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70 Education about freight transportation issues can take many forms. Freight transportation issues that were relevant for NCFRP Project 24 include the following: â¢ The value of freight transportation; â¢ Planning for freight facilities and corridors; and â¢ How to prevent or resolve conflicts between freight and other, often incompatible, land uses. Lack of education or information on these issues is often at the root of many of the conflicts between freight entities and other land uses. Although education on these issues can sometimes be part of a university curriculum for planning students, it is often accomplished in the âreal worldâ through various means that involve communication and interaction between interested stakeholders. Channels of education/ communication include â¢ Education in planning schools regarding freight transportaÂ tion issues, â¢ PlanningÂagencyÂsponsored freight task forces and round tables, â¢ Community round tables and working groups, â¢ Outreach efforts by freight entities, and â¢ Available previous research. The NCFRP Project 24 research team noted that most university planning curricula do not include freight in their masterâs programs for community and regional planning. Although some students might be able to take a multiÂ disciplinary class on multimodal freight issues or multimodal freight planning classes that are often taught in TransportaÂ tion Engineering programs, these types of multidisciplinary classesâwhich are on the riseâare not always offered to students from different disciplines. The inclusion of freight issues in university planning curricula would go a long way toward overcoming many conflicts between freight and other land uses. Beyond formal education, most state DOTs have a freight plan, and some have created freight task forces and freight round tables to provide a venue for stakeholder input as they develop freight plans. Ports and airports are well known for their round tables and community working groups, which are often put together to solve problems and make recommendaÂ tions where federal grant monies are applied to mitigate for issues such as noise and vibration. Many of these types of groups produce excellent eduÂ cational resource materials to better understand and plan for freight. The FHWA Office of Freight Management and Operations also has an excellent webpage for freight planning (U.S. Department of Transportation 2006a), which includes items for freight professional development that a newcomer to freight planning can utilize. Items include access to workÂ shops, the âTalking Freightâ webinar series, and the National Highway Institute courses such as âIntegrating Freight in the Transportation Planning Process.â Other groups, such as Californiaâs Air Resources Board, have conducted programs to mitigate for pollution around ports and have developed inventories and mitigation plans that provide useful educational material to understand freight impacts (California EnvironÂ mental Protection Agency 2005a). Freight entities also can play a role in the education process in an effort to avoid or resolve conflicts. The research performed for NCFRP Project 24 offered a number of examples where outreach or education efforts by freight entities were valuÂ able. For example, in the case of the Staten Island Railroad (http://www.EnvisionFreight.com/issues/pdf/Task_6_Case_ Study_SIRR.pdf) resumption of service, CSX conducted a significant public outreach campaign to notify the public about the resumed service and also went to schools to preÂ vent children from playing in the rightÂofÂway. As another example, the freight groups involved in the Atlanta Regional Freight Mobility Plan (http://www.EnvisionFreight.com/ C h a p t e r 9 Education about Freight Transportation Issues
71 issues/pdf/ARC_Freight_Plan_case_study.pdf) provided ranking scores for funding prioritization on projects that were placed into the Transportation Improvement Program submitted to Georgiaâs DOT. Specific strategies for improving communication between freight and landÂuse stakeholders would include the formation of standing planning committees and the regular exchange of internal planning materials and decisions, redacted as necessary. PrivateÂsector groups, including local chambers of commerce, can play an important role in keeping freight issues on the agenda and encouraging buyÂin from the busiÂ ness community when a freightÂrelated project is proposed. Improving communication through various levels of governÂ ment also is required and must be a twoÂway channel. Resources for previous research and for freight studies reviewed during this project can be found in Appendix K.