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88 physical infrastructure. Likewise, they may be specific to a given implementable, low-cost capital, operational, and regula- supply chain process point, regulation, or mode; they may also tory or public policy actions designed to enhance freight affect multiple modes of freight movement. Furthermore, low- mobility by addressing identified constraints. The methodol- cost improvements do not involve massive reconstruction of infrastructure that usually takes many years to complete. ogy is embodied in a computer-based application tool (avail- able on the CD-ROM bound into this report) where decision Mode-specific criteria for low-cost, quickly implementable makers make selections to define the constraint and select improvements to address freight mobility constraints may be possible actions to address it based on previously imple- as follows: mented improvements elsewhere. The software is designed with a wizard-style user interface that facilitates navigation · Highways--a low-cost and quickly implementable improve- through the program. The user can also view sample projects ment does not require special programming, environmen- where the actions have been implemented or proposed. The tal clearances, or right-of-way acquisition and is within tool is backed by a database of information on historical low- budget limitations, enabling implementation at a district cost improvements. level. A low-cost improvement project is typically a spot improvement and generally costs $1 million or less, and is considered "quickly implementable" when it can be com- Catalog of Improvements pleted in 1 year or less. The tool was applied to develop a catalog of low-cost actions · Railroads--a low-cost and quickly implementable improve- or classes of actions that can be quickly implemented to address ment project depends on the category of the railroad. For freight-system mobility constraints especially along corridors a short-line railroad, a low-cost improvement project is or at locations that impact freight mobility at a national level. one that is less than $500,000 and able to be completed in The theme in developing the catalog of actions was to iden- less than 6 months. For a regional railroad of modest size, tify proven low-cost improvements that have the potential to projects costing less than $2 million and that could be enhance freight mobility to noticeable extents even though completed within a year would fit the criteria. For a Class I such actions may not by themselves necessarily remove the railroad, the cost would be $1 million to $10 million and constraint entirely. The catalog of improvements targets the project could be completed within 2 years. locations or corridors where major constraints within each · Deepwater Coastal Ports and Inland Waterways--low-cost modal freight transportation network occur. Improvements improvements are typically economic-incentive-based pro- presented in the catalog are generic, however, implementa- grams that influence demand, changes in operations and tion at a particular location would require consideration of processes (including the use of advanced technologies), specific site characteristics and operational practices. Simi- and projects that encourage modal shift. Physical low- larly, given the uniqueness of each deepwater port, an effec- cost improvements are coordinated with highway and rail improvements both within and outside the terminal. A low- tive action at one port may not necessarily be effective at cost and quickly implementable improvement across both another port. deepwater ports and inland waterways is defined as costing up to $1 million and able to be completed within 2 years. 8.2 Recommendations for Further Research The type of improvement is not determined by the type of constraint. Operational improvements can be used to address The methodology is data driven and therefore, to serve a use- physical constraints and vice versa. Similarly, regulatory and ful purpose, the database needs to remain dynamic and be con- policy actions can be implemented to remove operational tinuously updated. It is therefore recommended to develop a and physical constraints. Policy-type improvements are con- mechanism to keep updating and adding new actions to the sidered under the regulatory type, while economic-based database as additional information becomes available. No such actions that affect price and market-based solutions are clas- mechanism currently exists to collect and process low-cost sified as operational improvements. These definitions are freight mobility constraint improvement projects. Research is generic, and while physical improvements are quite distinct, needed to develop a mechanism for collecting and reporting certain types of improvements could fit either regulatory or project data to update the database on a continuous basis. operational categories. A standardized process similar to the Highway Performance Monitoring System is suggested to define, describe, or measure low-cost freight mobility constraint improvement projects. A Methodology web-based application is recommended to facilitate the process. A major output of this research is a methodology that deci- To enhance the usefulness of the tool and to facilitate sion makers can use to identify, categorize, and evaluate quickly updates to the database, it is further recommended that the
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89 tool be converted to a web-based software application tool the TRB website (www.trb.org). It is also suggested to the once sufficient data are included in the database. A collabo- extent possible, the geographic specificity of the locations of rative effort among modal stakeholders will be needed to implemented low-cost improvement projects be included so develop and utilize the data collection mechanism and to facil- that the tool can be converted to a GIS web-based application itate continuous update of the database. Such a mechanism to improve its utility. will include a feedback screen to capture strategies selected by The methodology was developed acknowledging that it policy/decision makers to resolve mobility issues. This infor- would be integrated into the standard Project Development mation will contribute to the database and add intelligence to Process, which each state DOT and MPO is required to have the application. in order to use state or Federal funds to implement such proj- In its current form, the tool is developed as standalone ects. Research is needed to guide the integration of the tool software that is available on CD-ROM or via download from with the project development process.