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18 CHAPTER 3 Dimensions and Characteristics of the Freight System 3.1 Introduction producers, and logistics personnel use. These three compo- nents influence one another, as shippers and carriers react to The dimensions of the North American freight transporta- congestion, distance, price, and customer demands to choose tion network reflect the dimensions and needs of the North the most efficient mode and route. The following sections American economy. The U.S. economy is closely tied to the describe these three components for the various modes. Canadian and Mexican economies, and increasingly relies on international trade. For example, trade with China grew from $85 billion in 1998 to $343 billion in 2006, representative of 3.3 System Performance recent trade patterns (40). In total, transportation and its related With the emergence of significant roadway congestion and components compose about 11 percent of the total U.S. econ- mobility constraints and recognition of the criticality of freight omy, according to the USDOT (41). Consequently, the freight movement to the nation's economy, there is a renewed em- transport network in the United States has evolved to serve not phasis on the development of freight performance measures. only the increasing domestic freight demand but also an even Through the use of technology that provides vehicle and ship- higher increase in international freight movement. However, ment tracking, the freight transportation industry and other the rate of growth in freight demand has outpaced the rate of stakeholders can provide decision makers more detailed data transportation infrastructure capacity expansion and mainte- and information on freight movements than was available nance funding levels. This chapter describes the dimensions of in the past. the freight system in terms of (i) the physical infrastructure and Figure 2 shows the distribution of freight volume on the modal characteristics and (ii) freight mobility constraints. entire freight transportation system--highway, rail, and inland waterways. The figure is based on data from different modal 3.2 Networks and System sources and represents 2002 data for rail and water and 2007 Characteristics data for highway. The figure shows the segments of the net- work with high freight volumes that indicate potential loca- This section describes the nature of the freight transporta- tions of congestion. Clearly, all modes have locations where tion network for highways, rail, and water modes. To system- capacity could be limited compared to other locations in the atically address freight mobility issues it is necessary to describe respective networks. and understand the dimensions of the freight system. Some In 2002, FHWA initiated the Freight Analysis Framework of the literal dimensions of the physical freight transportation (FAF) to integrate disparate data sources to provide estimates system are depicted in Table 1. These represent physical infra- of commodity flows, based on the origin and destination of structure and important components of the freight transporta- freight movements. The original iteration of FAF, also known tion system. Another important component is illustrated in as FAF1, was based on 1998 data and provided estimates for Table 2, which highlights some of the physical rolling stock-- commodity flow volumes at the state, regional, and interna- trucks, locomotives, ships, airplanes, and other vehicles that tional levels for 2010 and 2020. FAF2, the second generation, carry freight across the network (41). A third component could estimates 2002 volumes and values, provides forecasts through be considered the "Intellectual Infrastructure." This includes 2035, and is based on a host of public domain data sources. the logistics processes, the technology systems, the inventory- The FAF commodity origin destination database lays the foun- control systems, and the body of knowledge that shippers, dation for transportation infrastructure analysis.
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19 Table 1. Selected freight infrastructure Table 2. Freight vehicles (41, 47, 49, 50). statistics (4248). Vehicles by Mode Number Modal Category Length or Number Highway Highway Combination Trucks 2,276,661 Interstate Highway 47,344 miles All Other Trucks 5,650,619 National Highway System Rail 119,896 miles (excluding interstates) Class I Locomotives 20,505 Other Roads 3,849,257 miles Class I Freight Cars 477,751 Rail Other Freight Cars 691,329 Class I RRs 94,801 miles Deepwater Ports and Inland Waterways Regional Freight Lines 16,703 miles Self-propelled Vessels 8,621 Local Freight Lines 28,415 miles Barges (non-self-propelled) 32,381 Deepwater Ports and Inland Waterways Oceangoing ships1 426 Navigable Waterway 26,000 miles Airports Public Ports (#) 150 Air Carriers 8,194 Sea and River Ports (#) 230 1 - U.S. flag vessels 1000 gross tons or more Intermodal Terminals & Others Truck/Rail Terminals (#) 203 Oil Pipelines 64,336 miles Gas Transmission 309,503 miles Gas Distribution 1,079,565 miles Airports Public Use Airports (#) 5,286 Figure 2. Freight tonnage on freight transportation network (51).
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20 Table 3. National summary of freight volumes (million tons) (52). 2002 2008 2035 Mode Import & Import & Import Total Domestic Export Total Domestic Export Total Domestic & Export Total 19,328 17,670 1,658 21,497 19,387 2,110 37,212 33,668 3,544 Truck 11,539 11,336 203 13,243 13,040 203 22,814 22,231 583 Rail 1,879 1,769 110 2,007 1,861 146 3,525 3,292 233 Water1 701 595 106 632 520 112 1,042 874 168 Air, air & 11 3 8 13 3 10 61 10 51 truck Intermodal 1,292 196 1,096 1,661 175 1,486 2,598 334 2,264 Pipeline & 3,906 3,772 134 3,940 3,787 153 7,171 6,926 245 unknown 1 - The numbers for water mode in the FAF database do not match totals in the waterborne commerce data programs (e.g., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) because of differences in definitions and coverage. In an attempt to make the FAF into a useful tool for measur- throughout the United States and is intended to complement ing and analyzing the changing world of freight transportation, and provide real-time calibrations of the forecasts produced FHWA began developing annual provisional estimates of com- by FAF. Figure 3, an output of this project, shows the varia- modity movements including all modes of transportation start- tion of the average speeds on selected major freight corridors ing with the year 2005. The goal is to provide practitioners across the United States. This figure illustrates the impacts of in the areas of economic development and transportation freight mobility constraints on average truck speed. planning with the latest updates to data on goods movement. In 2008, the Transportation Research Board of the National Freight transportation providers can also use FAF in long- Academies initiated project NCFRP-03, "Performance Mea- range planning efforts. The provisional estimates are developed sures for Freight Transportation" (55). This research makes an based on publicly available freight data sources and methods effort to develop a comprehensive set of performance measures that can be fully disclosed to the general public. Table 3 shows to guide public policy decisions. The scope of these measures the 2002 FAF benchmark freight volumes in millions of tons by will include many aspects of the freight transportation system mode, the 2008 provisional estimates, and the 2035 forecasts. including: Note that the 2035 numbers have not been adjusted for the current economic recession. Table 4 shows the equivalent · Freight system efficiency and effectiveness values in billions of U.S. dollars and Table 5 compares the · Infrastructure capacity and condition average ton-miles. · Safety and security A second major initiative, the FHWA-sponsored project · Energy use and the environment. titled "Freight Performance Measurement (FPM): Travel Time in Freight-Significant Corridors," is based on the use of wire- The outcomes of these initiatives are expected to provide less truck position data to measure truck speed and demand decision makers with a basis for identifying and evaluating for roadways (54). This effort analyzes several million truck potential solutions to freight mobility constraints and provide movements on Interstate Highway System (IHS) corridors benefits to both motor carriers and the general public. Table 4. National summary of freight values (billion dollars) (52). 2002 2008 2035 Import Import Import Mode & & & Total Domestic Export Total Domestic Export Total Domestic Export Total 13,228 11,083 2,145 16,767 14,217 2,550 41,869 29,592 12,277 Truck 8,856 8,447 409 11,194 10,719 475 23,768 21,655 2,113 Rail 382 288 94 466 352 114 702 483 219 Water 102 76 26 44 27 17 152 103 49 Air, air & 771 162 609 1,022 206 816 5,924 721 5,203 truck Intermodal 1,967 983 984 1,881 779 1,102 8,966 4,315 4,651 Pipeline & 1,150 1,127 23 2,161 2,134 27 2,357 2,315 42 unknown