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Talking Freight

Freight Performance Measures

August 18, 2010 Talking Freight Transcript

Presentations

Jennifer Symoun
Good afternoon or good morning to those of you to the West. Welcome to the Talking Freight Seminar Series. My name is Jennifer Symoun and I will moderate today's seminar. Today's topic is Freight Performance Measures. Please be advised that today's seminar is being recorded.

Before I go any further, I do want to let those of you who are calling into the teleconference for the audio know that you need to mute your computer speakers or else you will be hearing your audio over the computer as well.

Today we'll have three presenters, Bill Gardner of the Minnesota DOT, Gordon Proctor of Gordon Proctor and Associates, and Jeff Short of the American Transportation Research Institute.

Bill Gardner is Director of Minnesota DOT's Office of Freight & Commercial Vehicle Operations is responsible for the Department's freight, rail, waterway and CVO programs and activities. Bill has been with Mn/DOT for 11 years and has over 30 years of multi-modal transportation planning, operations and management experience. He has worked for local, regional and state transportation agencies as well consulting and technology firms in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Massachusetts. He has degrees from the University of Wisconsin and the University of North Carolina.

Gordon Proctor is an independent consultant who has specialized in performance management, strategic planning and asset management in the transportation sectors. His recent projects include an international scan on linking transportation budgets to accountability, streamlining the project-agreement process with railroads and in developing strategic plans for AASHTO.

He was with the Ohio Department of Transportation for 15 years before forming his own company in 2007. At the Ohio DOT he served as the head of planning, chief of staff and director.

Jeffrey Short is a Senior Research Associate with the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). In that capacity, Mr. Short has studied a variety of freight transportation topics. He currently serves as ATRI's project manager for the FHWA-sponsored Freight Performance initiative which has developed a national system for measuring the performance of truck movement along U.S. freight corridors and at international border crossings. He holds an M.S. from the Georgia Tech and a B.A. from Emory University

I'd now like to go over a few logistical details prior to starting the seminar. Today's seminar will last 90 minutes, with 60 minutes allocated for the speakers, and the final 30 minutes for audience Question and Answer. If during the presentations you think of a question, you can type it into the chat area. Please make sure you send your question to "Everyone" and indicate which presenter your question is for. Presenters will be unable to answer your questions during their presentations, but I will start off the question and answer session with the questions typed into the chat box. Once we get through all of the questions that have been typed in, the Operator will give you instructions on how to ask a question over the phone. If you think of a question after the seminar, you can send it to the presenters directly, or I encourage you to use the Freight Planning LISTSERV. If you have not already joined the LISTSERV, the web address at which you can register is provided on the slide on your screen.

Finally, I would like to remind you that this session is being recorded. A file containing the audio and the visual portion of this seminar will be posted to the Talking Freight Web site within the next week. We encourage you to direct others in your office that may have not been able to attend this seminar to access the recorded seminar.

The PowerPoint presentations used during the seminar are available for download from the file download box in the lower right corner of your screen. The presentations will also be available online within the next week. I will notify all attendees of the availability of the PowerPoints, the recording, and a transcript of this seminar.

One final note: Talking Freight seminars are now eligible for 1.5 certification maintenance credits for AICP members. In order to obtain credit for today's seminar, you must have logged in with your first and last name or if you are attending with a group of people you must type your first and last name into the chat box. I have included more detailed instructions in the file share box on how to obtain your credits after the seminar. Please also download the evaluation form from the file share box and submit this form to me after you have filled it out.

We're now going to go ahead and get started. Today's topic, for those of you who just joined us, is Freight Performance Measures. Our first presenter will be Bill Gardner of the Minnesota DOT.

As a reminder, if you have questions during the presentation please type them into the chat box and they will be answered in the last 30 minutes of the seminar.

Bill Gardner
Thank you, Jennifer. Good afternoon or good morning depending on where you are in the country. I would like to talk about freight performance measures from a State DOT perspective. And about how and why states are coming together in different ways to define and develop common freight measures and indicators and ultimately create a agreed upon national set of freight metrics.

There have been a number of states active in freight performance measures for some time. States like ours regularly report measures that are relevant to the plans and investments we make as well as broader indicators of transportation systems performance. For purposes of reporting measures we typically classify the world in two ways. One, things as agencies that we have direct control over and those things that we don't have direct control over, but we may in fact influence or at least have a policy commitment that says this is something we care about. For example MNDOT, like other DOTs, regularly reports on highway pavement conditions and traffic congestion. Dashboards containing specific performance targets serve primarily as guidance to internal decision- making about investments. We also report on broader trends for freight performance, for example, the amount of freight tonnage moving through our water ports, as an indicator of overall economic activity and the State's competitiveness. MNDOT produces an overall performance report on an annual basis as you see here as do a number of other states like Washington DOT, North Dakota and Maryland and others. They are targeted to decision makers as well as general public. They typically contain a mix of measures and indicators and also typically include at least some freight related content. States sponsored university and consultant research has helped a number of states to define and develop relevant measures. For example, Oregon State University and Portland State University recently completed a very comprehensive assessment for the Oregon DOT. Multi-state and corridor groups like the AASHTO Mississippi Valley Freight Coalition and the I-95 Corridor Coalition have also completed significant work in freight performance measures.

States are also actively involved in freight research projects under the Transportation Research Board National Cooperative Freight Research Program. A number of these projects address freight data and metrics, in particular the project you will be hearing about today from Gordon Proctor. AASHTO's Standing Committee on Performance Management has helped to serve as a venue to continuing state dialogue on transportation measures and I'll talk about more about that in a minute. Certainly states continue to develop freight performance measures as part of Statewide Freight Plans or their Statewide Transportation Plan and many use advisory committees to get private sector input to help ensure the measures that we are using or promoting are relevant to the freight industry as well.

Recently, a lot of the push for state to work together on freight performance measures has been the result of federal transportation legislation introduced. There is a desire amongst the states to get ahead of the curve and to be part of the solution for developing a national system of performance measures rather than having something imposed upon them.

HR3617 sponsored last year by Minnesota Congressman Oberstar includes in the overall reauthorization act a freight improvement program which is designed to improve operations, capacity and access, and support economic development. The House bill proposes several categories of freight system performance be measured and monitored on by each state including speed, reliability and access. It also proposes a federal state reporting process that I think may have raised eyebrows and perhaps some level of concern amongst the states, not knowing exactly how target levels will be set by the Feds and what it will be used for. For example, would this be used for state to state comparisons or funding allocations? Would it be used to impose new requirements on states that are not meeting their performance targets? Questions like these have motivated a lot of states to elevate the national conversation about performance measures and really again take a leadership role on how this all might play out.

On the Senate side, Senator Lautenberg from New Jersey and Senators Murray and Cantwell from Washington State recently introduced Senate Bill 3629, also called the FREIGHT Act which is probably one the more creative acronyms I have heard in awhile. The Act establishes a national freight transportation policy defines objectives and identifies some fairly specific goals as you can see here, including increasing travel time for reliability on major freight corridors.

The bill requires within two years of enactment that the National Freight Transportation Strategic Plans be developed with a proposed investment plan and priority freight corridors and gateways. It establishes a new USDOT Freight Office to be headed by an assistant Secretary of Freight Planning and Development. It establishes a competitive infrastructure grant program that is open to any public entity and really modeled on the TIGER program. Overall, the act proposes a performance-based approach for freight project selection and attainment of goals. The focus seems to be on a nationally defined freight system and performance rather than individual state performance.

In order to provide leadership in developing a national system for freight performance measures, and to prepare states for this type of federal legislation, AASHTO's Standing Committee on Performance Management which is chaired by Pete Rahn of Missouri has established eight task forces for the purposes of "identifying decision support tools and appropriate performance measures, guidance and education." As you can see, task forces represent a mix of functional and topical areas and do include a Freight/Economic Development Task Force. This task force is chaired by my commissioner, Tom Sorel, who is a very strong advocate for multi-modal transportation.

The Freight Task Force initially included eight or nine states and we have tried to broaden the conversation to include more states by contacting a national survey which I'd like to talk more about.. We contacted the designated AASHTO freight representative for each DOT asking them to complete an online survey with a number of questions about how we should go about developing freight performance measures on a national basis. We received a total of 21 State DOT responses. As a starting point, the survey focused on the three measurement categories suggested in the House Bill: Speed or travel time, reliability and access. The thinking is that State DOT's are most interested in state and regional system performance, in particular, highway performance with these categories representing key attributes of that system. I would like to present the results of the four questions that you see here. We asked states to rate the importance of each of these categories to their own states. Also input on how freight access should be defined, which geographic scale is most important and perhaps most significant, how the measures should be used.

Of the three broad categories, the highest rated was reliability followed by speed or travel time and then access. We don't really know without probing whether the respondents equated importance with system need or whether they were trying to represent system users in their responses, in other words the trucking community. Ranking system reliability as a top priority is consistent with other research that suggests a more predictable system helps to optimize service planning (what mode to use and what route to take and when to travel.) This will in turn help to minimize costs.

We asked about access and what that means to people, suggesting several possible responses as you can see here. Respondents said the adequacy of connecting roadways to major highways and also "last mile" roadway connectors to major freight generating facilities are the most important definitions of freight access. Certainly access can be defined in a lot of other ways and would be very different for some of the other modes like rail or commercial waterway navigation.

We asked what the most important geographic scale is (statewide versus significant freight corridors versus urbanized areas vs. secondary freight corridors versus border crossings.) The results are pretty much the same across all of the categories. This graph shows the results of the Reliability category, with the overwhelming response being significant freight corridors in urbanized areas. We know both recurring and nonrecurring in urbanized areas are the source of unreliability, and significant freight corridors are those that provide critical connections to larger regional and national freight system. Certainly overlap exists. For example major corridors obviously connect our trade centers--in other words, the urbanized areas.

Finally, we asked states to think about how freight measures might be used, particularly funding scenarios and we identified these potential answers. You can see that the responses are somewhat all over the board. They reflect the national discussion. Everyone has ideas on how to best use of freight performance measures and how not to use them. The highest rated use was for evaluation of project impact on system performance. In other words, this could be capturing impact of say a construction project or operational improvement on corridor performance. Ins some of the comments and in the discussion we have with other states, some states are genuinely concerned about how freight measures might be used and foresee some scenarios where they think they might not receive what they perceive to be an equitable share of the funding. Or they would be unfairly compared against other states by ignoring local circumstances or not fully valuing contributions to the national freight system. And so forth.

Based upon the input and discussion thus far, the Task Force at this point recommends pursuing measures of reliability as well as speed or travel time on significant freight corridors including urban corridors. There seems to be a general consensus on these priorities and their definitions. There is a national database of truck GPS data that Jeff Short of ATRI will talk about. This data can be used to calculate measures and there will be comparability in that data across the states. We do have substantial work ahead. Some of which is unchartered territory for the most part. We need to agree on what is a significant freight corridor. We talked about the interstate system, the national network, the national highway system. We need to do some additional vetting with municipalities and the private sector freight community. We do need to get our arms around the concept of access and other freight modes, intermodal service, and economic impact measures to consider. There are a lot of things to think about and a lot of things to pursue. In summary I think the states got off to a good start trying to define freight performance measures and on national level. We will certainly welcome additional participation in this effort. I think at this point I will stop with my presentation and look forward to the discussion a little bit later.

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you, Bill. I think you have a few questions typed in and we will get to those after all three presentations. I will turn it over to Gordon Proctor of Gordon Proctor and Associates.

Gordon Proctor
Thank you very much. Our project with the National Cooperative Freight Research Project Program 03 and I have to stress that project has not been approved or published. Everything I will be talking about is very preliminary. A broad project objective was to develop performance measures to gauge the freight transportation systems to then support investment policy and to be relevant to both the public and private sectors. It is a fairly broad scope in the areas of emphasis. It was basically every aspect of the how the freight network affects the national transportation system or affects society.

We had a broad scope of work and area of emphasis. I think this breath is reflective of society's diverse interests in freight. This is just the third project in the freight research program. The literature review is common on these projects and we found from looking at the private sector use and performance measures used was that if we were developing the metric for the freight systems. We might want to include forward-looking and leading indicators and not just backward looking and lagging indicators. We also might want to suggest that juxtapose competing values such as efficiency and effectiveness against cost and environmental impacts. The concerns of society about freight are quite diverse and something similar to a balanced scorecard may be a good way to portray freight performance measures because it does compare the competing interests into one set of metrics. Whatever metrics we come up with will probably need to be composite ones so we can roll up performance into a national level or drill down into a local level if a MPO or State wanted to do that.

Another thing that we can come across is in addition to providing metrics in a freight performance we probably need to provide interpretation. Sometimes a set of numbers may not give insight into why a trend occurs. If we develop a set of natural freight performance we need to develop architecture so the databases are all compatible and consistent and if we were to do this, we should expect a metrics to evolve. Because nearly every case where the performance measures systems they have evolved quite consistently. We spent time talking to the private sector and interviewing them trying to see if we can come up with a common set of metrics entrusting to both private and public sectors. We found while the private sector uses performance measures very intensely in their own operations, only few of them expressed interest in government provided metrics. When we did a survey, of the private sector, two thirds said they never sought publicly provided performance metrics. They seem to struggle to think about how they would use them with the exception of the things that Jeff Short, ATRI will talk about the little bit in terms of travel time and reliability. When I say the private sector I talk about day to day logistics people that we interviewed. They didn't express a lot of interest in government provided metrics. An exception to that was the Trade Associations like the Chamber of Commerce and so on were very interested in performance metrics. I need to clarify the difference between trade associations who are very interested in metrics and the private sector people who use metrics intensely, but hadn't expressed a lot of interest for government provided performance metrics. The private sector ranked measures they use and in this order: their cost, timeliness, reliability, and their performance. This includes their vendors. They were very interested in cost of logistics and also interested in the performance of national transportation networks.

We found quite a bit of contrast when we surveyed the public sector. The public sector was primarily the same people that Bill surveyed and also state planning people. The rankings between the public and private sectors respondents were basically inverted from each other. The highest ranked measures were cost in the private sector network performance was the highest rated measure in the public sector and cost was the very low rated measure in the public sector. We found quite a bit of difference in what they were interested in. We also found an awful lot of balkanization among the public stakeholders. By this I mean that environmental agencies were interested in environmental issues and water agencies were interested in water measures. Highway agencies were interested in highway measures and rail agencies were interested in rail issues. We did not find a lot of crosscutting interested in particular measures, they were all interested in travel time, reliability and cost. When you boil down to particular metrics we struggled to find a lot of commonality. We found little cross sector concurrence in that the public and private sectors were looking at this quite differently. Some of the agencies such as the Army struggled to think of metrics that would work for them. They really struggled with it. What they needed on the battlefield is different from what they need in terms of logistics of supplies in the United States. The ports were skeptical of comparative measurements. Primarily they were repeatedly saying each individual port was so different in terms of land sides and whether it was a container port or a bulk port that the ports were skeptical that performance measures that were consistently compare ports could be developed.

The research team also looked at the data. If we develop a national set of freight performance measures that we were going to have to have very consistent data or very high quality. It will have to be sustainable. We did two case studies of the Freight Analysis Framework and Transportation Services Index. We both offered good examples of nationwide systems for measuring freight performance and also monitoring freight performance. One thing, if we are to develop a freight performance measurement system it will take substantial investment. The FAF cost $1.6 million to get up and running and TSI which is three measures take a staff of 22 people and a staff of five to sustain. The implications of this are if we are to develop a set of national freight performance measures we need to think through how we fund and staff as the running costs seems to be significant.

The major constraints to developing a national measurement system are several. We have right now ambiguous national goals. We don't have a single agency with the broad span to compile all the measures that the public may be interested in. We don't have dedicated budget and we don't have common data definitional protocols for all the agencies to how they would actually report a metrics.

Another thing, if we produce metrics and we should, we should also provide interpretation. The policy maker in particular will understand a set of measures and they will also need to understand the context that came with them. A lot of performance measurement systems we saw also came with substantial narratives to explain trends that underlie performance that was supported. We need to also describe what good performance is, what the definition is. We found good performance could be interpreted very differently. Supporting documentation would be needed also. The context allows an understanding in addition to a set of numbers.

An example is cost of logistics as a percentage of GDP. It comes from the Council of Supply-Chain Professionals. It is good that it looks at total cost of logistics and divides that by the Gross Domestic Product to see how efficient logistics and process has been. The red line shows the logistics cost as a percentage of GDP has gone down and in general is good until you get to the last year you see the plunge on the right side of the graph. Initially you might say, it is good, logistics industry was very efficient but it reflects a severe downturn in manufacturing output and a severe downturn in freight movement which is not good for the economy. This is an example of if we produce a set of performance metrics we ought to produce interpretive data to go with it to keep perspective.

Even though we have an awful lot of obstacles to develop a national set of performance measures there are also many opportunities. Society has a lot of what we called inferred performance measures. Such as air quality, crash rates, hazardous materials, custom and trade volumes. Metrics were not devised necessarily as national freight performance measures, but they actually are available. We found that some areas such as crashes, air quality or hazardous materials, society found and had defined goals and protocols for measuring them. As we go forward, the measurement freight impacts in terms of externalities are more mature areas of measurement out there.

Air-quality, for instance all the regions that do air quality conformity analysis, if you dissect the data it goes into that make reasonable inferences as to how much came from freight. Injuries to pedestrians on railroads and crossings are very closely monitored. Truck safety is very closely reported. Another opportunity is from the private sector groups such as the Association of American Railroads, American Trucking Association and others produce data that can be captured and is quite sound. This data could go into a national freight performance system.

There are opportunities such as those provided by the Association of American Railroads which for nearly a decade of producing credible websites of comparative performance among all railroads. Australia and in New Zealand have cooperated for more than a decade on a performance measurement dashboard. Groups such as the Corps of Engineers and the EPA all produce metrics can be gathered and put into a performance measure system. What is possible? It does appear to be possible that a first generation cooperative Freight System Report Card could be developed. It could be modeled upon the quantitative report that AAR or Austroads put together and also a set of metrics looking at things such as efficiency, effectiveness, cost and so on.

Here is an example of a simple freight report card could look. One thing, important is trend analysis and not just a point in time. Leading indicators are important and line is important. Taking truck injuries and fatal crashes, the 10 year trend has been very positive. You can produce an "at a glance analysis" and a yearly forecast based on the trends. We are trying to the think if we had to take these measures and boil them down to one or two pages so a member of Congress or a governor or a new DOT director could pick up and look at in complete understanding what the trends have been in major areas such as: effeminacy, effectiveness, investment, crashes, and emissions.

This by itself has some limited value. We think it would be important to provide 10 year past performance or forecast future performance and link it to source documents so a person can dig into these. This is quite obviously very brief. If someone wants to understand it they would have to seek additional information. We think it would be a good idea to have tiers of insight. If we do produce a national freight performance report card, for each metric they ought to have a summary report provides a little bit more information and each one should have a source report. In this case the report would be the Supply-Chain Management Professional's report on the cost of logistics percentage of GDP.

We all may want to consider, if we do develop a freight performance measurement system we ought to develop a documentation system that explains the metrics and the detail behind them. If we use these for policy and investment decisions, people such as Governors or Congressman or those of us that work day-to-day with it need more information than a simple number to dig into. As we develop a freight performance measures system we ought to think of an underlying documentation system that provides reports that a person could drill into.

What would society learn from the simple report cards that we produce with thumbnail metrics? They would learn obviously the freight volumes have increased dramatically. That freight system has been stressed and its future performance is uncertain. We have made significant progress in some areas such as safety and air-quality. But in the area of greenhouse emissions from freight continue to grow. The report card would also show at a glance infrastructure is aging, that the level of investment is probably lacking, and the overall future performance of the freight system may be uncertain.

The impediments to developing such a system are that we need to develop a consensus among a broad group of stakeholders. We also need to begin with what we have. Obviously a budget and staff is necessary to compile and support this. We need a broad number of agencies to contribute. And a consensus has to develop among people like ourselves that we would emulate what the Association of American Railroads or Austroads has done to begin a cross-departmental reporting process. The potential rewards are great. We could have a consistent reliable source of information. There is a potential for significant expansion. You can take any one of these metrics and expand it into its own sub-report card. There is also this kind of metric reporting system that pulls together metrics from a variety of sources and is probably the most easily reduced. If we were to develop one it would be under the understanding of the report of freight. With that, I will stop and turn it over to Jeff and answer questions later.

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you Gordon. We have a number of questions and comments coming in. I will turn it over to Jeff Short, our final presenter for today, of the American Transportation Research Institute. Afterwards, we will get to the questions.

Jeffrey Short
Thank you. We are going to move from it board discussion of freight performance measures to a discussion of specific measures related to travel speed, reliability and distribution of truck movement along the nation's highway. Specifically, I will discuss Federal Highway Administration's measurement initiative and the work associated with that project.

As background, the freight performance measures program, also known as FPM, is a project that began in 2002. ATRI is the lead group and the Federal Highway Administration's Office of Freight Management and Operations is the leading sponsor. The program compiles a monthly data set of truck position data and related information such as speed, time information, and date-stamp information. Each record within the data set also contains a latitude and longitude as well. All of the information is managed to produce performance measurements. Just as an additional side note, the data set consists of billions of unique records from hundreds of thousands of unique trucks. It is a gigantic amount of information. What is the purpose of collecting all this information? Why do we turn truck information into freight performance measures? On a national scale it's important to identify highway improvements that benefit freight movement. Such an activity is further edited from using a standardized data set national in scope such as the one we look at. If a truck goes to a certain place and it is in the data set, we will have a record of it. Therefore we don't have truck information for roads that don't allow the trucks on them for instance. It is important to know the effectiveness of those investments that are made to improve performance at specific locations, such as an investment for an area with a bottleneck. This is generally a function of accountability. One location of note is in Chicago. When we first did our bottleneck analysis in 2007 we noticed a location that had pretty bad traffic during AM and PM peak periods. It turns out, it was a construction zone and after the construction was complete, the location operated at free flow speeds at all hours of the day. One might say that this was a successful investment.

In general it is important to understand and benchmark levels of congestion especially in urban areas for a full understanding of the cost, and the rate of the urban chokepoints. Where freight is coming from or going to is of interest to many who is involved in planning and economic development. The story of this nation's freight movements and routes can be told to the analysis of freight performance measures and the data sets.

Next, we move to key measures. The key measures that we look at through the program are average speed and speed data in general. These measures are central to producing transportation system performance measures related to efficiency. The measures we produce are derived from both analysis of spot speeds and the calculation of space mean speeds or average speed. Additionally the speed can be converted to travel time. We also look at reliability measures which are measures to consistency of travel time over a period of time. Typically, over a period of time that is longer than one year as was mentioned on a reliability webinar yesterday. Finally, we look at truckflows which is economic activity and patterns and demand for roadways and that sort of thing.

First, to get into greater detail on the actual measures, we will look at system performance as measured at the interstate level through the FPM. At a national level we are producing measures for and analyzing more than 20,000 of multi-directional highway segments, roughly 30,000 miles of highway. You see on this map, the coverage we have through this type of performance measurements. What you see in the map is basically a GIS presentation of the average speed data during a one-year time period.

There is a very large amount of information behind just these colored lines. Looking through the slides, further, you can see close-ups of the regions. You see some red in the New York City and Chicago areas. The information behind these maps allows us to determine average travel speed, time and reliability for those interstate corridors. Those average speeds can be viewed by time of day or day of the week or etc. Additionally, the data behind these maps is available to transportation agencies through tool called a FPM Web which you may have heard of. This tool can be found at www.freightperformance.org.

We will next move on to system performance on the urban corridor level. In addition to these broad interstate corridors, this program uses spot speed data for performance of smaller segments of urban corridor highways. This map is of Houston, there are no road layers on this map; it is just pure truck position data. The green indicates the trucks are moving at highway free flow speed. The red areas and orange areas are trucks that are stopped and particular facilities.

One example of the work that we have been doing in this area is freight bottleneck monitoring. In 2009, this program conducted analysis of average rates using this type of urban spot speed data at 100 national locations. This map shows the 100 locations we look at and quantify the level of congestion by hour of day at each location. Most highly congested areas of the 100 monitored locations are shown in the chart. It is planned that up to 250 locations will be monitored by 2011. The analysis will be released as a report on 2010 activity at the beginning of next year. We will be increasing the number of areas of locations that are monitored. For this particular type of analysis we will increase that greatly in the year to come.

Monitoring reports for each location include peak and nonpeak speeds which are shown in this example. A congestion index is created for each location which takes into an account the number of trucks as well as severity and duration of times when free flow of these are not reached. When combined with data on trucking operational of costs like this 2008 ATRI study, the cost of freight bottlenecks can be quantified.

Here is a look at some of the operational cost information that goes into our calculations. We determined that on average, the marginal operating cost per mile is $1.73 and per hour is $83.68. If you take this type of information and plug it into a location. An example is this bottleneck known as the Spaghetti Junction in Georgia. You look at the hourly decreases in speed during peak periods especially during the PM peak period where average truck speed are down to 25 mph. You can come up with the calculation. In this case it is $5.7 million annually of additional marginal operating cost that the trucking industry received for just these particular operating costs. You add that up across all locations and additional costs related to passenger vehicle operators, etc. This number increases exponentially. Large numbers like this certainly justify infrastructure investment.

Next is a brief discussion on border crossing information. The program is actually in the middle of producing a new border crossing tool that will calculate border crossing performance measures. The information produced by this tool using the FPM data will be available to the public and show monthly or weekly average trip times between two virtual locations that are depicted in this graphic. Moving onto freight flows. Where and when freight flows tells a story of which highways are critical to freight transportation systems and what economic activities are occurring. The first method of truck flow analysis that we conduct for FPM utilizes the space-mean speed database which we discussed earlier. That produces measures for the 25 segments which were shown earlier. Each segment of highway has a certain number vehicle trips that goes into a given average travel calculation. Counting those numbers can give us an idea of when and where freight is moving as shown in the map. The thicker lines indicate higher levels of demand during a particular four hour time period depicted in the map.

Another example of truck movement analysis is shown here, and this is the state of Georgia. The patterns on the map clearly show key freight hubs as well as roads that may economic activity possible. There are no road layers on this map; these are just the trips that are a one or two or five day segment of trucks being pulled to show the lines of travel that occurred. When this information is analyzed in the GIS environment, there is a high-level origin-destination patterns emerge.

Here's a close-up of the Atlanta Metro area. You can see that the major truck movements are going through the city of Atlanta to this key point where Interstate 85 and 75 and 20 meet. You can see an outer beltway where cities like Rome or Athens are included. We will move through a series of slides that show freight flows for trucks traveling from three different urban areas. The first location is Chicago as we progress through the slides you will see the origin location of 1,000 trucks that are used in each analysis. Here is where we took 1,000 trucks that were at a given point at a given time of day. I think it was October 2009. At this particular location after one day of travel, after 24 hours, this is where the vehicles moved. After two days, this is the location. Within five days they reached these locations and you see some trucks made it all the way to California, Florida, and New York City. Many are staying within the region and going back and forth, of course. Here's after seven days.

Next I will show Phoenix in the bottom left corner. After one day, after two days, after five days, and after seven days.

Finally, I will move through Flint, Michigan an even smaller location. After one day, after two days, after five days, and after seven days. It is interesting to notice here in this slide the clear connection between Mexico and the Ontario, Detroit region. There is clearly travel between those locations. That is all I have a will turn it back over to Jennifer.

Question and Answer

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you, Jeff. We will start off the question and answer session with the questions online. Once we get through those, if people have time we will open the phone lines. Continue to type your questions and we will move through them until we are out of time. I will bring up the introduction slide that has information about the presenters, their e-mail addresses, and the Freight LISTSERV information.

I will start at the top of the list of questions and work our way down. The first questions were primarily for Bill, but I invite any of the presenters to jump in. Bill, this was directed towards your presentation. Since most states don't have international borders, it appears that their importance may be understated. Do you want to comment on that?

Bill Gardner
That could be. I think this is like peeling the layers of an onion. Some things are going to be more applicable to some states than others. Certainly border crossings are not only important for the states that are on the borders, but for trade overall and national trade. I don't think there is any intent at this point to exclude or specifically include, border crossing activities, but it is obviously critical for the nation as a whole.

J. Symoun
The next question is: what is the list of states included in the task force questions?

B. Gardner
I see there is a follow-up question on whether or not the survey results are posted online. I don't recall whether the list of states responding specifically in that report. If it is not, we will confirm or provide that listing within that summary and confirm the summary is still online. Which, I believe is under material of the AASHTO Standing Committee on Performance Management

J. Symoun
For freight corridors, is there a need to consider more than just the interstate highway system?

B. Gardner
Certainly, in my mind that is a key discussion topic. How do we define significant freight corridors? Obviously, it is not just the interstate system. Lots of heavy truck volumes are on the interstate system, but there are significant large regional corridors that may have portions off the interstate system. Some of the work that Jeff was talking about as well as the Freight Analysis Framework and freight flow information would probably be needed to define where those significant moves are and make sure they are incorporated. Yes, certainly more than the interstate system. Because we have good data on the interstate system, it may be the appropriate starting point.

J. Symoun
You did just answer this, but can you mention again is the AASHTO report and survey result available online?

B. Gardner
I'm pretty certain it is. If you look under the Standing Committee on Performance Management under AASHTO, I believe it is in the list of materials there. We will verify and make sure it is posted if it is not.

J. Symoun
I will type in the AASHTO website into the chat box and people should be able to find it from there. I believe the next question was directed towards Gordon. What about including measures related to energy use and source?

Gordon Proctor
What measures are included in terms of energy use? Is that the question?

J. Symoun
Yes.

G. Proctor
Okay don't think we had energy used other than total petroleum use and we were suggesting all the air quality measures that are commonly produced for conformity analysis such as TOCs, NOx and particulates and we mentioned greenhouse emissions. We did have an extensive series of energy measures just one measure but then related to them and directly related would be the greenhouse emissions.

J. Symoun
If the last two years decline of GDP-FL indicates the decline in Manufacturing, how do the previous decades reflect the movement of manufacturing overseas?

G. Proctor
That, I am not sure. If you were to read several years of the Council Supply-Chain Management Professionals report, the general trend line has been because efficiencies in the overall transportation system and logistics industry and the cost of inventory and goods in particular. The major factor last year was manufacturing appeared to be a smaller percentage of the overall economy because of its decline that there were less goods produced. Therefore the amount of freight as a percent of GDP fell where other sectors such as the telecommunications sector did not fall as much.

And our point of using that example is to show that just saying the decline of logistics as a percentage of GDP; you may want to understand what the unintended consequences are of that trend. Therefore if we measure freight performance we should also provide clarifying background explanations. As to why the trends occur. As I recall from the Council of Supply-Chain Management of Professionals report from last year the overall decline in economic output particularly in manufacturing led to rather steep drop-off in overall logistics and lead to the decline in logistics cost as a percent of the GDP.

J. Symoun
Do we need to develop metrics that can compare USA against Europe, Asia for example?

G. Proctor
It would be nice. But the level of complexity to compare exactly what they mean by what we mean by it particular measurement makes it orders of magnitude more complex than what we are looking at here. What we came up against, over and over again in research, was if you compare two different bodies you have to have a common architecture and data system for both. They have to define everything the exact same way and report on the exact same timeframe using the exact time of geographic referencing system. While it would be nice, to compare Europe and the United States, and you might be able to do so at it very gross level. Boiling it down to a literal performance metric that was credible would be extremely complicated on an ongoing basis.

We spend quite a bit of time in the report talking about what a performance measure is. If you are talking about just gross indicators, you may be able to make some comparative analysis between Europe and the United States. If you are trying to get it down to a precise metrics to measure the success of in investments or performance of a facility you talk about a great deal of granularity that becomes quite expensive to maintain and sustain. It may be nice to compare the United States to Europe on an ongoing basis with the degree of complexity that we do with other areas like air quality, it would become quite expensive and intrusive.

J. Symoun
We now have some questions for Jeff. The Rio Grand Valley is surprisingly omitted from the speed study considering we have four International Bridge Crossings and we have one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas. Jeff, would you like to comment on that?

Jeffrey Short
As far as interstates, we have a list of top 25 interstate locations that were deemed the most freight significant corridors in the United States based on FAF data. Those are the 25 that we went with on those corridors. As far as crossing time into Mexico, those tend to be very difficult to calculate because of the amount of data is rather small. Not many United States carriers send their drivers into Mexico. Many vehicles coming from Mexico are not equipped with this type of technology. I hope that answers the question.

J. Symoun
Is there are reason that Interstate Highway 30 in Texas and Arkansas was not included on the freight travel speed map in Mr. Short's presentation?

J. Short
Again, the same reason that I just mentioned. We went with 25 corridors. You can certainly send me and Crystal Jones at Federal Highway a request to have that location monitored in the future. We are going to, as I said, monitor additional bottlenecks. We hope to also increase the number of interstate corridors.

J. Symoun
The $5.7 million you mention for Atlanta Spaghetti Junction suggests perhaps that if there was a project cost amortized at say $3 million per year that the freight industry would consider a freight user charge here to pay for it?

J. Short
I am not sure if in that location a user charge for the freight industry would be advisable or if the freight community would embrace that. I would suggest the current amount of money put in the highway trust fund could be allocated towards that particular location. I don't want to go into a spiel about how much money is raised through the diesel tax annually. The diesel tax is mostly paid for by the trucking industry. That money for instance, could go towards that particular project and would help freight movement.

B. Gardner
This is Bill Gardner. I want to add a comment if I could. Our department is conducting a research project with the University of Minnesota to look at scenarios of distanced-based road pricing specific to trucks to see whether or not there would be sufficient benefits that would accrue to those users that they would in fact support that kind of a scheme. The researchers are trying to draw on some of the things that have been discussed internationally as well as in this country and to better define what the benefits might be. It is very important that any type of a scheme like that produces an equitable distribution of both benefits and costs, of course.

J. Symoun
Okay, thank you. Dan Murray typed a comment in there that I think is in response to that question. I definitely want to encourage the dialogue to continue in the chat area. We encourage that, anyone's thoughts or further questions can be submitted.

Jeff, this is again a question for you. Is speed data available on non-interstate roads, especially near MPO roads or interstate business loops?

J. Short
Absolutely, it is available anywhere from where our truck population of several hundred thousand trucks travels. We are involved with several MPO studies such as the Houston MPO study. We just finished a study with the Atlanta Regional Commission. Basically, all of North America if the truck is in our database that will have speed data. Thinking back to the slide showed for Houston that is a small time period of data in that particular location. There is a lot of data in that map that I showed you which is piled on top of itself.

J. Symoun
I just wanted to mention that Dan Murray is also with ATRI and he has been responding to some questions as well. I want to thank you Dan for providing supporting information as well. The next question for Jeff is: could the FPM data be used to distinguish between the volume of inter-regional (MPO region) and through-trips?

J. Short
Yes, we worked with MPOs on this and isolate specific trips that either do or do not have stops within a particular polygon or region.

J. Symoun
This next question is for all presenters. What are key measures you have come across in measuring the flexibility, especially pinpointing bottlenecks of intermodal systems?

B. Gardner
We are part of a research project with the Mississippi Valley Freight Coalition looking at resiliency of the freight network when there are disruptions to the freight system or significant bottlenecks. The primary measure is the cost of delay. That is one being explored currently.

G. Proctor
I think our project was intended to support the function of congressional decision-making and when we looked at intermodal bottlenecks, we were stuck with the dilemma of how you would defined a intermodal bottleneck and how you put in place and in pose the measurement system that would be in place for years at a time. We do not come up with a set of intermodal bottleneck measures. We recognize that the National Highway System and the intermodal connectors are important. For instance the ports were a good example. The ports who are very knowledgeable on how to run their operations were among the groups most skeptical the ability to develop an ongoing accurate reporting performance measurement process. They said, just because the extreme variability between their ports and what would cause delay on any given any day. When you try to develop a way to measure all intermodal exchangers on a consistent ongoing basis, we decided the preliminary stage of national freight performance measurement that would have to be left for later time when the process is more mature. We could not envision at this point with the available tools how you would measure, staff, and support it on an ongoing basis.

J. Short
We have not done a large amount of analysis with intermodal information. We focused on trucking specific operations, but we can see trucks entering and leaving intermodal facilities and we see delays in these facilities. We work with trailer tracking data. We do focus on national truck trips. Primarily, truck-rail intermodal is less than 4% of all tonnage. It is not a large segment of what is out there to be measured.

J. Symoun
The next question is again for all of the presenter. It was mentioned that ports are skeptical of measurements since each port is different. What measurements would any of you suggests or recommend for ports?

G. Proctor
We asked that question repeatedly and we got many different answers for many different people. I cannot say we would recommend any set of them as being representative of a consensus that there were good measures. Some examples were the turnaround time of the ship in port, the efficiency of roadway connections into the port, the storage area, and the lift efficiency. When we tried to interview the they would come back and say about based on the configuration of our port we may be inefficient in that sector, but we make up for it in some other compensation.

When we get into operational, that is where we reach a lot of skepticism. We spent a bit of time reviewing a MARAD report to Congress and not only could they not measure the port, but they couldn't even come up with a set of metrics which could be agreed upon by the port industry. That seems to be an area that will need a lot of additional work if we are going to measure and understand the efficiency.

B. Gardner
I think our primary focus in Minnesota has been more of an indicator of amount of freight and commodity types that move through various ports. This would be not so much to compare them within a state but as a comparison with other states and an industry analysis of what is going on. On a programmatic level, as we have investment programs available for example to improve rail lines and roadway connectors leading to ports, we are moving towards an asset management approach to try to suggest a strategy for improvement. It is not so much a report card level, but programmatically developed to identify projects and to request funding at the state level.

J. Symoun
If Jeff has anything to add to that? Is Jeff on the line?

J. Short
Sorry I was on mute. I do not.

J. Symoun
Jeff, I think the next question was for you. Can we identify a truck are running full or empty or running imports or exports?

J. Short
We do not have commodity information that we used for these performance measures. Is it possible in the future? I believe so.

J. Symoun
The next question is posed to all presenters, but I am not sure if I understand the question. Will there be a matrix related to gross weights? Which states still employ the primary and secondary roadway system network in some aspect? For example, the gross weight table listed in state statute is linked to primary and secondary roadway designations, and do not refer to functional classification system? Is this how other states operate as well?

J. Short
I'm not sure. I can't answer that.

B. Gardner
The only thing I can think of is State statutes versus Federal requirement defining certain systems for allowable truck weights and size. That is a very defined system. I have not thought about it in terms of performance in relationship to weight. I'm not sure what the line of inquiry is there, but it has raised my interest.

J. Symoun
Marilee if you want you can clarify by typing in or in a few minutes we will open the phone lines if you want to ask over the phone. The next question is for Jeff. Regarding border crossings, do you include Mexico as well as Canada, and in both directions? Do you look only at roadway congestion or also at congestion related to security measures?

J. Short
We look at both congestion related to roadway congestion and security measures. Basically, it is the time it takes to get from one location on one side of the border to one location on the other side of the border. What we are currently looking at is five US-Canada crossings in both directions. The tool that we are building will include 15 locations between the US and Canada. We are not looking at US-Mexico crossings for reasons that I mentioned earlier. I believe there are others that are looking at those crossings.

J. Symoun
The next question, I think you have answered already. For truck movement in general do, you have data on vehicle types and cargo?

J. Short
No, I think Dan mentioned this in the chat. We have met with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and as many of you know they are working on the FAF. We discussed linking the FAF with this FPM information. In the Atlanta office, a couple of us combined the two data sets regarding average annual daily truck traffic and that information. The two data sets, we have been able to connect. It is just a matter of looking at commodities from this point. As far as the data we receive, we don't directly receive that at the moment from the sources of data we have.

J. Symoun
The next question, I am not sure if it is meant for you Jeff or for the audience itself. Has anyone linked the value of commodity specific O-D flows from FAF flows to the truck 'O-D' data produced by ATRI? Can we do it, and can we then put an economic value on these flows?

J. Short
I think we absolutely can. When you look at the maps I showed at the end of the presentation that is 1000 trucks moving over seven days. The information can be compiled and analyzed in a GIS environment for years and years. The information is looking at hundreds of thousands of trucks. Can we put economic values on these? Absolutely we can. It can show how critical these truck movements are to the nation's economy. It is a lot of number crunching and computing, but we are definitely looking at how this is best done and various methodologies.

B. Gardner
It seems to be the real challenge. When we have used Freight Analysis Framework data and cross-reference with our own truck counts it has been problematic. It works better in some places than others. It is absolutely the right area to pursue.

J. Short
The wonderful thing is that it is actual movement of actual trucks. It is not modeled; it is exactly what they are doing.

J. Symoun
I don't see any other questions typed in at this point. We will go ahead and give instructions on how to ask questions on the phone.

Operator
If you would like to ask a question press star one on your phone. Then you can un-mute your phone, state your name, and ask your question. To withdraw your question, please press star two.

J. Symoun
If you are listening on the computer, you will not be able to do this. This only works if you have called in on the phone.

Operator
We have no questions at a time.

J. Symoun
If there are no further questions we will go ahead and end a little bit early. I want to thank all three presenters. We had three very interesting presentations. Thank you for everyone in attendance. We had a lot of good discussion going on. The recording from today, the presentation, and the transcript; if you give me one minute another question just came in.

This might be a clarification on a previous measure. Will there be a performance measure for gross weight as compared to speed, reliability such as is a truck more efficient at a given gross weight. This is for anyone to answer.

G. Proctor
In our research project we did not get into that degree of granularity on a national set of metrics.

B. Gardner
This is Bill Gardner. We certainly pursued questions like that under different initiatives. For example research on truck size and weight, various configurations, and the benefits of cost of that to users and systems managers. We have calculated a lot of that. We haven't discussed trying to incorporate that per se into a national set of metrics. There are certainly initiatives at a national level affecting truck size and weight and allowing higher weights with an additional axle.

J. Short
Dan actually commented, but I will read what his comment is. ATRI developed a fuel efficiency model with Cummins that cross-factors weight, speed and fuel efficiency. We did that for the Maine DOT and I believe there is a report on our website, www.atri-online.org.

J. Symoun
The second part of the question is: do other states maintain a gross weight table related to primary and secondary route designations? I am not sure if the presenters are aware of this, so anyone else on-line can type anything in the chat.

B. Gardner
We don't define our system with those labels. They are defined in other ways. Weight limits are applicable to certain types of roads whether it is a local or state or the interstate. Each has its own that limits and particular allowance. In general we do that. But we don't have labels of primary or secondary.

G. Proctor
For instance in Ohio there is some weight variation by some function of class. Primarily, very heavy loads are permitted and analysis is based on specific bridges which would be needed to pass over.

J. Symoun
If anyone in attendance has any thoughts on that they can type it in. I don't see any more questions now so we will go ahead and close. If you think of anything as I read these last few pieces, please type it in.

As I mentioned, the recorded version of this event will be available within the next few weeks on the Talking Freight website.

As a reminder, if you are an AICP member and would like to receive 1.5 Certification Maintenance credits for attending this seminar, please make sure you were signed in today with your first and last name or type your first and last name into the chat box if you are attending with a group of people. Please download the evaluation form and email it to me after you have completed it. Please also download the CM Credit instructions if you are unsure of how to obtain your credits for today's seminar.

The next seminar will be held on September 15. This seminar is not yet available for registration but I will send out additional information through the Freight Planning LISTSERV once registration is available.

If you haven't done so already, I encourage you to visit the Talking Freight Web Site and sign up for this seminar. The address is up on the slide on your screen. I also encourage you to join the Freight Planning LISTSERV if you have not already done so.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

Updated: 03/28/2011
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