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6 Moreover, while public agencies have made substantial efforts ers and stakeholders and to facilitate examination of business to develop these strategies among different stakeholders and practices and institutional factors, including regulatory and funding sources, implementation has been coordinated for the other public policy initiatives. maximum benefits to be derived. Increasing the capacity of The second phase of the project (Tasks 6-9) used the survey the existing freight transportation system through innovative design developed in the first phase to gather data and infor- operational and low-cost capital improvements and demon- mation, develop and test the methodology, and structure an strating these results will benefit both the public and private implementation plan. This phase focused on the third objec- sectors, which are trying to keep the nation's freight moving tive of the project, namely to develop a methodology that in support of the national economy. private- and public-sector decision makers can use to iden- tify, categorize, and evaluate quickly implementable, low-cost capital, operational, and public policy actions that can address 1.2 Research Objectives system constraints and enhance freight mobility. The objectives of this project were to: The final phase of the project (Tasks 10 and 11) focused on estimating the likely national value of actions or classes of 1. Develop a more standardized description of the dimensions actions addressing freight-system mobility constraints. This of the freight system (e.g., elements of each mode and across phase addressed the culminating objective of the project, i.e., modes, stakeholders, types of mobility constraints) that to apply the methodology in a generic way to create a catalog will help improve communication among freight-system of actions that may be most useful in addressing the nation's decision makers and stakeholders. The goal is to facilitate freight-system mobility constraints. This phase presented the examination of freight-system mobility constraints and project findings in this document, which includes a user guide the operational practices or system enhancements used to for the software tool (Appendix A). address these constraints. 2. Analyze explicitly the business practices and institutional 1.3.2 Data Collection factors that influence freight-system decision makers and stakeholders as they respond to freight-system mobility Three information-gathering approaches were used: (i) a lit- constraints, regulatory changes, and other public policy erature review, (ii) telephone interviews and limited in-person initiatives. interviews with selected representatives of stakeholders, and 3. Develop a methodology that private- and public-sector (iii) a survey of a convenience sample of stakeholders. decision makers can use to identify, categorize, and eval- uate quickly implementable, low-cost capital, operational, Literature Reviews regulatory, and public policy actions focused on reducing system constraints. A comprehensive review of project reports and published 4. Apply that methodology in a generic way to create a cata- technical literature and an Internet search were conducted. log of actions that may be most useful in addressing the The purpose was to derive information on three key elements: nation's freight-system mobility constraints. (i) definition of freight mobility constraints, (ii) criteria for low-cost improvements directed at addressing freight mobility constraints, and (iii) sources of information on implemented 1.3 Research Approach projects. 1.3.1 Overview Interviews The project was divided into 11 tasks and grouped into three main phases. The project activities and deliverables in each The purpose of the interviews was to gather sufficient infor- phase and how they relate to the project objectives are shown mation to help develop a better understanding of constraints schematically in Figure 1. facing freight transportation by different modes and the range The first phase comprised the first five tasks. This phase of improvements taken to address these constraints. These established the baseline situation by defining the freight trans- interviews also identified sources of detailed information on portation system and designed a survey for collecting data nec- examples of implemented improvements by various agencies. essary to develop a methodology for selecting low-cost imple- The interviews preceded the survey and were designed to mentable physical and operational improvements to the freight gather pertinent and detailed information that cannot be transportation system. This phase addressed the first two objec- conveniently gathered through surveys, and to guide the tives of the project by developing a standardized description development of a focused survey instrument. Such informa- of the dimensions of the freight system. The effort was to help tion includes decision factors in evaluating and selecting improve communication among freight-system decision mak- improvements, detailed project descriptions including cost,

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7 Phase I: Phase II: Phase III: Tasks 1-5 Tasks 6-9 Tasks 10-11 Plan for assembling database Conduct survey of public Apply methodology to of case studies and private sector estimate national Define "low-cost quickly stakeholders level actions implementable" options Analyze survey results Develop catalog of Activities/tasks Literature review Methodology concept actions to address Conduct interviews and Develop methodology constraints populate with case study data Develop methodology Document findings from public and private implementation plan sectors Develop methodology Describe freight-system user guide dimensions for all modes Design survey plan (sample, instrument, protocol) Interim report #1 Interim report #3 Catalog of national Database structure, format, Survey results and level actions analytical framework analysis Sources of literature Methodology conceptual Final report Deliverables List of interviewees framework Dimensions of freight system Interim report #2 Interim report #4 Methodology Database of case studies of Methodology Implementation plan strategies implementation plan Methodology user Dimensions of freight system Methodology user guide guide Survey plan Results of beta test Project Objectives Develop a more standardized Develop a methodology to Apply that methodology in description of the dimensions of identify, categorize, and a generic way to create a the freight system evaluate quickly catalog of actions that implementable, low-cost may be most useful in Analyze explicitly the business capital, operational, and public addressing the nation's practices and institutional policy actions that can freight-system mobility factors that influence freight- enhance freight mobility by constraints. system decision makers and addressing system stakeholders constraints. Figure 1. Relation between project tasks and objectives. and expected versus actual impacts of improvements. The improvements taken to address these constraints. For the truck- results of the interviews and survey complement each other. ing industry, for example, targeted industry sectors included Interviews were conducted with representatives of key stake- less-than-truckload (LTL), truckload (TL), and specialized car- holders from both public agencies and private industry. These riers as well as third-party logistics providers (3PLs). Respon- two groups of stakeholders represent public agencies (e.g., state dents were chosen to represent carriers with regional or national DOTs, railroads) that provide and maintain the transporta- operations. Similarly for the railroads, a sample of Class I, tion infrastructure and private industry (e.g., truckers, shippers, regional, and short-line railroads were interviewed. Freight freight forwarders, and warehouse operators) that operate carriers of various sectors and scopes of operations were chosen and, for the most part, pay for infrastructure maintenance and to illustrate how mobility constraints affect carriers with signif- improvements. These users are directly impacted by the mobil- icantly different operating characteristics. In addition, various ity constraints and potentially will recognize the benefits of labor unions in the freight industry were interviewed.