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CHAPTER 4 Using Freight Data for Planning Many factors contribute to the capacity challenges facing urban freight transportation net- works. The challenge of planning investments within an evolving system of both public and pri- vate facilities across multiple modes--and across local, state, interstate, and global geographies-- is made more difficult because timely, accurate freight data is often fragmented, not compatible across sources, or simply not available. As freight planning has become more important to public agencies, freight data has become a topic of intense interest. The landscape of available public and private freight data resources is intricate and growing. Between 2006 and 2010, NCFRP funded 40 projects, with approximately one-fourth devoted to freight data and related topics, such as NCFRP 03: Performance Measures for Freight Transportation, NCFRP 06: Freight Demand Modeling to Support Public-Sector Decision Making, NCFRP 11: Identification and Evaluation of Freight Demand Factors, NCFRP 12: Specifications for Freight Transportation Data Architecture, NCFRP 16: Representing Freight in Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Models, NCFRP 20: Guidebook for Developing Sub-national Commodity Flow Data, NCFRP 25: Freight Trip Generation Land Use, NCFRP 26: Freight Transportation Cost Data Elements, NCFRP 27: Promoting Environmental Goals in Freight Transportation through Industry Benchmarking, NCFRP 31: Overcoming Barriers to Sharing Freight Transportation Data. This chapter of the guidebook is intended only as a brief overview of freight data and its uses in a local planning context. The CD-ROM that accompanies this guidebook contains links to additional materials on freight data resources and more information about how these data sources can be used to address freight issues at a local level. The discussion here presents a geo- graphic framework for freight data categories, as well as general protocols for using primary and secondary data sources to address freight issues at the local planning level. For the public sector, reliable urban freight data can lead to better infrastructure and policy decisions that may improve urban freight operations and the livability of neighborhoods. For the private sector, supply chain reliability is crucial to business strategies that create competitive advantage. Multimodal transportation activities undertaken by MPOs strive for equilibrium between transport demand and community goals such as economic development, sustainable land use, environmental protection, and livable neighborhoods. Reliable data that addresses urban goods movement issues from multiple perspectives such as land use, infrastructure investment, traffic operations, safety, and economic development is often difficult to obtain because much of the most useful information resides with private-sector businesses providing transportation services or producing the products being delivered. 29