory, policy, technological, and financial limitations. With inadequate rev- enue to invest in major system capacity expansion and new system technology, there is increased interest in addressing freight mobility constraints through innovative operational strategies, performance-improving regulatory and policy changes, and low-cost capital improvements. This project developed standardized descriptions of the dimensions of the freight trans- portation system (highway, rail, and deepwater ports and inland waterways), defined freight mobility constraints in a multimodal context, developed criteria for low-cost and quickly implementable improvements to address freight mobility constraints, and developed a soft- ware application tool to help decision makers in evaluating freight mobility constraints and selecting appropriate improvements. Definition of Freight Mobility Constraint While there is no common or single definition of freight mobility constraint, the defini- tions share common themes. Based on these common themes, a freight mobility constraint can be defined as a physical or infrastructure deficiency, regulatory requirement (Federal, state, or local), or operational ac- tion that impedes or restricts the free flow of freight either at the network level or at a specific location. Mobility constraints increase costs, contribute to system inefficiencies, and delay on-time freight delivery. The three main types of constraints are: Physical Constraints--any geometric or infrastructure conditions that constrain freight opera- tors from operating at free-flow speeds, and within legally required parameters. Examples include inadequate capacity within the transportation system (e.g., mainlines, interchanges, rail sidings, port terminals) and geometric restrictions or limitations affecting safe and efficient mobility.

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2 Operational Constraints--practices, processes, events, or occurrences that constrain optimal throughput and efficient operating conditions. Examples include poor signal phasing, ineffi- cient port terminal gate processes, technological limitations, and outdated signaling systems. Regulatory Constraints--Federal, state, or local regulatory requirements that have unintended consequences that restrict the flow of freight through the system. Examples include safety and security requirements, truck restrictions, air quality restrictions, and labor contractual limitations. Criteria for Low-Cost and Quickly Implementable Improvement Although many innovative, low-cost efforts are being implemented by public and private stakeholders, there are no widely accepted criteria to define what constitutes a low-cost improvement directed to enhance freight mobility. A "low-cost" and "quickly imple- mentable" improvement to address freight mobility constraints may be defined as: an action that modifies existing geometry and/or operational features of the freight transportation in- frastructure system and that can be implemented within a short period without extended disruption to traffic flow. Such an improvement may be physical, operational, or regulatory, as long as it enables greater and more efficient throughput from existing facilities. These actions may be spot (or location-specific) improvements or may be limited to short sections of the physical infrastructure. Likewise, they may be specific to a given supply chain process point, regulation, or mode; they may also affect multiple modes of freight movement. Furthermore, low-cost improvements do not involve massive reconstruction of infrastructure that usually takes many years to complete. Table ES-1 summarizes the modal characteristics of low-cost improvements that can be implemented quickly. Characterization of Improvements The ideal improvement action, which may be physical, operational, or regulatory, does not always correspond directly with the type of mobility constraint. For instance, opera- tional improvements can be used to address physical constraints and vice versa. Similarly, Table ES-1. Key features of low-cost and quickly implementable improvements. Mode Characteristics of Low-Cost Actions Time to Implement Less than $1 million Spot or location-specific improvements No environmental clearances necessary Highways No right-of-way acquisition Less than 1 year No special programming required Implementation at district or lowest operation unit level (limited direct HQ oversight) Class I railroad $1 million to $10 million Less than 2 years Railroads Regional railroad less than $2 million Less than 1 year Short-line railroad less than $500,000 Less than 6 months Less than $1 million Essentially incentive-based programs to influence Deepwater demand and changes in operational practices, and Ports & technology deployments Less than 2 years Inland Physical improvements coordinated with highway and Waterways rail projects within and outside the port terminals at links serving ports location-specific actions Uniqueness of each port acknowledged

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3 regulatory and policy actions can be implemented to mitigate operational and physical con- straints. Policy-type improvements are considered as regulatory, while economic-based actions that affect price and market-based solutions are classified as operational improve- ments. While physical improvements are quite distinct, certain types of improvements could fit either regulatory or operational categories. The following are generic definitions of the primary types of improvements: Physical Improvements--typically involve construction activities to improve geometry or to add capacity. Examples include widening of lanes, extensions to rail sidings to allow longer trains, and addition of space to increase terminal capacity. Operational Improvements--activities directed at reducing occurrences of conflicts and delays to traffic and processes and may include implementation of technology and changes in oper- ational schedules, practices, and sequences. Examples include upgrades to signal phasing at intersections, congestion pricing to control demand, use of economic-incentive strategies to control demand, and use of centralized train control systems. Regulatory Improvements--institution of or changes to regulations, policies, and actions that improve freight mobility on the transportation system. This includes labor agreements, stakeholder partnerships directed at improving cooperation among modes, and other pub- lic and private stakeholder partnerships for the primary goal of improving freight mobility. Examples include revisions of regulations governing the operating hours of freight vehicles especially in central business districts during peak hours, changes in land use and zoning laws to provide more parking for freight vehicles, and land border crossing requirements and controls. Analysis Tool A major output of this research is a methodology that decision makers can use to identify, categorize, and evaluate quickly implementable, low-cost capital, operational, and regulatory or public policy actions. The methodology is embodied in a computer-based application tool (available on the CD-ROM bound into this report) where users can identify constraints based on selectable criteria and then review possible improvements based on documentation of the past experiences of departments of transportation and others. Links to resources for more detailed information supporting each implemented project are also provided. Figure ES-1 shows the framework of the methodology. PHYSICAL EVALUATE Evaluate Improvement Actions MODE IMPROVEMENTS Highway Weaving Auxiliary lane Characterize Constraint Rail Turning radii SELECTION Widen lane Select Improvement Identify Constraints Deepwater ports Ramp meter & inland Re-striping waterway OPERATIONAL Switching conflicts Upgrade signals Terminal yard Etc. inefficiency CONSTRAINT COMPARE EXAMPLES RESOURCES TYPE Project #1 Physical REGULATORY Project #2 Parking restrictions Project #3 Links to Operational Labor laws Project #n documents Regulatory Definition of Definition of Definition of constraint type constraint improvement action Figure ES-1. Framework of methodology.

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4 Catalog of Improvements The tool was applied to develop a catalog of low-cost actions or classes of actions that can be quickly implemented to address freight-system mobility constraints especially along cor- ridors or at locations that impact freight mobility at a national level. The theme in develop- ing the catalog of actions was to identify proven low-cost improvements that have the poten- tial to enhance freight mobility to a noticeable extent even though such actions may not by themselves necessarily remove the constraint entirely. The catalog of improvements targets locations or corridors where major constraints within each modal freight transportation network occur. Improvements presented in the catalog are generic; however, implementa- tion at a particular location would require consideration of specific site characteristics and operational practices. Similarly, given the uniqueness of each deepwater port, an effective action at one port may not necessarily be effective at another port. Recommendations for Further Research Recommendations are provided to enhance utility and usefulness of the tool. The method- ology is data driven and therefore, to serve a useful purpose, the database needs to be con- tinuously updated to remain relevant. It is therefore recommended to develop a mechanism for adding new project data to the database as improvement projects are implemented. No such mechanism currently exists to collect, process, and report low-cost freight mobility constraint improvement projects. Furthermore, to facilitate updates to the database and enhance the future usefulness of the tool, it is recommended that the tool be converted to a web-based software application tool. A collaborative effort among public and private modal stakeholders will be needed to develop and utilize the data collection mechanism to facilitate continuous updates to the database. The methodology was developed acknowledging that it would be integrated into the stan- dard project development process, which each state department of transportation and met- ropolitan planning organization is required to have in order to use state or Federal funds to implement such projects. Further research is needed to develop the guidelines for integrat- ing the tool with the project development process at the state and local levels.