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3C H a P T E R 1 Background To address concerns with diminishing productivity gains in freight investments, growing highway congestion, and increasing numbers of bottlenecks for freight transporta- tion, leading transportation organizations have developed a growing body of resources to direct the practice of freight transportation planning practice. The Transportation Research Board (TRB), American Association of State Highway Trans- portation Officials (AASHTO), FHWA, and other organi- zations have developed training materials, studies, and guidebooks to cultivate expertise and to weave freight consid- erations into established planning processes. In addition, leading states (i.e., those that have conducted freight trans- portation planning exercises), MPOs, and other transporta- tion planning and programming organizations have begun to develop and implement sophisticated mechanisms to system- atically and comprehensively address a broad spectrum of goods movement-related issues through their planning activ- ities. While many of these resources instruct agencies on analytical approaches to data and planning for freight trans- portation, there are fewer resources on the engagement of freight stakeholders in the planning process. This has been a critical gap, especially given the crucial importance of gaining private-sector and other stakeholder input in the freight planning process. The freight industry uses the system differ- ently, more intensely, for different purposes, and sometimes on different facilities than passenger travelers. To understand the needs of this unique and growing user community, plan- ners need the tools to engage freight stakeholders more effec- tively. This project seeks to improve the existing base of information about how to engage private-sector insight and incorporate it into the freight planning process. As part of the SHRP 2 program, Project C15 was designed to help fill this gap by preparing a guide that reflects the latest methods observed in research, interviews, and case studies. The guide is designed to instruct agencies on how to more effectively integrate freight considerations into the highway capacity planning process. Research Purpose The SHRP 2 C15 study was designed to develop a practitionerâs guide that would result in much more effective planning made possible through better engagement of industry. The guide was intended to help highway planners and private industry stake- holders more effectively and collaboratively plan and develop highway capacity improvements to improve goods movement. Now complete, the C15 guide will help direct state DOTs, MPOs, stakeholders, and other decision makers on where and how to integrate these considerations within the transporta- tion planning process leading to environmental review and permitting. Case studies and best practice examples illus- trate successful methods to integrate freight considerations at all stages and phases of project planning to sharpen deci- sion making leading to better investments serving passenger and goods movement. In addition, the guide and accompany- ing case studies have been integrated into the SHRP 2 Trans- portation for CommunitiesâAdvancing Projects through Partnerships (TCAPP), now called PlanWorks, website. Guide Development To fully account for the important market-driven behavior and interests of the private freight community, the research approach was organized around a proposed set of seven key freight considerations: economy, industry logistics patterns, freight infrastructure, commodity flows, quality of service, environment, and safety and security. These considerations not only focus on market forces appropriate to freight plan- ning but also take into account the six external processes out- lined on the PlanWorks website established by the SHRP 2 program. Those external processes include air quality confor- mity, land use, natural environment, human environment, Introduction
4capital improvement, and safety and security. Table 1.1 more fully introduces the proposed market-based freight planning considerations. Outreach Issues Transportation agencies are becoming increasingly adept at conducting outreach with freight stakeholders. Recent efforts to establish freight advisory committeesâas recommended in MAP-21âand the accumulated experience conducting freight outreach for several years (or more) have established a growing foundation of best practices. Yet the ability to con- duct effective outreach with freight stakeholders, especially as part of the highway planning process, varies widely by agency. This researchâthrough the interviews and especially the case study developmentâsought to identify the key chal- lenges and successes in conducting freight outreach. The find- ings chapter of this report and the C15 guide detail the findings of this portion of the research. For example, regardless of the level of sophistication or experience, agencies continue to face challenges in maintaining stakeholder engagement. Market-Based Freight Planning Considerations One critical element of this work is elevating the importance of the key role private freight stakeholders should have in the collaborative planning and decision-making process. Obtain- ing input from freight users in the highway planning process is critical for many reasons, including the following market- based freight considerations: â¢ Economic impactsâIndustries make decisions about facili- ties based on current and future conditions and investments in transportation infrastructure, especially highways. In some cases, route selection is discretionary (if alternate routes are available). These decisions affect the economic competi- tiveness and vitality of communities and regions. Highway Table 1.1. Market-Based Freight Planning Considerations Market-Based Freight Considerations examples of Freight planning Considerations How does the planning or project activity affect . . . Economy â¢ Economic competitiveness (e.g., business retention or attraction) â¢ Employment retention or expansion â¢ Market composition (producer and consumer) â¢ User costs (freight transportation shipping and warehousing) â¢ Passenger-related economic benefits Industry Logistics Patterns â¢ Supply chain structure â¢ Regional distribution networks (multistate and urban) â¢ Mode share (highway, rail, water, air) Freight Infrastructure â¢ Multimodal network connectivity â¢ Access to existing and new markets (e.g., to a shipper or manufacturing cluster) â¢ Physical capacity (e.g., lanes, bridges) â¢ Operational capacity (e.g., freight throughput as a function of better speed, reliability, information, or changes in truck size and weight) â¢ Corridor chokepoints Commodity Flows â¢ Freight flows by route (long-distance, regional, and local deliveries) â¢ Commodity movements â¢ Mode choice by commodity (including intermodal movements that may use highway for a portion of the trip) Quality of Service â¢ Improve speed â¢ Enhance reliability (e.g., maintaining flow along key freight corridors) â¢ Driving experience (for freight and passenger vehicles) â¢ Enhance system redundancy (choice of routes) Environment â¢ Air quality conformity â¢ Communities (e.g., human environment, urban deliveries, livability) â¢ Land use decisions and vice versa (e.g., location, pattern, Smart Growth) â¢ Climate change (e.g., carbon output or infrastructure adaptation) â¢ Natural environment [e.g., water quality, soil, wildlife, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)] Safety and Security â¢ Safety (e.g., crash rates, types of crashes, locations of crashes) â¢ Security of critical infrastructure â¢ Hazardous materials movement â¢ Safe movement of over-dimensional cargo (e.g., wind turbine components, construction equipment)
5planningâto sustain or grow regional economiesâmust account for the freight decision-making process to realize full economic growth potential. â¢ Market forcesâFreight highway users are sensitive to market forces. Motor carriers, producers, and shippers can quickly alter supply chains to adapt to changing trends, conditions, and costs (e.g., fuel, labor, production inputs, or new cus- tomers). To make wise investment decisions, highway plan- ners must understand how these market forces influence the way shippers will use the system and align public investment in transportation with the needs of industry. â¢ Infrastructure needsâBy considering the perspectives of carriers and shippers, states and MPOs may develop a more comprehensive approach to identifying highway needs to include critical commercial flows. Motor carriers can quickly identify system bottlenecks and needed invest- ments based on repeated experience of their drivers. Recent outreach with the freight community suggests relative unanimity among motor carriers in identifying specific highway investment needs. â¢ Forecasting flowsâDue to sensitivities to market forces and highway conditions, freight movements are difficult to fore- cast, especially over the long term. To account for this uncertainty, highway planning efforts could engage knowl- edgeable logisticians to develop more plausible future sce- narios that take into account potential shifts in supply chain strategies. â¢ Multijurisdictional issuesâEffective freight planning requires multijurisdictional cooperation to coordinate public legis- lative and administrative actions (i.e., development and approval of long-range plans, political and financial sup- port for large projects that affect multiple jurisdictions) and to understand how industries use the transportation system across local boundaries and state lines. Involving representatives of the private sector for purposes of under- standing their current and future needs can facilitate this multijurisdictional cooperation. â¢ Environmental outcomesâFreight operations have a signifi- cant impact on air quality, land use sustainability, and local environmental conditions [e.g., the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)]. Motor carriers and shippers are becom- ing more aware of and concerned about sustainability with growing commitment to modifying operations to decrease the negative environmental impact as evidenced by fleets adapting to changing highway conditions, markets, and tech- nologies (e.g., cleaner diesel, idling reduction, truck stop electrification). The public sector can benefit greatly by working integrally with industry prior to the NEPA process. â¢ Safe operationsâIn order for transportation agencies to provide a safe operating environment, fleet operating char- acteristics must be considered as part of any sound and realistic planning strategy. For example, agencies could work with industry to identify highway segments in need of improvement to enhance safety (e.g., maintenance, shoulders, bridge clearance signage). These topics conflate to seven market-based freight plan- ning considerations: economy, industry logistics patterns, freight infrastructure, commodity flows, quality of service, environment, and safety and security. The seven market-based considerations were used during all phases of the research to understand the degree to which these crosscutting elements are woven into current outreach efforts. Need for Improved Coordination While the significant and growing body of work [e.g., guide- books from the National Cooperative Highway Research Pro- gram (NCHRP), National Cooperative Freight Research Program (NCFRP), and AASHTO; statewide freight plans; and more] on integrating certain elements of freight into the planning process provides important insight and instruction, a comprehensive guide on integrating freight considerations into highway planning has yet to be developed.