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6C H a P T E R 2 General approach The research approach was based on three primary pillars: (1) literature review, (2) industry interviews, and (3) case studies. Through these activities, which are explained in detail in the following sections, the research team collected and distilled the information on best practices to inform the guide development. The research team also relied on the insights of members of the TETG to refine the findings, to steer the research direction, and to develop the guide. In addi- tion to these activities, the research team conducted a series of vetting pilots in which the draft guidebook was reviewed for its applicability with two state DOTs and an MPO. Identifying Best Practices and Existing Literature The SHRP 2 C15 literature review assessed a broad range of resources to determine how well the existing literature pro- vides instruction on how to integrate freight into the high- way planning process. The research team consulted reports developed by a wide range of authors, including TRB, NCHRP, NCFRP, AASHTO, and other sources. In addition, the research team reviewed and summarized recent freight planning documents from states and MPOs to understand how transportation agencies currently are integrating freight considerations throughout the four major phases of the highway decision-making process: long-range plan- ning, corridor planning, project programming, and the NEPA process. The research team also determined how well the existing lit- erature provides guidance on integrating seven key market- based freight planning considerations: economy, industry logistics patterns, freight infrastructure, commodity flows, quality of service, environmental concerns, and safety and security into the planning process. The major strengths of the literature include â¢ Clear identification of appropriate freight data for evaluat- ing the local, regional, and statewide economy, logistics patterns, commodity flows, infrastructure, and service quality considerations; â¢ Logical strategies for effective stakeholder outreach; and â¢ Wide-ranging discussion of freight performance measures to assist in planning process, especially in long-range plan- ning and project programming. The literature review also identified some deficiencies, including the lack of highway-focused freight planning advice (much of the advice is broadly related to the multimodal freight system). Other areas where the existing literature pro- vides only limited insight include â¢ An incomplete discussion of strategies for incorporating economic considerations (including logistics, commod- ity flows, and market and employment considerations) into the project programming and environmental review process; â¢ An evolving evaluation methodology for evaluating freight impacts during the NEPA process; â¢ Not identifying specific freight-related decision points in the highway planning process for freight stakeholders; and â¢ A lack of attention to the role of regulatory issues in freight decisions throughout all phases of the highway decision- making process. Figure 2.1 displays the relative strengths and weaknesses of the existing literature on addressing freight considerations in the highway decision-making process. This figure has been modified from a similar one included in the work plan to bet- ter reflect the state of the practice on closer evaluation of the existing literature. The literature review helped sharpen the research teamâs approach to the subsequent research tasksâthe industry interviews and case study developmentâby identifying gaps Research Approach
7in the existing information. Box 2.1 summarizes the literature review sources. Strengths and Weaknesses in the available Literatureâ General Findings Strengths The existing planning literature provides useful insight for better integrating freight into the highway decision-making process for capacity additions. The available guidebooks, planning guides, and processes that have been developed recommend strategies to maintain freightâs presence throughout the project develop- ment process. Throughout the literature, attention to three major elements was key to effective freight planning efforts: 1. Freight self-assessmentâThis process generally involves needs identification, development of freight policy objec- tives, evaluation of commodity flows and industry logis- tics patterns, an assessment of quality of freight service, and identification of bottlenecks and other physical and operational deficiencies. This also includes an identifica- tion of staff or freight expert within an agency to shepherd freight matters through the planning process. 2. Stakeholder outreachâThe literature provides clear strate- gies to recognize freight stakeholder needs and promotes early involvement of both public and private freight stake- holder groups throughout the planning process. The litera- ture generally supports the formation of Freight Advisory Committees or Councils for ongoing collaboration and discussion. Stakeholder roles within these committees include assisting in the development of a mission state- ment or goals and objectives for the freight program, proj- ect list review or refinement, providing data, helping identify funding opportunities, and project advocacy. 3. Data analysisâThe literature provides extensive lists of appropriate data sources that planners and policy makers can use to better understand freight issues within their communities. Although there are occasional issues with the availability or application of freight data, it is invalu- able to developing or refining existing performance mea- sures and tracking economic growth and benefits associated with freight projects. Weaknesses Although there is very useful information in the existing lit- erature on developing a robust freight planning program, using freight data, and engaging freight stakeholders, the rec- ommendations do not always translate well to the highway decision-making process. The following describes ways that the existing literature and practice could be improved to pro- vide highway planning practitioners with the strategies and tools needed to properly consider freight in the highway plan- ning decision-making process: â¢ Improve the evaluation methodology for assessing freight impacts during NEPA. There is very detailed information in the existing literature on developing metrics to evaluate project benefits and costs for freight for project programming but little information on how to use or adapt these metrics for the NEPA process. The Figure 2.1. Effectiveness of existing literature in addressing freight considerations in the highway decision-making process.
8Box 2.1. Library of Background Research Sources tRB (NCHRp, NCFRp, SHRp) â¢ NCHRP Project 8-53âGuidebook for Integrating Freight into Transportation Planninga â¢ NCHRP Project 8-47âGuidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized MPOsa â¢ NCHRP Project 7-15âCost-Effective Methods and Planning Procedures for Travel Time, Delay, and Reliabilitya â¢ NCHRP Project 8-53âIntegrating Freight into Transportation Planning and Project-Selection Processesa â¢ NCHRP Project 8-43âMethods for Forecasting Freight Movements and Related Performance Measures â¢ TRB SR 297âFunding Options for Freight Transportation Projects â¢ NCFRP 1âPrivate and Public Sector Freight Decision-Making â¢ NCFRP 2âInstitutional Arrangements for Freight Transportation Systemsa â¢ NCFRP 5âPartnerships for Funding Freight Infrastructure Investmenta â¢ NCFRP 7âIdentifying and Using Low-Cost and Quickly Implementable Ways to Address Freight-System Mobility Constraintsa â¢ NCFRP 8âFreight Demand Modeling to Support Public Sector Decision-Makinga â¢ SHRP 2âTransportation for Communities-Advancing Projects through Partnerships Website AASHto â¢ AASHTO Freight-Bottom Line Report Seriesa â¢ AASHTO State Rail Planning Best Practicesa FHWA â¢ FHWA Freight Cross-Cutting Resource Guidea (Ongoing) â¢ NHI Course 139006âIntegrating Freight into the Transportation Planning Processa â¢ NHI Course 129003âAdvanced Freight Planning â¢ NHI Course 139002âMultimodal Freight Forecasting in Transportation Planninga â¢ NHI Course 139001âFreight Planning Coursea â¢ NHI Course 139005âFreight Planning and Environmental Considerationsa â¢ U.S. DOT Guide to Quantifying the Economic Impact of Federal Investments in Large-Scale Freight Transportation Projects â¢ Building Capacity between Public and Private Sectors in the Freight Community â¢ FHWA Quick Response Freight Manual Updatea â¢ FHWA Resource Center Training on Engaging the Private Sector in Freight Planning â¢ Guidebook for Engaging the Private Sector in Freight Transportation Planning State Freight planning Studies â¢ Maryland Statewide Freight Plana â¢ Kansas Freight Plana â¢ Minnesota Freight Plana â¢ Indiana State Freight Plana Metropolitan and Regional Freight planning â¢ Metropolitan Washington Council of Governmentsâ Freight Planning Considerationsa â¢ Puget Sound Regional Councilâs Integrating the Evaluation of Freight Corridor Projects into the Congestion Management Process, and Long-Range Transportation Planning â¢ I-95 Corridor Coalitionâs Freight Academy Training Materialsa a Developed by Cambridge Systematics, Inc. body of literature would be strengthened with a clearer evalu- ation methodology. â¢ Better integrate economic considerations, logistics, and commodity flow decisions into the process for project pro- gramming and environmental review. There is limited information in the existing literature on how to apply the information collected during the initial planning phases (freight profile) on the general economy, industry logistics patterns, and commodity data into the NEPA phase. â¢ Clarify the key freight-related decision points in the high- way planning process. The literature includes useful information on the types of freight stakeholders to engage and the types of questions to
9ask; however, the information is less clear on the specific stakeholders (i.e., shippers versus carriers) and the different level of engagement expected and required at key decision points. â¢ Direct more attention to the role of regulatory issues in freight decisions throughout all phases of the highway decision-making process. When determining long-range goals of the freight infra- structure system, regulation (i.e., truck size and weight or hours of service rules) is a key consideration and greatly influences logistics decisions. These types of issues are rarely considered in the current long-range planning process. The findings from the literature review also have been con- flated to the market-based freight planning framework. The following section highlights the seven market-based freight planning considerations and includes detailed discussion on the tools and strategies provided by the existing literature that can be used by planners to enhance freight planning; it also highlights where those tools are lacking. The literature review findings were used to inform the stakeholder outreach and case study evaluation and bridge the state of the practice. Box 2.2 summarizes the literature review sources. Industry Interviews In order to ensure adequate and early input from the freight community, the research team conducted an initial round of outreach with industry associations and federal officials. This approach allowed the team to first learn about the national and industry perspective before focusing on project case studies. The purpose of this initial outreach activity was threefold: (1) to better understand the national perspective of private and public stakeholders with regard to the integration of freight considerations into highway planning, (2) to populate a list of potential second-round interviews, and (3) to identify promising case studies for further exploration in Task 3. The industry interviews were conducted across three categories of stakeholders: private freight stakeholders Box 2.2. Summary of Literature ReviewâMarket-Based Freight Planning Considerations â¢ Economy 4 StrengthsâRoles and responsibilities of public/private stakeholders, type and use of economic data in long-range planning. 4 possible Areas of ImprovementââTranslatingâ freight/economic profile into corridor plans, project programming. â¢ Industry Logistics Patterns 4 StrengthsâIdentification of role of logistics decisions, how logistics decisions are influenced by outside factors, some logistics data, logistics stakeholder roles, and responsibilities. 4 possible Areas of ImprovementâMore information on the influences of logistics decisions in highway planning (e.g., regulatory influences), how to capture logistics in the programming and environmental process considering the fluidity of the logistics process. â¢ Freight Infrastructure 4 StrengthsâEvaluation methodologies, roles, and responsibilities, performance measures, identification of expectations for stake- holder outreach at each stage. 4 possible Areas of ImprovementâClearer metrics for evaluating freightâs effect on the highway system, possibly using adapted pas- senger metrics (e.g., impacts on passenger operations, pavement degradation). â¢ Commodity Flows 4 StrengthsâIdentification of the methodology for developing a Regional Freight Profile, including collecting applicable freight data such as: Commodity, Origin, Destination, Mode, Route, and Time (CODMRT), justifying the inputs and outputs to commodity flow evaluations. 4 possible Areas of ImprovementâMore information on how evaluation results are âtranslatedâ into project programming and NEPA planning, more refined data (e.g., how to evaluate commodity flows within a particular highway segment or corridor). â¢ Quality of Service 4 StrengthsâPerformance measures, freight benefits, stakeholders and their role in the process, data tools, and metrics for identifying freight level of service. 4 possible Areas of ImprovementâMore attention to capturing quality of service benefits and impacts for freight in the NEPA process. â¢ Environment 4 StrengthsâData analysis techniques and stakeholder outreach, performance measures for freight programming with environmental considerations. 4 possible Areas of ImprovementâMore information on freight-related environmental concerns within trade corridors, more specific- ity on the data used in NEPA evaluation. â¢ Safety and Security 4 StrengthsâData sources identified, lots of information on evaluation of safety concerns during project programming and environ- mental review process. 4 possible Areas of ImprovementâMore information on safety considerations associated with freight included in the long-range plan and corridor plans, more resources to evaluate safety issues associated with freight, additional background on security considerations for freight, including current regulatory issues.
10 (shippers and carriers), other private and nonprofit high- way planning stakeholders, and government organizations involved in freight and highway planning policy at the national level. During each interview, the research team sought to discover stakeholdersâ views on best practices in integrating freight into highway planning, including integra- tion of the seven market-based freight planning consider- ations and insight into appropriate decision points for freight stakeholder engagement. Interviews were focused on identifying promising case studies and second-round interview contacts to enrich the guidebook. Table 2.1 lists the interviews conducted for this task. Case Study Development While the literature review and interviews provided a high- level state of the practice for freight planning around the country, the case studies were intended to capture much more detail and specific examples of best practices. In con- sultation with the TETG and through the first round of interviews, the research team developed a list of case studies and selection criteria for identifying the most appropriate case studies for further research. The recommended case studies were selected based on the following evaluation criteria: â¢ Evidence of effective collaboration between state DOTs and MPOs and the freight and economic development communities; â¢ Attention to projects and programs that deal with a variety of highway capacity solutions (e.g., operational improve- ments, interchanges, mainline widening, rail diversion); â¢ Geographic and economic diversity (e.g., urban, rural, coastal, inland, different industry mixes, simple and com- plex freight networks); â¢ Case studies that may include an evaluation of specific activities (e.g., economic growth in key corridors necessi- tating âfreight-styledâ highway development); â¢ Highway planning and development projects that have not previously been prominently featured in freight planning research projects by TRB or FHWA, and provides new insight into the incorporation of freight into highway planning; â¢ Successful integration into the project planning process of some or all of the seven market-based freight planning considerations (economy, logistics, freight infrastructure, commodity flows, quality of service, environmental con- siderations, safety and security); â¢ Consideration of private-sector concerns in the public plan- ning process (long-term economic development, invest- ment and business decisions, economic competitiveness); â¢ Presents a mix of projects across the four initial decision- making phases [long-range transportation planning (LRTP), programming (PRO), corridor planning (COR), and envi- ronmental review (ENV)] with at least one phase captured by each case study; and â¢ Includes cooperative project sponsors and freight stake- holders willing to provide information to develop the case studies and inform other content of the study. Based on this list of criteria, the team conducted case studies with 11 agencies across the nation. The case studies generally consisted of interviews with a range of stakeholders in each location or study. By design the research team interviewed a Table 2.1. National Freight Stakeholder Interviews organization type organization Other Highway Planning Stakeholders American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP) and OneRail Coalition Private Freight Stakeholders (Shippers and Carriers) National Retail Federation (NRF) Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) Agricultural Transportation Coalition/CONECT National Strategic Shippers Transportation Council (NASSTRAC) National Industrial Transportation League (NIT League) Waterfront Coalition U.S. Chamber of Commerce Coalition for Responsible Transportation (CRT) American Trucking Associations (ATA) Con-way Trucking Government Organizations FHWA Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty FHWA Office of Freight Management and Operations AASHTO
11 mix of public- and private-sector clients involved in each location or study. Results and major findings were summa- rized and integrated into the guide. Table 2.2 lists the case studies developed for the project. Appendix A contains a summary of each of the case stud- ies, highlighting major findings in each circumstance. Major findings from the case studies are described in Chapter 3 and are integrated throughout the C15 guide. SHRP 2 Planning Framework The research team used the SHRP 2 planning framework as the basis for developing the C15 guide. The framework orga- nizes the planning process into four phases: long-range transportation planning (LRTP); programming with fiscal constraint (PRO); corridor planning studies (COR); and environmental review merged with permitting (ENV). The framework also identifies 44 common decision points within the planning process and places each of them within one of the four phases. The research team used the framework as a means for identifying which decision points should consider freight, and specifically stakeholder involvement. Using the literature, interviews, case studies, and professional judgment and input from the TETG, the research team identified which decision points should take into account input from freight stakeholders, how the input might be collected, and the relative importance of engaging the freight community at each point. Figure 2.2 demonstrates the completed framework. Guide Development Once the research team completed the research activities their focus turned to development of the C15 practitio- nerâs guide. The first step in this process was the finaliza- tion of the SHRP 2 decision-making framework, which was accomplished through iterative review by the TETG and SHRP 2 staff. Next, the team produced an outline and, with the feedback of the TETG, developed the text and graphics to communicate the findings in the form of a draft guide. The TETG provided guidance and edits on the draft guide. With the guide in draft form, the research team worked with SHRP 2 staff and the TETG to identify potential agen- cies to conduct vetting of the guide. The selection of agen- cies considered several factors, including availability of staff and willingness of the agency to participate, and the expertise of the staff in understanding freight planning and Table 2.2. Case Studies Completed phase Case Study organization Urban/Rural Region Region (W/MW/e/S) LRTP Baltimore MPO Freight Movement Task Force Baltimore Metropolitan Council Urban Coastal E LRTP Kansas City Regional Freight Outlook Mid-America Regional Council (MARC)/KC SmartPort Urban Inland MW LRTP Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) Goods Movement Task Force DVRPC Urban Coastal E PRO Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) âFreightâ Transportation Improvement Program (F-TIP) MORPC/Columbus Chamber Urban Inland MW PRO Seattle Freight Mobility Advisory Committee City of Seattle Urban Coastal W PRO Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) Regional Freight Mobility Roundtable (RFMR) PSRC Urban Coastal W COR I-70 Truck-Only Lanes Led by Indiana DOT (partnership with Missouri, Ohio, Illinois DOT) Rural/Urban Inland MW COR Freight Plan Implementationa Georgia DOT Rural/Urban Inland S COR San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) State Route (SR) 905 Freeway Project SANDAG MPO Urban Coastal W NEPA I-5 Columbia River Crossing Oregon DOT/Washington state DOT Urban Inland W NEPA I-710 Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) Processa Caltrans/LA Metro Urban Coastal W Note: E = East, MW = Midwest, S = South, and W = West. a Projects/programs that are conducted or assisted by Cambridge Systematics staff.
12 Figure 2.2. Decision flow diagram.
13 the freight industry. The three vetting pilots were conducted with the â¢ Utah DOT; â¢ Georgia DOT; and the â¢ North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG). The idea behind the vetting pilots was to conduct a review of the draft guide through the eyes of users in a way that would produce recommendations to improve the guide, where necessary. The review differed from that conducted by the TETG because the Utah DOT, the Georgia DOT, and the NCTCOG were asked to examine the guide in terms of its theoretical applicability, what would really work in their situations. Once the agencies reviewed the draft guide, the research team conducted in-person and teleconference debriefs with each agency. Their recommendations were sub- sequently integrated into the draft final guide prior to TRB publication review. The product of this iterative process is the final version of the guide. PlanWorks Integration Well before the development of the draft guide, the research team engaged with the team working on SHRP 2 C01 to map out a strategy for integration of the C15 research within the PlanWorks website. Interaction with the C01 team was mutu- ally beneficial for several reasons. First, it enabled the C15 team to orient the development of its productsâespecially the case studiesâfor inclusion in the website, in a form that would be readable and consistent with existing case study vignettes. Sec- ond, the framework of the PlanWorks website, which revolves around the SHRP 2 decision-making process, provided the basis for developing a guide that would respond to all relevant decision points with specific information on freight consider- ations (http://transportationforcommunities.com).