Cover Image

Not for Sale



View/Hide Left Panel
Click for next page ( 38


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 37
37 volume trends. The USACE tracks waterborne freight volume The GAO reported to Congress repeatedly on efforts by on the U.S. Maritime Transportation System (MTS), as well FMCSA to improve the quality of truck-crash reports: as monitoring the age and condition of locks and dams. Rail volumes are reported by the FRA, as are aviation freight vol- Overall, commercial motor vehicle crash data does not yet meet general data quality standards of completeness, timeliness, umes by the FAA. Overall information about freight volumes, accuracy, and consistency. For example, according to FMCSA, as the modes they travel on, their value, and their origins and of fiscal year 2004 nearly one-third of commercial motor vehicle destinations are available. crashes that states are required to report to the federal govern- ment were not reported, and those that were reported were not always accurate, timely, or consistent.16 Disjointed Data Separate from the challenge of data volume is the challenge of inconsistency and integration of freight data to construct Lack of Performance Data a performance measurement framework. Most of the freight data sets were developed independently by different organi- Another finding of the research is that data about infra- zations for different purposes. One study concluded that the structure condition are more available than are data for freight data sets were a "disjointed patchwork" that frustrate users.11 system performance. For instance, data for the condition of bridges and pavements have long been available through the The disjointed array of data sources is cumbersome and dif- National Bridge Inventory and through HPMS. However, ficult to use, lacking in geographic detail, and notably deficient information on overall performance as measured by truck in covering increasingly important motor carrier flows. Several speeds is only recently being developed through research by users also expressed concern about the unnecessary burden on data providers, who may be asked to provide similar data to the FHWA and ATRI. Although USACE measures the infra- different organizations--sometimes in different formats. This structure condition of the maritime transport system and the heavy respondent burden is likely to hinder efforts to gather volumes on it, the Corps does not report on the travel time quality data. or reliability of water shipments. Likewise, despite the volu- minous information available on railroads, information on AASHTO's Standing Committee on Performance Manage- the speed and reliability of shipments is not being produced. ment has sponsored research projects that illustrate that dif- Data on the relative speed of individual modes are available ferences exist in how two basic sets of transportation perfor- in some forms. The FHWA/ATRI data, HPMS speed esti- mance data are gathered. The research projects12, 13 examined mates, and the AAR train-speed data provide general insight how state transportation agencies collected and reported data into the travel times on major highways and railroads. How- for pavement conditions and project completion. Although ever, the overall speed and travel reliability of supply chains pavement roughness data are collected by profilometer vehi- that rely upon handoffs between modes is not available in the cles, the study noted that variations in how the equipment public domain. Package firms such as UPS and FedEx, major was calibrated, whether states measured one or two wheel truck carriers, and the Class I railroads generally use GPS to paths, and how consistently the vehicles stayed in the wheel track packages and freight. However, the data are available path all affect results. The issue of differences in how states to their customers only for individual shipments. It is not collect pavement roughness data prompted the FHWA to aggregated for publication. include a separate table in its Highway Statistics report that notes the variations in the data collection methods.14 In its Report to Congress on the Performance of Ports and the Lack of Well-Defined Goals Intermodal System,15 MARAD noted that a lack of common As has been mentioned, most performance measurement performance measures and the lack of a reporting process systems evaluate the success of policies, programs, or entities has stymied its attempts to measure the efficiency of major to achieve their goals. As there is no national freight policy, U.S. ports. It informed Congress that it was unable to assess few explicit freight programs, and no single national freight congestion levels at ports or to assess the performance of the agency, freight performance measurement lacks a clarifying nation's intermodal system overall. set of priorities upon which measures would focus. In the Framework for a National Freight Policy,17 USDOT MARAD was unable to provide the requested comparison of has taken the first steps toward outlining the components the most congested ports in terms of operational efficiency due to a lack of consistent national port efficiency data. Given the of a national freight policy. USDOT emphasizes that a diverse characteristics of U.S. ports, comparing port efficiency true freight policy would come as the result of extensive would require the creation of new methodologies and the collec- consultation with the many public and private stakehold- tion of data that were not available for this report. ers and would probably involve considerable political dis-