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56 level. A low-cost improvement project is generally considered longer trains, addition of turning lanes at intersections, and to cost $1 million or less, and a quickly implementable project addition of space to increase terminal capacity. is to take 1 year or less to complete. Railroads: The definition of a low-cost and quickly imple- 5.3.2 Operational Improvements mentable improvement project varies depending on the category of the railroad. For a short-line railroad, a low-cost Operational improvements are directed at reducing occur- improvement project is one that is less than $500,000 while a rences of conflicts and delays to processes and traffic through quickly implementable project would be completed in less than the implementation of technology, changes in operational 6 months. For a regional railroad of modest size, projects that schedules, and sequences. Examples include use of intelli- cost less than $2 million and that could be completed in 2 years gent transportation systems to provide traveler information, would fit the criteria. A major Class I railroad, on the other changes in signal phasing at intersections, congestion pricing hand, thought the cost range might be more like $1 million to to control demand, use of economic-incentive strategies to $10 million. Right-of-way acquisition almost always delays a control demand, and use of centralized train control systems. project and eliminates it from the low-cost category. Deepwater Ports and Inland Waterways: Low-cost opera- 5.3.3 Regulatory Improvements tional improvements are typically economic-incentivebased programs that influence demand, lead to changes in operations Regulatory improvements entail the institution, relaxation, and processes (including the use of advanced technologies), or modification of regulations, policies, and actions that and encourage modal shift. Low-cost physical improvements improve freight mobility on the transportation system. These to reduce existing and potential port congestion and enhance improvements include labor agreements, technology standards, landside freight movement may need to be coordinated with and stakeholder partnerships directed at improving coopera- highway and rail improvements both within and outside the tion among modes and among public and private stakeholders terminal. These improvements facilitate intermodal activities, for the primary goal of improving freight mobility. Examples e.g., restriping and signal timing changes at intersections lead- include relaxation or modification of regulations governing the ing to port terminals and improvements of rail tracks and operating hours of freight vehicles especially in central business switches. A low-cost and quickly implementable improvement districts during peak hours, changes in land use and zoning for both deepwater ports and inland waterways would cost up laws to provide more parking for freight vehicles, and land bor- to $1 million and require up to 2 years for implementation. der crossing requirements and controls. 5.3 Characterization 5.4 Low-Cost Strategies for of Improvements Addressing Mobility Constraints The type of improvement is not determined by the type of This section discusses improvement strategies that have constraint. Operational improvements can be used to address been deployed by public agencies and private stakeholders physical constraints and vice versa. Similarly, regulatory and to address and mitigate freight mobility constraints. These policy actions can be implemented to remove operational strategies are derived from the results of the interviews and and physical constraints. Consistent with the type of con- surveys with representatives of public agencies and private straint, the three main types of improvements are defined stakeholders involved in freight movement. Also presented below. Policy-type improvements are considered under the reg- are the processes used and factors considered in selecting ulatory type, while economic-based actions that affect price and improvements. market-based solutions are classified as operational improve- ments. These definitions are generic, and while physical 5.4.1 Highways Improvement Strategies improvements are quite distinct, certain types of improve- ments could fit either regulatory or operational categories. The Responses from public-sector representatives such as state grouping or labeling is less important than the actual strategy DOT and MPO officials are separated from the private sector or action itself. (e.g., trucking industry) in order to distinguish their perspec- tives on strategies to address freight mobility constraints. 5.3.1 Physical Improvements 220.127.116.11 Public-Sector Strategies Physical improvements involve construction activities to improve geometry or add capacity by adding more usable A wide variety of strategies are in use by the responding space. Examples include extensions to rail sidings to allow agencies to address freight mobility constraints in order to
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57 reduce congestion on the highway system. Examples of low- Different truck types are now being used with uncertain cost physical improvements include: turning characteristics. Generally the view is that trucks are more maneuverable now (doubles and triples have lesser · Operational capacity improvements such as auxiliary lanes requirements). Offsetting light standards, signs, poles, and between interchanges to reduce weave movements improving the turning radii at intersections with tight turns are · Selected improvements at system interchanges to eliminate effective improvements. at-grade merges or inside merge conditions Traveler information including advance notification of · Location-specific arterial improvements such as improved work zones, closures, and detours for motor carriers was seen turning radii, the addition of turn slots, or the consolida- as very important to enhance mobility. Deployment and use tion of driveways to reduce conflict points of variable message signing with real-time information was · Restriping the merge/diverge areas to better serve demand viewed as valuable. Part of this problem involved notification · Shoulder usage, especially on interchange ramps of wide-load restrictions due to work zone configuration. · Modifying weaving. Stakeholders also identified the following specific low-cost operational and technological improvements to be potentially Table 25 compares the rankings of low-cost physical im- effective in addressing freight mobility constraints: provements as derived from results of the surveys. From the perspectives of the public sector (represented by state DOTs · Ramp metering and ramp closures and MPOs) and the private sector (motor carriers), traffic sig- · Intersection "channelization" or lane improvements nal synchronization and auxiliary lanes were ranked the most · Signal timing coordination effective low-cost actions in improving freight mobility on the · Various intelligent transportation system strategies such as highway systems. variable message boards to alert traffic of incidents and to Traffic signal synchronization was considered an effective advise motorists to seek alternate routes strategy but no example could be cited where it was applied · Advisory radio broadcasts to motor carriers warning them specifically for a freight corridor. The economics of truck oper- of accidents, steep grades, sharp turns, or other locations ation are such that minimizing braking and idling can produce of incidents that could cause delay or accidents substantial operating cost savings over time (as well as reduc- · "Quick clear" teams and policies to respond to accidents tions in emissions) in addition to whatever time savings are · Programmatic maintenance of traffic practices during con- garnered. struction to reduce delay. These can include night construc- Whereas steep grades can be implemented more as a safety tion, use of temporary lanes, and contractual incentives for countermeasure, they can be mobility constraints especially contractors to complete work quickly. where the truck volume is high. In such cases, the use of truck climbing lanes is effective in addressing the constraint. One of the most mature and detailed operational approaches It was noted that the basis for AASHTO design of accelera- to freight congestion relief is taken by the I-95 Corridor Coali- tion and deceleration lanes is the passenger car. Motor carriers tion (86). The Coalition offers extensive training in operational recommend that truck acceleration capabilities be part of high- strategies such as "quick clear," and other practices to pro- way geometric design criteria. mote greater efficiency along the corridor. It encourages Table 25. Top ranked improvements. Public Sector (State DOTs and MPOs) Private Sector (Motor Carriers) 1. Traffic signal synchronization 1. Traffic signal synchronization 2. Auxiliary lanes 2. Auxiliary lanes 3. Truck climbing lanes 3. Acceleration and deceleration lanes 4. Improved intersection turn radius 4. Truck climbing lanes 5. Truck restrictions 5. Restriping to add more lanes 6. Acceleration and deceleration lanes 6. Paved shoulders 7. Intersection turn lanes 7. Traveler information 8. Restriping to add more lanes 9. Ramp metering 10. Ramp widening 11. Temporary ramp closure 12. Traveler information 13. Removal of vertical clearance impediments 14. Paved shoulders
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58 agencies to work cooperatively to promote regional approaches 40 intended to maximize the existing capacity in the corridor and Percent of Respondents to improve bottlenecks, whether they are physical, opera- 30 tional, or regulatory. 20 18.104.22.168 Methods and Approaches 10 to Selecting Improvements Data gathered from the survey of stakeholders indicate that 0 Benefit-Cost Historical Stakeholder state DOTs and MPOs use cost, availability of funding, and analysis information (past /customer input regulatory requirements as the main factors when considering performance) a low-cost improvement action to address a mobility con- Figure 20. Steps in selecting improvements. straint (Figure 19). However, in comparing alternative poten- tial improvements, historical information on past project performance and stakeholder/customer inputs (Figure 20) are quantified. Range factors and thresholds are used, such the factors most often considered. The figure suggests that as the volume of freight, number of flights, port volumes, benefit-cost analysis is less often used in selecting improvement and regional connectivity of corridors. Ranges and val- options. ues are used to identify facilities and then to categorize Agencies use different strategies to select improvements but them by importance. However, when individual actions most depended upon both quantitative and qualitative consid- are taken to improve those facilities, additional qualita- erations. In some cases, quantifiable factors were used to iden- tive factors are considered. These include the importance tify candidate projects which then were ranked by qualitative given to the project by regional planning officials, speed factors. In other cases, qualitative factors were used to identify with which the improvement can be implemented, per- potential actions which then were finally selected based upon ceived economic benefit, and the degree of local finan- quantitative scoring. The following examples illustrate the steps cial support. used by different agencies: · In Ohio, the identification of high-crash freeway locations was formal and quantified. The department sought out loca- · In the greater Phoenix area, the Maricopa Association of tions that had crashes well above the mean for a 3-year Governments and Arizona DOT cooperate on the identi- period. The department then analyzed crash locations by fication of locations where auxiliary lanes could be added crash type such as rear-end, angle, or head-on to help iden- to improve weave and merge conditions. The locations tify countermeasures. Finally, the qualified judgment of are selected upon "hard" factors such as traffic volumes engineers as to the speed of construction, cost, and effective- and crash histories but also "soft" factors such as ease of ness of the countermeasure was considered before finally implementation. selecting a project or action. · In Florida, the identification of routes and facilities for · Ohio followed a similar process for identifying high-con- inclusion on the Strategic Intermodal System is formally gestion freeway locations. The top 250 high-congestion freeway locations were analyzed based upon traffic volumes 20 and volume to capacity ratios. Candidate projects were then given qualitative assessments by engineers as to the feasibil- Percent of Respondents 16 ity of improvements considering factors such as cost, envi- 12 ronmental constraints, or community sensibility. Projects that passed those quantitative and qualitative factors were 8 then ranked by additional factors such as crash history, vol- umes, congestion, truck volumes, economic impact, and 4 regional priority for the project. · Oregon's ConnectOregon non-highway freight projects 0 and its highway-focused Transportation Innovation and requirements (perceived and availability Implementation Risk Cost Safety Security Regulatory Funding Operations Demonstration Program projects are solicited Benefits actual) time through public calls for applications. Formal applications are submitted and the data included in the applications are used for quantitative and qualitative ranking by indepen- Figure 19. Factors for evaluating improvements. dent panels.
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59 A strategy used by some organizations to respond to freight that can be implemented within 5-year and 25-year planning mobility constraints is to solicit input from freight stakehold- horizons. Outreach meetings to identify freight-system defi- ers. The Maricopa Association of Governments formed a ciencies and to recommend solutions are now under way. freight advisory group and invited a member of a prominent These meetings are being held across the state, and participa- logistics firm to serve on its board. In Utah, the DOT's freight tion of both public and private stakeholders is encouraged. coordinator sought out trucking firms for group meetings in which they would review maps and share experiences in order 22.214.171.124 Effectiveness of Improvements to identify mobility constraints. Caltrans has one of the largest freight mobility programs The formal evaluation of project effectiveness is not com- in the nation. Beginning in June 2004, the state began a con- mon. From a freight effectiveness standpoint, no formal post- certed effort to assemble goods movement stakeholders. project evaluation processes were identified among the agencies Those efforts led to the publication of a Goods Movement interviewed. However data gathered from the surveys indicate Policy (87). That, in turn, was followed by a $107 billion that, for all three modes, stakeholders often use customer feed- freight investment program, which focuses on highways, rail, back and key performance indicators in assessing the success of and other freight infrastructure facilities. Complementary improvements, as shown in Figure 21. Benefit-cost ratio is not land use and environmental policies also were included in the routinely used to evaluate implemented projects, having been program. Caltrans officials indicate that the program will cited by fewer than 20 percent of respondents. result in significant capital investment but also will signifi- cantly increase the department's focus upon improved oper- 126.96.36.199 Private Sector Strategies ations of the system. They note that modeling indicates that without the state's Strategic Growth Plan, congestion will rise The survey results indicated that customer rebates or penal- by 35 percent. With the plan in place, congestion will rise ties for missed deliveries or pickups are common consequences nearly 19 percent. Even with the massive investment, conges- of congestion or delay. The following are the main impacts of tion will grow and will require continued use of operational delay and congestion on customers: strategies. Maryland DOT recently completed a Maryland Freight · Some customers have expanded, adapted, or changed Profile, which is an extensive data set that delineates the shipping/receiving hours at facilities. freight system. From there they are developing a Maryland · Cost of moving freight has increased due to congestion and Statewide Freight Plan in conjunction with internal staff and delay. outside freight stakeholders. Also in Maryland a Freight Proj- · Customers have had to stop or delay manufacturing activ- ect Needs Inventory has been drafted and will be further ities because goods are not received at a specific time due developed as the study continues. The Plan is designed to to congestion/delay. emphasize clear, achievable capital planning and outputs · Customers have been displeased by late or missed deliveries. Figure 21. Assessing success of improvements.
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60 The result of these impacts on shippers and distribution · Higher pay for drivers operating in congested areas centers is a decrease in operating efficiencies and subse- · More off-peak period operations quent increases in both operating costs and transportation · Earlier truck departure times and later arrival times costs. For example, trucking firms and 3PLs have had to · Adding terminals to cover smaller service areas modify business practices to mitigate the impact of freight · Carrier-imposed restrictions on the movement of high- mobility constraints on their businesses. Furthermore, value shipments freight mobility constraints impact motor carrier opera- · Facilitation of data exchange with shippers on the avail- tions in a number of ways. The most frequently reported ability of loads and preclearance for pickups or deliveries consequences are: · A greater propensity to operate less than full trucks · Additional charges for pickups and deliveries in congested · Increased operating costs areas or facilities. · Reduced revenue and equipment (e.g., tractor) utilization · Increased difficulty positioning equipment and drivers More than half of the fleets surveyed (60 percent) indicated · Increased driver turnover in congested areas that customers have not assisted in mitigating the impact of · Higher pricing to offset increased costs delay and congestion. Of the 40 percent that indicated that · Longer transit time customers had taken actions to help mitigate the impact of · Decreased levels of service. delay and congestion, the following aggregated responses were provided: The following actions are the top three specific actions often taken by motor carriers to reduce congestion and delay or to · Customers have allowed more driving time for travel mitigate mobility constraints: through congested areas or to locations with significant congestion 1. Use alternate routes to avoid congestion, which can result in · Customers have changed pickup and delivery hours trucks traveling on facilities that are not designed for heavy including: truck traffic, creating additional risks (including a lack of 24-hour access to trailer staging areas/drop yards available safe locations where drivers can take breaks) Early morning/late evening delivery times to help carriers 2. Reschedule trip/delivery avoid peak hour 3. Deploy in-cab communication. More efficient loading/unloading processes. Other common strategies to mitigate these operational Another area of emphasis commonly cited by respondents impacts include adding resources to maintain service levels is carrier recognition of the impacts of mobility constraints on such as drivers, tractors, trailers, terminals, and support per- their customers. As congestion and mobility constraints have sonnel. In addition to adding resources, carriers must utilize increased, the geographical area for just-in-time (JIT) inven- existing resources in innovative ways. Examples include the tory replenishment has decreased. Carriers must be aware of use of lower cube equipment (i.e., smaller trucks) to access customer efforts to mitigate constraints, as these efforts typi- areas with physical constraints, the use of third parties or cally also affect motor carrier operations. Actions taken to min- agents to make deliveries or pickups in severely congested imize effects of constraints on shippers include: areas, and a greater use of technology to monitor all aspects of fleet operations and costs. · Incentives for customers to maximize use of trailer capac- Another innovation is the more flexible use of drivers. For ity by double-stacking pallets during loading example, respondents note local pickup and delivery routes are · Incentives for off-hours pickup and delivery appointments oftentimes a joint decision between management and drivers, (for some segments) with a strong emphasis on efforts to keep drivers on regular · Carrier efforts to cultivate relationships between drivers routes. There is also a growing trend of driver swaps and and regular customers relays. Carriers also prefer to use team drivers for high-value · Encouraging customer use of reduced packaging sizes loads to avoid unsafe routes or lack of adequate and secure · Relocating or adding terminals or drop yards closer to cus- parking facilities. tomer locations. In response to carrier needs for more flexibility of driver use, recent labor contracts now allow carriers to use "hybrid" A final proposed solution is the development of a more drivers, a type of driver that may be used for line-haul or local cohesive marketplace between carriers and shippers, where pickup and delivery. Other actions taken by carriers to miti- shippers play a larger role in the efficient movement of freight. gate mobility constraints include: In this model, motor carriers would provide a driver and a trac-