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1 Synthesis of Freight Research in Urban Transportation Planning The purpose of this research synthesis is to summarize the literature and best practices regarding the management of truck and van transport in urban areas. Truck transport is crucial for the delivery of goods and services within metropolitan areas. Trucks and vans provide the âlast-mile/first-mileâ transport, as well as most medium haul freight transport. In metropolitan areas that serve as trade hubs, trucks are a major part of wholesaling, distribution, logistics, and intermodal operations. Truck traffic generates significant exter- nalities in metropolitan areas, including congestion, emissions, noise, and traffic incidents. Metropolitan areas throughout the United States, Europe, and the world are seeking ways to better manage truck traffic. This synthesis is based on an in-depth review of the literature, including academic jour- nals and books, professional reports, and unpublished materials associated with ongoing projects. The review is international in scope, with particular emphasis on Europe, where many urban freight management strategies are being developed and tested. The research team also surveyed public agencies to gather information on projects for which there was no published information. Organization of the Research and the Report This research included four tasks and the report includes, in addition to a research sum- mary, four sections that each report on one of the four tasks. Task 1 (Section 1) was to describe the current state of the knowledge of urban freight flows and their impacts. Task 2 (Section 2) was to discuss strategies for managing urban freight problems, focusing on strategies that are either under consideration for implementation or that have been implemented either in the United States or abroad; Task 3 (Section 3) was to present a discussion of the U.S. policy context and how it may impact the feasibility and effectiveness of alternative management strategies; and Task 4 (Section 4) was to consider the effectiveness of alternative strategies and their implementation feasibility and offer some recommendations including areas for further research. Summary of Tasks 1 through 3 This section summarizes the main findings of the first three tasks. Task 1: Current State of Knowledge on Urban Freight Flows Until the recession of 2008, truck vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the United States had been steadily increasing as a result of economic growth, more international trade, S U M M A R Y
2and more intercity trade. In contrast to Europe, where more focused surveys are taken, the data on truck travel within U.S. metropolitan areas are extremely limited. U.S. sources indicate that the main bottlenecks on the Interstate system are in metropolitan areas, par- ticularly those that serve as national or international hubs, but more detailed data on truck traffic within metropolitan areas is difficult to find. Most cities have no idea of the number of commercial vehicles (be they heavy trucks, light trucks, vans, cars, or even bikes) traveling on their streets. What little data are available are typically collected by state departments of transportation and focus on heavy trucks as they traverse urban freeways or roads desig- nated as state highways. A few cities have conducted their own surveys. For example, as part of a study of off-hours deliveries in New York City, the research team found some of the only city-level data for trucksâ share of âpeak period VMTâ: 8 percent (Cambridge Systematics, 2007, pp. 3â14). Freight flows are the outcome of demand and supply and their respective spatial distributions. There are two main trends in logistics facility siting: decentralization and consolidation. The review of the research herein shows that while all businesses are moving away from the central city, logistics facilities are moving further than their customers. Exurban locations offer inexpensive land and larger parcels, and this allows logistics firms to build ever larger facilities and consolidate disparate centers. The effect of these two trends on truck VMT is indeterminate; although some studies have suggested that the net effect is greater VMT. The research team surveyed the literature on congestion, parking, and circulation prob- lems. Truck parking appears to be a perennial problem in urban areas, with the most densely populated cities (e.g., New York and San Francisco) experiencing the worst problems. New York has conducted a demonstration project of off-hours deliveries; the demonstration showed fuel savings and significant reductions in congestion (HolguÃn-Veras, 2010, 2011; HolguÃn-Veras et al. 2006). However, the demonstration also revealed that there are sub- stantial costs for receivers, making it difficult to implement such programs on a permanent basis. San Francisco is experimenting with demand-based parking pricing to encourage turnover in commercial loading zones and hopes to reduce circling and double parking. Other externalities associated with urban truck traffic include crashes, air pollution, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The number of truck collisions is small relative to truck VMT; however, when trucks crash, injuries are typically worse. Trucks are also a large source of air pollution in cities. Concentrated truck activity in areas that surround freight centers (e.g., ports) or freight-heavy corridors (e.g., freeways such as I-710 in Los Angeles) creates negative health effects in surrounding neighborhoods; the problem is especially serious for children. Finally, trucks are a major contributor of GHG emissions: freight sources (trucks, ships, trains, airplanes, and pipelines) account for 29 percent of the total GHG emissions attributable to transportation in the United States, and trucks account for two-thirds of this total (Cambridge Systematics, 2010, pp. 2â4). Task 2: Strategies for Addressing Urban Freight Problems Task 2 was to look at strategies to address three general categories of urban freight management problems: local last-mile delivery/first-mile pick-up, environmental impacts, and trade node problems. (In this report, both first-mile and last-mile trips will be referred to collectively as the âlast mile.â) Last-mile strategies address local deliveries to and pick-ups from urban businesses or residences. Strategies that reduce environmental impacts focus on reducing emissions and noise through regulation or by offering incentives for use of vehicles that pollute less. Finally, strategies related to trade nodes (i.e., cities that are hubs for national and international trade) focus on locations where there are the largest flows to and from ports, airports, or intermodal facilities. These three kinds of urban freight man-
3 agement problems are distinct, but there is also some overlap among them. Most efforts to manage truck traffic are intended to reduce environmental impacts in some way, along with reducing congestion and achieving other objectives. For example, an increase in truck load- ing zones (classified in this review as a last-mile strategy), intended to reduce delays caused by trucks parking illegally, may also reduce idling emissions. The Clean Truck Program at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports is classified as a trade node strategy, even though the programâs primary purpose is emissions reduction, because it is a program operated by the ports and applies only to vehicles serving the ports. The research team conducted an in-depth, international literature review to survey the many strategies proposed, considered, and (in many cases) implemented to solve urban freight problems. Below, each of the three categories is discussed, and all 17 strategies are described. Last-Mile Strategies With respect to last-mile issues, the research showed that experimentation with various local freight management strategies is far more extensive outside the United States than inside. The researchers surmise that cities outside the United States have more serious problems than U.S. cities due to higher density city cores, older building stock (and hence limited parking and loading facilities), and less road capacity. Also, cities outside the United States have more legal ability to regulate trucks. The researchers classified six strategies for addressing last-mile deliveries. A brief description of each follows: â¢ Labeling or other certification schemes. These schemes are generally voluntary and involve creating a list of qualifications/minimum specifications for commercial vehicles. Ultra-clean vehicles might get a green sticker, for example. Some governments may use incentives to get firms to participate, such as allowing ultra-quiet vehicles to deliver at night. â¢ Traffic and parking regulations. Regulations are frequently used by municipalities to man- age urban freight because these tools are clearly within local authority. However, regulating urban freight has a mixed record of success. Local freight demand must be accommodated; hence, strategies that manage rather than restrict freight deliveries tend to be more effective. â¢ Land use planning and zoning. Local jurisdictions can use their land use planning and zoning authority to set policies and guidelines for incorporating freight deliveries into new develop- ments; for example, local jurisdictions could set requirements for the presence or design of loading docks and for parking and off-street loading zones. â¢ City logistics and consolidation schemes. These schemes seek to reduce truck traffic by finding ways to combine the pick-ups and deliveries of different shippers or different receivers. These schemes often focus on changing the supply chain, rather than on the final (or initial) step of the chain. Some are successful, such as instituting drop-off/pick-up boxes for online purchases to avoid home deliveries. The more ambitious âurban consolidation centersâ typically require heavy subsidies and are not popular with firms. â¢ Off-hours deliveries. This strategy seeks to shift truck activity out of the peak traffic periods and hence reduce congestion and emissions. This is an obvious way to reduce truck-related congestion; yet, few examples of off-hours delivery programs exist. Change (in the hours of operation) is required for both the freight providers and (even more importantly) the receivers; therefore, coordination is difficult. â¢ Intelligent transport systems (ITS). These systems include technologies for providing real- time traffic (and parking) information, automated enforcement of parking or traffic regula- tions, toll collection, or automated access control. Real-time traffic information is available in the largest U.S. metropolitan areas. Overseas, license plate readers are part of road pricing systems or limited access zones.
4Environmental Strategies Almost all urban freight management efforts include environmental mitigation as an objective. There are several strategies, however, that have environmental mitigation as a primary objective. As with last-mile strategies, the state of practice of strategies to reduce environmental impact appears more advanced in Europe and Asia than in the United States. The five environmental strategies are as follows: â¢ Truck fuel efficiency and emissions standards. These are among the most effective tools for reducing emissions. The recent changes in light truck corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards will have a significant impact on the light truck portion of the freight vehicle fleet. â¢ Alternative fuels and vehicles. This strategy is typically limited to public fleets (e.g., transit buses) and utility firms, as well as the operations of large players such as UPS and FedEx in central business districts. Smaller entities making many local deliveries in urban areas face chal- lenges in turning to alternative fuels. Niche markets may exist in the most densely populated city centers for electrically powered âcargocycles.â â¢ Low emission zones (LEZs). These are zones in which a minimum standard for environmen- tal performance is set. Those vehicles that do not meet the standard are excluded from the zone. LEZs are now common in European cities. â¢ Alternative modes. Some cities have experimented with shifting local freight from trucks to alternative modes such as rail or even boats. These shifts typically increase costs and require heavy subsidies. â¢ Environmental justice. Issues of environmental justice arise during the environmental review process. Recent research on the relationship between emissions and health has created an imperative for industry to find solutions to problems that might otherwise prevent expansion. Southern Californiaâs Clean Truck Program is an example. Trade Node Strategies Trade hubs and gateways are places with a significant concentration of ports and airports, intermodal transfer points, and border crossings. The United States is a leader in developing trade-node-related strategies; most significantly, the programs in place at the Los Angeles/ Long Beach ports are among the most innovative in the world. The U.S. environmental impact process creates opportunities for nearby communities to demand mitigations any time logistics operations expand. That process may be the root cause of U.S. leadership in trade node strategies. The following six strategies are specific to trade nodes: â¢ Appointments and pricing strategies at ports. These strategies represent changes to gate access policies. Appointments have been successfully incorporated into port and terminal operations where they have been mandated. However, the research indicates that appoint- ments have little to no influence on turn times. The PierPASS program in Southern California is the sole example of a pricing strategy. It shifted a significant amount of eligible cargo to the evening (approximately 40 percent). â¢ Road pricing to manage hub-related truck traffic. Using road pricing to manage hub-related truck traffic has been frequently studied. However, there are few examples to point to in ana- lyzing the effectiveness of this strategy. Additionally, while separated (and priced) truck-only facilities have been proposed, very few exist. â¢ Accelerated truck emissions programs. These programs seek to lower the average age of a truck visiting a location (e.g., a port). One method to achieve this goal would be to ban older vehicles from accessing a port. Such programs might use financial incentives to encourage trucking com- panies to accelerate the replacement of older, high-polluting vehicles with newer, cleaner trucks.
5 â¢ Equipment management. This strategy aims to change the ownership, storage, and position- ing of chassis and containers to make their use more efficient. â¢ Rail strategies. These strategies improve the flow of freight using grade-separation programs like the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency program (CREATE) and the Alameda Corridor. â¢ Border crossings. Strategies to improve freight flow at border crossings have generally centered on using ITS. The Freight Action Strategy (FAST) project in the Pacific Northwest is an example of a comprehensive approach to cross-border freight management. Task 3: The U.S. Policy Context Metropolitan areas outside the United States offer many promising examples of how urban freightâparticularly truck and van trafficâmight be better managed. Task 3 addresses the question of transferability and discusses the U.S. policy context in which these strategies would be implemented. In the United States, authority for setting freight transportation pol- icy is widely distributed across levels of government; additionally, that authority is becoming more widely distributed to even lower levels of government and fragmented among different agencies. This fragmentation of authority is particularly challenging in the case of freight policy, because freight famously âhas no borders.â The global dynamics that drive freight flows are largely beyond the control of any one government. The fragmentation of authority gov- erning freight policy means that collaboration and consensus building are critical for actions that affect more than a single jurisdiction. Of particular interest to this study are (1) the fragmentation of regulatory authority across different levels of government, (2) differences in governance structures across modes, (3) the absence of any federal entity that has full jurisdiction across modes, and (4) the potential of local governments to participate in all four of the major public agency functions (see Table 11 in Section 3.1). Local governments can have significant influence on freight activity. They can invest directly in new freight facilities, in roads to provide better access, or in favorable zoning practices to attract industry investment. On the other hand, local governments can discourage industry investment through their management of the envi- ronmental review process and control of land use decisions. There are three policy trends in the United States that are especially relevant to urban freight. First, there is a growing disparity in federal surface transportation funding supply and demand that is likely to continue into the future. Second, the United States lacks a national freight policy or program; the freight-related programs in SAFETEA-LU were collections of earmarked projects. The recently passed MAP-21 legislation includes a provision for the development of a national policy for freight infrastructure, but no funds are attached. Third, the devolution of authority in surface transportation to lower levels of government continues. Devolution leads to parochial decision-making and hinders the formation of an efficient national freight system. How do these policy trends affect efforts to solve urban freight problems? First, local decision-makers have no motivation for solving national system bottleneck problems, except as they affect the local community, and they also have little authority to do so. Second, freight transportation problems are typically very visible: ports, rail yards, warehouses, and inter- modal facilities are very large and significant elements of the urban landscape. Therefore, they attract public attention and often generate conflicting views on how such problems should be solved. Third, fragmentation affects the ability of government to address major problems. One of the most telling examples of how fragmentation constrains governing ability is the current state of air quality regulation, where broad authority does not exist. One consequence of the fragmentation of governing authority is the growth of voluntary
6programs achieved via negotiation. Voluntary programs, often-termed voluntary regula- tion, are a good fit for the U.S. governance context. Overall Summary of Report Findings This section summarizes the overall findings of this study in three parts. The first part includes three general observations to be drawn from the literature review. The second part presents the research teamâs assessment of the most promising strategies for better manag- ing urban freight in the United States, and the third part presents recommendations. General Observations Urban Freight Contributes Disproportionately to Externalities Commercial vehicles contribute a significant share of nitrogen oxides, particulate matters, and carbon dioxide emissions in cities and contribute disproportionately to congestion, noise, and road accident fatalities. Freight terminals (e.g., ports) and corridors (e.g., freeways with many trucks) generate pollution âhot spots.â Outside the United States, there is evidence that the average age of urban delivery trucks is older, and that it is common practice to use trucks at the end of their service life for short-distance drayage. There is no information on the average age of delivery fleets in the United States. However, aside from the issue of the age of delivery trucks and vans, the nature of local delivery is short trips and frequent stops, which implies lower fuel efficiency and more emissions. There is evidence that the U.S. port drayage sector operates older (and dirtier) trucks. Thus, the need for better urban freight management strategies is clear. Available Data Are Lacking The data on commercial vehicle traffic in urban areas are extremely limited because there is no common source. The federal government aggregates data on key areas of con- cern including intercity truck flows and truck crashes. State departments of transportation collect the data that do exist on freeways and state highways that run through urban areas. Metropolitan planning organizations have begun to collect urban freight data, particularly with regard to truck movements, but this is more often the case for large trade node metro- politan areas such as Atlanta, Chicago, or Los Angeles. Some data from urban intersections exist, but this is more often the case for locations designated as state highways. For the most part, these data are also primarily collected only for the largest of trucks. The research team did not find any data indicating the number of non-truck commercial vehicle trips, i.e., those undertaken in vans, pick-ups, cars, or bikes. This is a critical information gapâ data from Europe show that about half of urban deliveries are made by vans. Understanding the characteristics of urban freight flows requires basic data on commercial vehicles and what they carry. Spatial Distribution of Freight Supply and Demand Needs Better Understanding There is a need to better understand the factors that drive intra-metropolitan freight flows. The research team identified two main trends on the supply side: decentralization and consolidation. Rising land values provide the economic incentive for land-intensive activities (manufacturing, warehousing, distribution) to decentralize to suburban or exurban locations. Larger parcels in these areas allow for the development of larger, consolidated facilities.
7 On the demand side, new activities in revitalized cores generate additional freight demand, but freight facilities are incompatible with rising land values, limited road capacity, and resi- dential communities. Pick-ups and deliveries to serve these new activities still need to be made, but parking and loading facilities are often inadequate. Just-in-time logistics practices increase the importance of reliability and may result in more frequent shipments. More home-based shopping means more home deliveries and less efficient routing (due to the dispersion of deliveries and risk of non-delivery). Nodal cities have the same set of last-mile issues (park- ing, noise, and emissions) as other regions, but they also have to handle pass-through freight movements bound for locations outside of their region. Assessment of Strategies for Managing Urban Freight Table 1 lists 17 strategies for tackling the urban freight problem. The strategies are split into the three overlapping general categories that were previously introduced: local last-mile delivery/first-mile pick-up, environmental impacts, and trade node problems. The section number in this report in which each strategy is discussed is also given. Table 1 also presents the research teamâs rating of each strategyâs effectiveness and applicability to the U.S. context (possible ratings are high, medium, and low). Each of the strategies is described previously in the Task 2 summary. It is advantageous to the United States that most of the 17 strategies listed are being tried and tested overseas. Domestic policy-makers will be able to assess the results of using these strategies abroad as they consider what strategies will work best in a U.S. context. Among the last-mile strategies, labeling and certification programs, land use planning (in the longer term), and off-hours deliveries are the most effective strategies. However, off-hours delivery programs are less transferable due to the many changes they require Section Number Strategy Eï¬ectiveness Applicability to United States La st -m ile 22.214.171.124 Labeling or other certiï¬cation programs High High 126.96.36.199 Traï¬c and parking regulations Medium High 188.8.131.52 Land use planning policies High High 184.108.40.206 City logistics and consolidation schemes Low Low 220.127.116.11 Oï¬-hours deliveries High Medium 18.104.22.168 Intelligent transport systems Medium Medium En vi ro nm en t 22.214.171.124 Truck fuel eï¬ciency and emissions standards High High 126.96.36.199 Alternative fuels and vehicles Low Medium 188.8.131.52 Low emission zones High Low 184.108.40.206 Alternative modes Low Low 220.127.116.11 Environmental justice Medium High Tr ad e no de 18.104.22.168 Appointments and pricing strategies at ports Medium High 22.214.171.124 Road pricing and dedicated truck lanes to manage hub-related truck traï¬c High Low 126.96.36.199 Accelerated truck emissions reduction programs High Medium 188.8.131.52 Equipment management Medium Medium 184.108.40.206 Rail strategies Medium Medium 220.127.116.11 Border crossings Medium High Table 1. Summary of strategies and their effectiveness and applicability to the United States.
8across the supply chain. Traffic and parking regulations are less effective, because they do not have an impact on the underlying demand for freight moves. Although the research team gave city logistics and consolidation schemes low marks, there are some interesting demonstration projects, such as neighborhood small parcel pick-up centers, that might be highly effective in the United States. The research team rated ITS strategies âmediumâ due to their limited implementation feasibility and the need for more development of some of the most potentially beneficial applications, such as truck parking and loading information systems. Within the category of environmental strategies, global (e.g., national) fuel efficiency and emissions regulations have proven their effectiveness over several decades. LEZs are the most effective to address local hot spots, but do not appear to be feasible under current national and state policy in the United States. Alternative fuel vehicles may prove to be very effective long term, but the technology and market penetration are not sufficient to achieve significant reductions in emissions or energy consumption. Environmental justice efforts are more advanced in the United States than in other countries; however, environmental justice problems are challenging to solve. Among the trade node strategies, pricing and accelerated emissions programs are among the most effective strategies. Despite the effectiveness of pricing, the research team rated it âlowâ on applicability because of the continuing and strong political opposition from various stakeholder groups. Accelerated emission-reduction programs based on negotia- tion and voluntary targets have proven to be effective and are a better fit in the U.S. context. Rail strategies can be effective, but they involve high costs for which there are no obvious funding sources. Recommendations Without further research quantifying the effectiveness of the solutions presented in Table 1, the research team recommends focusing in the short term on those items that are both effec- tive and easily introduced into the U.S. context. The research team found three strategies that fit that definition: (1) labeling or other certification schemes, (2) land use planning and zoning, and (3) truck fuel efficiency and emissions standards. Certification programs can take a number of forms and have been an effective way to devise incentives that introduce performance goals and incrementally move firms to the desired behavior. The authority of local governments to develop and implement planning and building guidelines is clearly established; even in slow economic times, tenants move out and new tenants move in, creat- ing opportunities for redevelopment/improvement and new code enforcement. The United States has a long history of regulating vehicles for fuel efficiency and emissions reductions, and national fleet standards are among the most effective tools for reducing emissions. Lack of data is a crippling problem in the emerging field of urban freight. Most cities can- not answer the following questions: How many vehicles are engaged in commercial activity? How many deliveries and pick-ups occur in a day or a week? Data on delivery characteristics that are accessible to planners and researchers are almost non-existent. More data collection is needed. The role of ITS in data collection is also an issue. Many metropolitan areas are watching their logistics industries move further into the suburbs and exurbs, i.e., logistics industries are decentralizing. These same areas are also seeing fewer and larger facilities, i.e., consolidation. Studying the simultaneous decentral- ization and consolidation is critical to giving policy-makers the information they need to decide whether to discourage or encourage these practices. A good topic to begin studying would be the effect on VMT of decentralization and consolidation. Are large, dense freight centers worse for the environment than multiple smaller, dispersed facilities?
9 Socioeconomic factors such as rising income, aging of populations, and changing con- sumer preferences (i.e., the rise in online purchases) are also important drivers of freight demand. However, our understanding of how these forces affect urban freight flows and how these flows may be better managed remains very limited. Research is necessary to understand the various market segments of local deliveries and their environmental impacts. For example, large corporations such as FedEx or UPS have modern fleets and use very sophisticated routing practices to operate as efficiently as possible. Local independent operators likely do not have the scale or profits to operate as efficiently. Finally, there is a need for careful and systematic evaluation of existing policies and exper- iments (including the strategies listed above). There is a lack of analysis of the impacts of certification schemes, truck access restrictions, and requirements for alternative fuel trucks.