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18 making funding decisions for freight investments. Finally, in format that portrays the magnitude and incidence of benefits, addressing the private-sector component of the benefits analy- costs, and impacts. This Freight Evaluation Framework was sis, it recognizes the variety of private-sector entities involved developed specifically to address the three objectives described in freight investments, including recognition of the different above. It is based on a recognition that freight transportation performance requirements and perspectives of different types projects tend to be multilayered, in the sense that they have of modal carriers and logistics service providers (LSPs), carri- both public and private stakeholders responsible for different ers versus shippers, and different types of shippers. aspects of project planning, financing, and operation. The The Framework was developed, and is designed to be Framework itself is comprised of a practical set of formats for applied, with the following three main functions in mind: information collection and reporting of analysis findings, with guidance on their use. It is designed to support public- To Enhance Public Planning and Decision-Making private agency discussions, to be applicable across different Processes Regarding Freight--State DOTs and MPOs types of projects and different modes of transportation, and are increasingly facing freight planning issues, which by to build upon already available tools and data sources. their very nature involve a combination of public interests, The Freight Evaluation Framework was developed using a private-operator interests, and shipper/industry interests. series of research efforts that are described in subsequent sec- As a result, freight planners face a growing need to consider tions of this report. The complete research plan is provided the roles and perspectives of these other parties in their in Appendix A. First, the research team reviewed prior stud- public agency decision-making processes, but often are ies, including research reports and guidebooks, that have not equipped to do so. The Freight Evaluation Framework documented freight planning and programming processes provides a common method to help planners understand used by states and MPOs around North America. This was the wide range of perspectives and interests in potential followed by a review of methods currently used to assess freight investments, and to more effectively integrate those freight benefits or prioritize improvement projects, including interests within a decision-making process. state-specific planning processes and nationally available To Supplement Benefit/Cost Assessment with Distribu- evaluation and planning guidelines for general transportation tional Impact Measures--The traditional form of benefit/ planning. cost analysis, which compares total benefits and total costs Second, the research team assessed the differences among of alternatives, may work for projects that are publicly various public- and private-sector views of project benefits financed, built, owned, and operated. However, that form and costs. This effort focused on identifying the fundamental of analysis is not sufficient for freight project plans that differences between local-scale freight projects, national net- require public-sector negotiation with private infrastruc- work capacity projects, and international port or gateway ture owners and freight service providers. In those situa- projects, in terms of the parties involved and classes of bene- tions, there is a real need to consider the distribution of fits and costs. It also examined the complexities involved in cost burdens and benefits among parties, particularly those assessing benefits and costs of systemwide improvements to that have a role in project funding and implementation. highway networks, rail networks, port distribution systems, To Advance Public-Private Cooperation--Often, freight and multimodal projects that have effects on different types projects can only be implemented if there is cooperation of stakeholders at different spatial scales. between public agencies and private parties in terms of Third, the research team assessed available project evaluation responsibility for infrastructure facility financing, develop- and impact analysis tools that are available for specific modes, ment, operation, and maintenance. That requires some including both public- and private-sector benefit assessment degree of trust that neither party is taking advantage of tools. These various tools covered freight project impacts on the other. So, to craft appropriate financial and operating freight carriers and transportation service providers, shippers agreements, public agencies and private companies need a and end users, and on broader income and economic growth. framework and process that both can accept to provide Fourth, the research team conducted a series of interviews transparency and enable understanding of the concerns of with transportation planners representing a range of differ- the other. ent agencies, to identify key issues of concern to them and to identify available examples of multimodal freight projects around the United States in which project benefits and costs 1.1 Summary of the Technical have been examined. Approach and Product Based on those four lines of research, the research team This project report describes the development and appli- developed the Freight Evaluation Framework for assessing cation of a process and framework for evaluating alternative benefits and costs of different types of freight projects, which designs and proposals for freight transportation projects, in a was designed to cover a wide range of modal combinations,