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86 Truck Drayage Productivity Guide Table 113. Below-average traffic flow at key ports. Source: Intermodal Access to U.S. Ports Report on the 20022003 Survey Findings, MARAD, 2003. Table 114. Reasons for below-average port-area traffic flow. Source: Intermodal Access to U.S. Ports Report on the 20022003 Survey Findings, MARAD, 2003. 46 hours for NYNJ. It is likely that those figures underestimate the impact on drayage operations that make multiple daily trips in the most congested areas. A 2003 MARAD survey highlighted common congestion at large strategic ports (Table 113) and pinpointed some of the features that contribute to the congestion (Table 114). The increasing congestion on port access routes is symptomatic of broader nationwide infra- structure issues. As the United States falls further behind in building and maintaining the roads and highways needed to support a growing population and economy, ports and the drayage firms that serve them, suffer along with most other sectors. With state, local, and federal highway and road expenditures far below sustainable levels, port drayage needs must compete with com- muters, domestic truckers, and every other road user for limited funds and capacity. Road and Highway Congestion Solutions Infrastructure Project Participation Although the scope of regional or even local highway infrastructure projects is often outside the influence of port drayage stakeholders, port-area improvements should provide opportuni- ties for involvement. In the study team's experience, however, infrastructure planners rarely reach out to working truckers for their input. Congestion on urban streets and highways is ordinarily beyond the control of terminals or truckers, but port authorities may have some influence. Extended gate hours (early morning and late evening) can assist truckers in avoiding the worst peak traffic hours and can push some port- related traffic to less congested periods. When designing programs to shift dray traffic to off-peak periods, it is important to first understand the network of pickup and delivery points served by

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Congestion on Streets and Highways 87 dray trucks. If the warehouses and distribution centers only work during the normal work day, late terminal hours are not likely to produce significant shifts. If, however, the majority of deliv- eries are to 24-hour distribution centers, then expanded terminal hours can be effective in less- ening the conflicts between dray trucks and passenger vehicles. Planners also should be cognizant that imports and exports sometimes follow distinct patterns of activity. For example, a greater percentage of imports may be tied to large 24-hour import distribution centers while exports are driven by a network of smaller shippers that are only open during the work day. Furthermore, under the owner-operator model, the majority of trucks will work the same number of hours as their respective drivers. Thus, in order for a driver to choose to shift hours to off-peak, the driver must be guaranteed a utilization rate equal to the forgone daytime hours. Finally, in all but the largest ports, the percentage of the total traffic mix represented by dray trucks will drop rapidly outside of the immediate port area. Therefore, it is important not to overstate the likely conges- tion benefits that might be attained by shifting a percentage of trucks to the evening hours. The Barbours Cut Boulevard project in Houston is an example of the jurisdictional complex- ity that can create barriers to stakeholder involvement. Although highway departments, regional planning agencies, municipalities, and even port authorities may have staff dedicated to such projects, truckers and terminal operators do not. It can be a daunting task for drayage firms, owners, or managers to attend multiple meetings over the course of several years. The key to successful participation in planning efforts is proactivity. The Port of Oakland was highly successful in the post-earthquake rebuilding of adjacent freeways and on-/off-ramps start- ing in 1989. The port had begun closer ties with local and regional planners in conjunction with dredging and military base redevelopment efforts, and continued that working relationship after the Loma Prieta earthquake. Port representatives were already known in the planning commu- nity, and the port was duly notified of meetings, comment periods, etc. As a result, the new free- way provides much better port access than the previous structure. The formation of regional associations such as the Bi-State Truckers in NYNJ and similar organizations in Southern California and elsewhere offers a means of claiming "a seat at the table" and sharing the burden across multiple firms.