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Using Freight Data for Planning 33 Freight Node Data Freight nodes represent the consolidated or individual endpoints that generate or receive freight flows. Nodes are also the key points of production, consumption, or intermediate han- dling for goods. Freight facility/node information can be useful in a planning context for travel demand modeling, land-use planning, and environmental analysis. Quick Response Freight Manual II, (Beagan et al. 2010) a freight modeling resource published by FHWA, points out that the first step in traditional four-step travel forecasting is to understand trip generation rates. There are two approaches for understanding trip generation rates at a local level: (1) conduct local surveys of vehicles generated by major freight nodes in a given travel analysis zone (TAZ) or (2) apply national default generation rates based on industry employ- ment by TAZ. The former are more expensive, but the latter suffer from a variety of problems affecting industry specificity, productivity, mode usage, and supply chain design. Exhibit 4-4 shows GIS mapping of the estimated tons produced by individual freight nodes within a TAZ. Freight facility/node information can be useful for site planning (i.e., understanding the traf- fic impacts of a new or expanded freight facility). Finally, node data also is important in a plan- ning context for understanding "last mile" needs for designating truck routes, and for use in travel demand modeling, land-use planning, and environmental analysis. ISTEA placed new emphasis on developing inventories of nodes where freight or people tran- sitioned from one mode to another. Specifically, the planning regulations that were promulgated as a result of ISTEA required states to develop Intermodal Management Systems (IMS), a data- base requirement that was later dropped because of the onus it placed on state planning agen- cies. Although MPOs were not required by ISTEA to develop comparable IMS datasets at the urban area level, they were encouraged to work with states and utilize information from state IMS data in developing their own transportation plans. When IMS data became an option as opposed to a requirement, some states continued to maintain IMS data for freight and some MPOs have also developed freight facility datasets. At the federal level, an intermodal terminal facilities database has been created that is now available through the National Transportation Atlas Database (NTAD) series through the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). The NTAD file for 2009 contains 3,280 records of facilities nationwide. Exhibit 4-4. Freight node data--tonnage production by facility. Source: Wilbur Smith Associates.