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35 CHAPTER 4 Freight Performance Measures Whereas Chapter 3 found relatively little use of freight per- Motor Carrier Annual Report lists the key elements of a cost- formance measures by state DOTs, this chapter documents per-mile calculation for trucking. The ATA's U.S. Freight that a significant amount of freight system performance Transportation Forecast tracks trends and forecasts in manu- information is available from other sources. Much of this facturing, construction, agricultural commodities, mining, information exists as data within federal databases, as reports and non-oil merchandise imports that affect truck freight to federal regulatory agencies, and as published reports by volumes. ATA's Trucking Trends report provides information private-sector companies such as railroads. regarding trucking company commodity flows, the number A primary finding is that freight performance measure- of company failures, tonnage and revenue growth, revenue ment is challenged both by an abundance of data and by a per mile, and trucking producer price indices.6 lack of complete data for many important freight system per- From the available data, performance measures can be formance functions. Sorting and selecting from the volumi- produced annually for categories such as the number and nous available data sources is one daunting challenge. Clos- severity of truck crashes, volumes of freight shipped, general ing data gaps is another. trends of trucking costs, and periodic measures of travel time The following section summarizes the performance infor- and travel reliability on the IHS. Real-time operation perfor- mation that is available. More detail is provided in Appendi- mance information is much less available across the network. ces C and D. Also, because trucking occurs disproportionately upon the higher functional classes of roadways, the condition data regarding pavement and bridge conditions can be used to Trucking Data measure the relative condition of the functional classes that For the trucking mode, data from which performance carry the majority of freight. measures could be derived are extensive. The Freight Analy- sis Framework synthesizes several databases to produce truck Rail Data volume data nationally and by state.1 The Fatality Analysis Reporting System includes statistics and a data base query Although largely deregulated, the U.S. railroads still pro- tool for highway crashes, including those involving trucks.2 duce significant volumes of performance information to the Further drilling into performance of truck safety is possible FRA, to the Surface Transportation Board (STB), and to indi- through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration vidual state regulatory commissions. More than 1,500 catego- (FMCSA) query tools that allow analysis of the safety records ries of statistics are reported for each of the Class I railroads and inspection histories of individual motor carriers.3 FHWA in the Statistics of Class I Freight Railroads report required by is partnering with ATRI to use global positioning system the STB.7 These data include uniform reporting of income, (GPS) data from hundreds of thousands of trucks to mea- expenses, investments in track, equipment investments, and sure the speed and reliability of truck movements on the depreciation by various categories. The Federal Railroad Interstate Highway System (IHS).4 USDOT's Pipeline and Administration Office of Safety Analysis provides search Hazardous Materials Safety Administration maintains data- and query tools to conduct analyses of railroad crashes.8 bases of hazardous materials releases5 for highway, air, water, The query tools link to federal crash databases that allow and rail modes. The American Trucking Associations' (ATA) for analysis of crashes by railroads, state, crash types, and