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1 S u m m a r y NCFRP Report 16 is the final report of NCFRP Project 24, âPreserving and Protecting Freight Infrastructure and Routesâ (FY 2009). The purpose of this project was to provide practical tools to preserve and protect freight facilities and corridors. This report â¢ Presents information about freight transportation and its importance to everyday life; â¢ Illustrates types of conflicts between freight and other land uses, and their consequences; and â¢ Provides tools and resources to preserve facilities and corridors, including prevention or reso- lution of these conflicts. The target audience for this study consists of decision makers involved in freight facility opera- tions, freight transportation planning, and land-use decisions. This includes state departments of commerce and transportation, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), local officials and their planning offices, legislators and their staffs, freight facility developers, freight operators, and real estate concerns. One innovative contribution of the NCFRP Project 24 was the development of a website, en- titled EnvisionFreight, found at http://www.EnvisionFreight.com, and an associated guidebook. The âbetaâ version of the website and guidebook were previewed at the NCFRP Project 24 workshop, held in January 2011. For many of the topics covered in this report, more detailed materials are available on the website. References to these website materials are provided in this report where relevant. The Importance of Freight Transportation Freight is an essential and ubiquitous part of our economy. Transportation services are needed to deliver raw and intermediate materials to producers and to deliver final products to retailers and final customers. At its core, freight and its transportation are an integral part of supply chain management (SCM). SCM involves decisions about what to produce, what inputs to use, how to configure a distribution network, how much inventory to maintain, and how to transport inputs and products. Logistics management refers to the part of SCM that involves decisions about how and when to get raw materials, intermediate goods, and finished goods from their respective origins to their destinations. Included in logistics management are inter-related choices of modes of transportation (rail, truck, water, air), shipment characteristics (less-than-load vs. full load, etc.), warehousing, and levels of inventories to maintain. Freight volumes and the transportation of those volumes are driven by consumption. Moreover, a key determinant of consumption growth is population growth, which makes growth in freight volumes and the need to transport these increasing volumes a virtual certainty. According to the most recent information from the Commodity Flow Survey (CFS), on average, 42 tons of freight Preserving and Protecting Freight Infrastructure and Routes
2worth $39,000 was delivered to every person in the United States in 2007. When considering the distance involved in transporting this freight, an average of 11,000 ton-miles was delivered to every person in the country. To gain perspective on the amount of transportation involved, this is equivalent to carrying one ton of freight for every man, woman, and child in the United States 11,000 miles, or each of the 42 tons of freight for every person over 260 miles. Many factors affect producersâ logistical choices and supply chain configurations. These include the relative costs of transportation modes, the comparative speed and reliability of transportation modes, the ease of switching between modes, the costs of holding inventory, and the amount of logistical costs as a share of total production, distribution, and marketing costs. Improvements in information technology also can improve the utilization of transportation services, making them more attractive relative to the use of other logistics inputs. For example, with just-in-time inventory management, fast and reliable transportation has been combined with information technology to reduce the need for maintaining large inventories. Figure S-1 illustrates the vital link provided by freight transportation in supply chains and economic performance. Improvements in freight transportation efficiency, reliability, and level of service have numerous economic benefits for production efficiency, optimization of distribution networks, and product choice, andâultimately âthe cost to consumers. As improvements are made in transportation infrastructure, producers are able to centralize their production operations and site their operations in lower-cost areas, because the uncertainties concerning the movement of goods to customers are reduced. Transportation infrastructure improvements also allow a more efficient design of the distribution network. The cost of inventories can be reduced as the needed hedge against transportation uncertainties is reduced. This also allows firms to change their inventories quickly in response to customersâ changing needs or desires. This ultimately leads to lower cost and greater product variety for customers. The U.S. Freight Transportation System In 2008, 4.5 million people were employed in transportation and warehousing industries in the United States, a little over 3 percent of total U.S. employment. Trucking was the largest employer within the for-hire transportation section with almost 1.4 million employed. The railroad industry employed 231,000, and water transportation employed 67,000. Another key component of logistics services and supply chains, warehousing and storage, employed 672,000 (U.S. Department of Transportation RITA/BTS 2010, Table 3-19b). Latest available data (2007) show that there were almost 220,000 employer establishments in the transportation and warehousing sector of the Source: Christensen Associates. Figure S-1. The role of freight transportation in efficient production and distribution.
3 U.S. economy with revenues of almost $640 billion and annual payrolls of more than $173 billion. In addition, there were more than 1 million non-employer establishments with revenues of al- most $67 billion (U.S. Census Bureau 2007). The U.S. surface freight transportation network includes 4,016,741 miles of highways, 94,942 miles of Class I freight railroad tracks, 46,474 miles of regional and shortline railroad tracks, and 26,000 miles of navigable inland waterways (U.S. Department of Transportation RITA/ BTS 2010, Table 2-1-1). In addition to these inland waterways, marine transportation options include coastal marine corridors along the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf Coasts, and a number of routes that traverse the Great Lakes. Other important components of the freight transportation network include air freight and pipelines. Figures S-2 through S-4 show major surface transportation corridors in the United States. Figure S-2 shows primary highway routes used by trucks, Figure S-3 shows major rail networks, and Figure S-4 shows marine highway corridors. An illustration of the importance of U.S. freight transportation corridors and transportation modes is found in Figure S-5, which shows freight tonnage on U.S. highways, railroads, and Figure S-2. National highway network for conventional combination trucks (U.S. Department of Transportation FHWA FM&O 2009a).
4Figure S-3. Major railroad networks in the United States (Association of American Railroads 2010). inland waterways. It illustrates that supply chains extend across the country and into other parts of the world via key ports such as Los Angeles/Long Beach, Houston, New Orleans, and New York/ New Jersey, which are gateways to foreign trade as well as the origins and destinations of substantial shipments throughout the United States. A majority of freight tonnage is transported along a handful of key corridors. In addition to the rail traffic coming out of the Power River Basin in Wyoming and water traffic along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, there are dense corridors of highway traffic throughout the eastern part of the United States and along the West Coast. Figure S-5 also illustrates the importance of Chicago as a key U.S. freight transportation hub. Conflicting Land Uses and Freight-Transportation-Related Services When incompatible land uses exist in close proximity to each other, these uses often interfere with each other, resulting in potential conflicts. For example, a freight yard or corridor located near a residential neighborhood, a school, or hospital is often a source of conflict. Conflicts can be physical in nature and/or involve nuisance, health, or safety concerns. From the freight perspective, these conflicts often result in barriers to efficient freight transportation operations and can affect the ability to expand operations to accommodate growing volumes. In some instances, conflicts between freight and non-freight uses result in freight activities being labeled as a ânuisanceâ that causes relocation of freight operations.
5 Figure S-4. Marine highway corridors in the United States (U.S. Department of Transportation 2011). Most residential, educational, and medical-related land uses are often incompatible with freight activity. Among the major conflicts non-freight interests have with freight-transportation-related services are â¢ Air and water pollution, â¢ Light pollution, â¢ Noise pollution, â¢ Effects of vibration, â¢ Safety issues, â¢ Congestion, and â¢ Environmental justice issues. Some conflictsâsuch as noise, light, and vibrationâare common to all of the primary freight modes. Environmental justice issues also can be a concern when a minority or low-income community is disproportionately affected by freight activity. Other conflicts are more specific to particular modes. For example, the potential for dangerous trespass tends to be specific to railroads.
6Barriers to Freight Transportation From the perspective of freight interests, barriers to efficient freight-transportation-related services often emerge as a result of unresolved conflicts. Barriers or impediments to economically efficient freight transportation can be due to numerous factors, including land-use decisions that create conflicts with other land uses, insufficient funding for the maintenance or expansion of freight facilities and corridors, and public policy decisions that impede or do not sufficiently accommodate the needs of freight transportation. Such barriers typically result in higher pro- duction and distribution costs. In this context, examples of potential barriers or interference with freight-transportation-related services include the following: â¢ Speed restrictions; â¢ Limitations on hours of operation; â¢ Height and clearance impacts; â¢ Size and weight limitations; â¢ Corridor design impacts; â¢ Environmental permitting; â¢ Limitations on dredging operations and/or the depositing of dredged material; â¢ Backlog of waterway lock or channel maintenance; Figure S-5. Tonnage on U.S. highways, railroads, and inland waterways (U.S. Department of Transportation FHWA FM&O 2007).
7 â¢ Hazardous material (hazmat) routing restrictions; and â¢ Gentrification that displaces, impedes, or increases the costs of freight transportation. Some barriers can be mode-specific (e.g., highway and road design impacts on trucking activities or dredging impacts on waterway transportation), while other barriers may be more general across modes (e.g., limitations on hours of operation). Barriers not only affect freight activities along particular corridors and facilities, but also can affect route choices and the ability to access freight and manufacturing facilities. For example, if roads are designed with turning radii that are too tight, particular types of trucks may not be able to use these routes or access facilities along these roads. Issues Identified and Lessons Learned from Research The NCFRP Project 24 research team produced six case studies to illustrate examples of pre- serving freight capacity, planning for freight needs, and dealing with actual or potential conflicts between freight and other land uses. These real world examples provide a unique contribution to the understanding of the variety of freight preservation issues that have been encountered around the country and the complex nature of solutions to these issues. Although each case study was borne out of particular geographic and historic contexts, the purpose of the case studies is to demonstrate potentially transferable solutions that have been undertaken around the United States. Some case studies focused on a specific infrastructure asset to be preserved, while others involved comprehensive plans governing a broader area. The critical issues identified and discussed in the research are as follows: 1. There is no single entity at the federal level with responsibility for freight planning, financing, or project implementation in the United States. â Multiple federal agencies oversee different aspects of the U.S. freight network and none have authority over land-use planning activities. â Federal funding for freight preservation and protection activities has been sporadic and is complicated by the fact that significant portions of the U.S. freight network are privately owned. 2. The land-use planning arena is the primary forum where conflicts between freight and other land uses are either avoided or created, and where preservation of freight corridors and facilities are either helped or hindered. 3. Local governments have primary jurisdiction over land-use planning in the United States. 4. In general, land-use planning processes inadequately accommodate freight needs. There are many reasons for this, including â Land-use planners are typically not taught about freight as part of their standard educational curriculum. â Maps that identify freight facilities and corridors generally lack sufficient accuracy and detail to ensure informed land-use decisions. â Freight entities are generally not significantly involved in local land-use and transportation visioning and comprehensive planning processes. â Local jurisdictions have a financial incentive to zone for uses with high tax values. 5. Because the primary responsibility for land-use planning lies with local jurisdictions, planning for freight needs that is done is performed on a piecemeal basis that does not account for the fact that most freight transportation corridors transcend jurisdictional boundaries. â State and regional planning agencies do not typically have the land-use planning authority to fill the gap in freight planning. â MPOs are not authorized to conduct transportation planning outside of their designated areas.
86. Regional visioning exercises generally do not deal adequately with freight. 7. Funding is often lacking or insufficient for freight planning and preservation. 8. There is a lack of effective communication among freight and land-use/transportation planning stakeholders. The project teamâs research identified a number of potential solutions to these issues, including â¢ State enabling acts should ideally be amended to require that freight be one of the key elements that states, local jurisdictions, and planning agencies account for in both transportation planning and land-use planning. â¢ Guidance needs to be provided to land-use planners regarding appropriate planning and zon- ing practices that relate to freight. For example, zoning overlays and industrial protection zones can be put in place not just for the industrial areas that are serviced by freight, but also for the corridors that link to them. â¢ Accurate mapping of freight facilities and corridors should become part of the comprehensive planning process. Mapping of such facilities will contribute to the preservation and protection of these facilities. â¢ Cooperative regional planning efforts, such as regional visioning processes, should include freight entities as key stakeholders and make freight a significant focus. â¢ State and national associations related to planning or development should provide the appropriate education and tools related to freight planning for city and county planners. â¢ Freight entities should participate as stakeholders in local, regional, and state planning and visioning processes. â¢ Private-sector groups, including local chambers of commerce, can play an important role in keeping freight issues on the agenda and ensuring buy-in from the business community when a preservation project is proposed. â¢ Freight groups (both private sector and government) need to partner with educational institutions to ensure that the underlying principles of freight activity are included as part of the curriculum at the graduate and undergraduate levels in planning, architecture, policy, engineering, business, and law disciplines. â¢ Ports, which have started tracking port-related job impacts throughout the region, need to make a similar scale effort to quantify the congestion and noise impacts that they produce outside of the immediate port area. Port master plans should illustrate affiliated congestion and chokepoints beyond their own properties. Similar activities should be undertaken by other types of freight operations that cannot be easily relocated. â¢ Innovative funding practices, including public-private partnerships and rights of first refusal, are needed for freight planning and preservation. â¢ Real estate contracts and other notice-type documents provided to purchasers and lessees should include sections discussing the possible freight-related impacts that may occur as a consequence of living in proximity to freight activities. Freight Preservation and Protection Strategies Preservation of freight facilities and corridors is extremely important. The loss of freight facilities, yards, and other ancillary facilities that may serve the network can create bottlenecks, increase costs, and affect consumers through increased prices. Re-parceling lost corridors is often cost- prohibitive and can run up against community complaints. Preservation of freight facilities and corridors can be achieved not only through long-range planning activities, but also through a number of other approaches, including delineation of corridors, freight support and preserva- tion initiatives, maintenance activities, and purchase of corridors to preserve them for future freight use.
9 Tools for Achieving Freight-Compatible Development The concept of freight-compatible development is proposed as an ideal or guiding principle for land-use planning and development. The main objectives of freight-compatible development are to (1) ensure that freight-transportation-related services are not affected by, or do not affect, other land uses that are placed close to the freight corridor or facility; (2) reduce and minimize community impacts that arise because of the proximity of sensitive land uses, including residences, schools, hospitals, and emergency services; and (3) incorporate the preservation and protection of freight facilities and corridors as a forward-looking component of general planning and economic development policies. However, in many cases, incompatible land uses already exist close to freight-transportation- related services, and conflict already exists. In these cases, at least in the short run, measures such as design standards and mitigation approaches are a means to minimize conflicts. Four major tools are availableâeither individually or in combinationâto achieve the goals of freight-compatible development. These are 1. Long-range planning, 2. Zoning and design, 3. Mitigation, and 4. Education and outreach. Table S-1 lists some of the specific freight corridor and facility preservation and protection strategies under the four major tools that can be used to achieve better freight-compatible development. Table S-1 is not an exhaustive list that covers every possible scenario. Rather, it is Table S-1. Tools for achieving freight-compatible development. Long-Range Planning Zoning and Design Mitigation Education and Outreach State Enabling Acts Regional Visioning Comprehensive Plans Freight Facility Inventories Official Maps Purchase and Advance Acquisition Land Swaps Protective Condemnation Permit Development Access Rights Zoning Standards Buffer Areas Overlay Districts Lot Orientation Property Design Construction Standards Sound Proofing Standards Buffer Areas Noise and Vibration Treatment Track Treatment Yard Re-Alignment Grade Crossing Management Port Gate Management Environmental Measures Zoning Measures Public Outreach and Education Relocation Informal Negotiations Public Involvement Multi-Jurisdictional Agreements Stakeholder Round Tables and Freight/Community Committees
10 designed to provide examples of tools, policies, and strategies that have been found to be effective in particular contexts. All of the tools described in this report, and found in more detail on the EnvisionFreight website, http://www.EnvisionFreight.com, can be utilized by different stakeholders as they plan to prevent, consider, and, in some instances, deal with conflicts that arise because of the proximity of incompatible types of land uses near freight facilities. The following are examples of how various stakeholders can use the EnvisionFreight website. For planners and elected officials, EnvisionFreight has been designed to help to â¢ Understand how freight fits into the local, national, and global economy; â¢ Understand the issues that arise from conflicts and how they impact freight-transportation- related services and a community; and â¢ Consider the kinds of tools, scenarios, communication, and educational outreach that they might want to use to improve freight planning and preservation capacity. For developers, EnvisionFreight aims to ensure that they consider how freight activities may affect and intersect with residential and other sensitive types of land use they may be planning. For freight entities, EnvisionFreight is intended to provide education and assistance regarding land-use planning and zoning processes. For individual citizens or community groups, the goal of EnvisionFreight is to provide basic information about the various freight modes as well as impacts that arise because of freight activity and proximity to incompatible land uses, and show some of the types of tools that can be utilized to more effectively plan for freight. For state legislators and staff, EnvisionFreight is designed to provide information and ideas for potential legislative changes that would facilitate better integration of freight and land-use planning. The Role of Planning and Zoning Figure S-6 summarizes the planning and zoning process and the role of various elements, including regional visioning, long-range planning, and the comprehensive plan. An important goal of freight-compatible development is to effectively use these tools so that mitigation measures are not necessary or are minimized. Figure S-6. Planning process summary. Many of these processes are authorized, mandated, and/or regulated by state enabling acts Source: Grow & Bruening.