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;; Freight location decisions rarely respond to a "build it and they will come" approach by the public sector, yet it is also true that having the necessary support infrastructure in place can be a great incentive if the location is a good one and other factors are positive. This chapter will broadly describe how companies decide where to place freight facilities beginning with the early planning stages up through final site selection. Chapter 5 will provide a more in-depth look at 11 key criteria typically used to evaluate candidate sites. (Chapter 3 has already discussed the importance of the groundwork communities can undertake and the collaboration they can build to greatly increase the potential for success for freight facility development in their communities.) Site selection: the big picture Companies will first internally examine their current and future needs and then develop a planning framework to determine how best to externally address these needs. Location planning is methodical and iterative, usually involving a team of individuals within a company. Site selection decisions typically involve at least the following four Location screening is methodical steps: and iterative.... 1. Defining the company's business strategy and the success parameters for the new (or relocated) facility. 2. Developing the site selection criteria, usually phased in such a way as to allow a progressive evaluation from broad to specific, region to community. 3. Examining the communities and sites directly through on-site visits. 4. Involving three to four sites and communities in detailed discussions and negotiations. As noted above, location planning is methodical and iterative. Factors will vary in importance throughout the process. For example, access 30 Freight Facility Location Selection: A Guide for Public Officials