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Talking Freight

Performance Measurement: National and Local

August 17, 2005 Talking Freight Transcript

Jennifer Seplow:

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

Today we'll have three speakers -Lance Neumann of Cambridge Systematics, Crystal Jones of the Federal Highway Administration, and Cecil Selness of the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Lance Neumann is the President of Cambridge Systematics and has over twenty five years of experience consulting to a wide range of Federal, state, local and international transportation agencies. His work has focused on strategic planning, capital programming and budgeting, finance, and management systems. Over the past decade, he has worked with a variety of federal, state and regional agencies on performance measurement and improving the ability of these organizations to define performance goals and establish greater accountability in the delivery and management of transportation programs and services. He served as the Principal Responsible for business planning projects with the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Massachusetts Port Authority that connect agency strategic plans to performance goals and measures. He also served as Principal Responsible for a comprehensive performance audit of the Washington Department of Transportation and a program delivery review of the Oregon Department of Transportation. He has been involved in performance measurement and management projects with the Office of Secretary, U.S. DOT and a wide range of states including Florida, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Arizona, Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania. He has co-chaired two national conferences on performance measurement sponsored by TRB, AASHTO, FHWA, FTA and the National Transit Institute. He chairs the TRB Committee on Performance Measurement and recently facilitated two peer exchanges on performance measurement involving staff from FHWA, FTA, state DOTs, transit properties and MPOs. He received his BS degree in civil engineering from Brown University and his Masters and Ph.D. degrees in civil engineering from MIT.

Crystal Jones is a Transportation Specialists in FHWA's Office of Freight Management and Operations. Crystal joined the Office of Freight Management and Operations in October 2003. Prior to joining FHWA she worked for the Department of the Army for 11 years where she held several positions in transportation and logistics within the former Military Traffic Management Command, the Office of the Chief Army Reserve and the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics at the Pentagon. Crystal's primary area of expertise is with transportation management systems (port and domestic freight management) and supply chain automation. Crystal also has extensive experience in the areas of programming and budgeting and strategic and performance planning.

Within the Office of Freight Management and Operations Crystal is the focal point for developing, implement and supporting internal and external agencies' programs that improve efficiency of goods movement across us international land border crossings. She also has responsibility for managing the office's Freight performance Measurement program, aimed at monitoring the agency's progress in Global Connectivity. As a member of the Intermodal Freight Technology team, Crystal provides support the Electronic Freight Manifest ITS initiative and other technology programs focused on improving movement of freight.

Crystal holds a Bachelor's Degree in Industrial Technology with and concentration in Computer Science from Elizabeth City State University, and a Masters of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University. She is a member of the National Capital Region Chapter of the National Defense Transportation Association.

Cecil Selness is the Director of the Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations for the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT). In this capacity he is the chief freight advocate for the state and administers the planning, regulation and programming of projects for the railroad and waterways industries. He also administers the Department's responsibilities in regulation of the motor carrier Industry including the issuing of credentials, hazardous material regulations and the issuance of size and weight permits on the highway system.

Mr. Selness has worked for the State of Minnesota for 31 years in a variety of transportation planning and management positions

I'd 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. The Operator will give you instructions on how to ask a question over the phone during the Q&A period. However, if during the presentations you think of a question, you can type it into the smaller text box underneath the chat area on the lower right side of your screen. Please make sure you are typing in the thin text box and not the large white area. Presenters will be unable to answer your questions during their presentations, but I will use some of the questions typed into the chat box to start off the question and answer session in the last half hour of the seminar. Those questions that are not answered will be posted to the Freight Planning LISTSERV. The LISTSERV is an email list and is a great forum for the distribution of information and a place where you can post questions to find out what other subscribers have learned in the area of Freight Planning. 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. To access the recorded seminar, please visit and click on the "recorded events" link on the left side of the page and then choose the session you'd like to view. Due to the size of the file, recorded files are available for viewing/listening purposes only and cannot be saved to your own computer. We encourage you to direct others in your office who may have not been able to attend this seminar to access the recorded seminar.

The PowerPoint presentations used during the seminar will also be available within the next week. I will notify all attendees of the availability of the PowerPoints, the recording, and a transcript of this seminar.

We are now going to wait a few minutes until 1:00 to give others a chance to join us. At 1:00 we'll start with the first presentation of the seminar. So, Operator, please put everyone back into hold at this time.

It's now about 1:00 and I see that many others have joined in so let's begin. Today's topic, for those of you who just joined us, is Performance Measurement - National and Local. Our first presentation of the day will be that of Lance Neumann of Cambridge Systematics.

If you think of questions during this presentation or during any of the other presentations, please type them into the chat area on the screen. Questions will be answered in the last 30 minutes of the seminar.

Lance Neumann:

Note: Approximately 5 minutes of the beginning of this presentation were not transcribed.

Thanks Jennifer. I'd like to touch on three topics. First, I'll provide some perspectives on freight performance measures. Second, I'll summarize some

performance measures work that's been a part of a NCHRP project, that's been done by some of my colleagues here. And then, I'll close with just a few examples of how we have used performance measures in some freight projects to give a flavor for how they become operational.

Perspectives on system performance and the performance measures that may be of most interest and relevance vary depending on your role. This is particularly true with respect to users, shippers and carriers of freight, versus owners and operators of the system such as state DOTs and MPO's, and anybody else involved in operating public infrastructure. Similarly, depending on the geographic scale of the issue you are looking at, the kinds of measures you may want to look at, will vary. Finally, and something that we find in every performance measure area of interest including freight it is relatively easy to come up with a long list of measures that would be interesting and relevant and useful. However, the measures that we can actually use will always be affected by the data that's available and the tools that are available to use that data, and particularly, to forecast performance into the future.

With that as background, this slide is just trying to illustrate how the measures that may be of interest will vary, depending on your role and responsibility. For example, shippers, the folks who are trying to bring their goods to market are looking at issues like service cost, speed, reliability, security, and visibility. By visibility, I mean the ability to track their shipments in real-time from origin to destination. As we move to the right of the figure, other stakeholders have their own perspective on the performance measures that are most important to them and their role, but they have to be aware of the measures that are of interest to other stakeholders. For example, carriers, folks who are carrying the freight are most concerned about business profitability, and their return on investment. But as they think about those measures, they have to think about them in the context of what their customers, the shippers, are worried about. In other words, their profitability and return on investment will depend on their ability to deliver the performance that their customers, the shippers, are looking for. When we get to the infrastructure owners and operators, the state DOTs and other public agencies, these groups are thinking about freight in the context of the broader issue of managing a transportation system, not just for freight, but for passengers as well. When they think about issues like congestion, mobility, safety, security, economic development, a variety of specific performance measures may be relevant reflecting their broad mandate in delivering transportation infrastructure and service. However, to reflect freight concerns in their overall performance measures they also must recognize the measures of most concern to both carriers and shippers. The gateways and corridors example illustrates how geographic scale as well as stakeholder views affect what performance measures are most useful. At a particular choke point or terminal, the nature of the issues and performance measures of interest will be different than they would be at a regional or statewide level. Clearly, state DOTs, MPOs and other agencies make decisions that affect the performance measures that are important to folks in the freight world, shippers and carriers. But I think it's also the case that shippers and carriers make many decisions reflecting their business needs, quite independent from what states and MPO's are doing. These decisions in the private sector are not necessarily in conflict with actions that public agencies are taking but they are not coordinated and not necessarily in response to anything that the public sector is doing. And that's one of the complexities that the public sector faces in dealing with freight issues and trying to resolve freight concerns. Finally, I'd like to make the point here that as states, MPO's and other agencies attempt to address freight issues and concerns there is a lot of information and data about performance as it affects freight, that they don't have access to. For example, trying to understand how many on-time delivery windows are affected by incidents on the transportation system would be an interesting performance measure, but the data for that is not readily available to the public sector. So we have to deal with those constraints when we deal with freight performance measures.

In terms of data and tools, I already mentioned that data and tool availability ultimately affects what we can do in performance measures in any area of performance and freight is no different. On the tools side, I think what we see in the freight area is the evolution of a set of analytic tools that are adaptations of passenger tools such as passenger demand forecasting and assignment techniques. This is particularly true in the U.S. at this point. We're beginning to see more specialized freight oriented tools, things like logistics models and supply chain models, that are focusing more on freight and provide a more detailed view of freight operations. Use of these types of tools is more prevalent in Europe but they are beginning to make their way into this country as well. Much of the data that is required to measure freight system performance is in the private sector and that is just one of the realities that we have to live with.

I'd now like to move onto our recent project that focused on methods for forecasting statewide freight movements. Before I provide an overview of the project itself, I'd like to acknowledge our principal investigator, Dan Beagan. As I provide a summary of this project, anything that's interesting and useful, Dan is responsible for. For anything that's confounding, confusing, or contentious, I'll take was responsibility. The project is completed and the final report should be available through the NCHRP website very soon. The focus of the project was to develop a tool kit for statewide freight forecasting including identifying freight oriented performance measures that can be generated by available forecasting tools and data. The performance measures selected were tied to specific freight policy and analytical needs identified by state DOTs. A key requirement of the project was to identify measures that can be developed and forecast with available data and tools. The focus of the project was on synthesizing the existing state of the practice in terms of tools and available data not advancing the state of the art.

This table provides a summary of what state DOT's identified as the most important issues that they deal with in the freight area. There were 3 areas that were identified as very high priority: overall statewide transportation planning including the development of multimodal statewide plans, long range plans, and freight plans; project prioritization and development of STIPs; and modal diversion analysis, primarily a truck/rail issue. The table also identifies a broad range of other issues that were somewhat lower priority from the states' perspective and I won't go through them all. However all the areas shown represent issues that states are focused on and where additional freight analytic tools and freight performance measures would be helpful.

This slide is showing some of the performance measures relevant to two areas of concern; statewide planning and modal diversion. The report itself contains a long list of potential freight performance measures. I mentioned that the easiest part of performance measurement in my opinion is generating a long list of interesting measures. The challenge, of course, is figuring out what measures are relevant to what issues, and what measures can be supported by available data and analytic techniques. This is just a summary of one large table in the report that identifies for each of the policy areas or analytic needs that states identified, some of the performance measures that are available. The other thing that we wanted to do in this report is for every measure that we were suggesting for a particular analytic need or policy issue to identify what analytic tools or techniques could generate that measure. Again, this is just a small example, I'm not going to go through every item in the figure, but it's just showing where things like direct factoring of flows from a trip assignment, or direct factoring of origin destination information from an OD table can generate particular kinds of measures. Obviously, the analytic techniques shown , including traffic assignment are capabilities that are present in a standard transportation demand analysis package but applied to freight. In many cases, of course, these capabilities, and these analytic techniques can be multi modal, and rely on commodity flow data. So, with that as kind of a quick sense of what this NCHRP report is about, and how it relates to today's topic, performance measures , I want to give you a couple of quick examples of some projects at CS where we have used specific freight performance measures. This first example is looking at truck infrastructure oriented improvements in the San Joaquin valley in California. This was used to generate performance measures for a range of different improvement projects. Those performance measures included delay by travel class, travel times for major OD pairs, incident delay on freeways, accidents by type and vehicle class, and emissions by vehicle class, obviously, air quality always being a key issue in California whether we are talking about passenger or freight. For each measure, a range of different improvement packages were addressed including improving east/west highway capacity in this area, general purpose capacity increases, truck lanes and truck bypasses, vehicle emissions technology for the trucks themselves, and improved access to a particular freight terminal. A second example is the San Pedro port truck trip reduction study. In this case we were focusing on a particular port involving a more narrow geographic scale in terms of the particular impact area. Again, a trip generation model and travel demand model results were linked to a spreadsheet post processor to generate the performance measures that were relevant for this particular application. Those measures in this case being port truck trips, truck traffic by time period, and particularly on I- I-710, port truck VMT, and again air quality emission impacts from both truck and rail, since some strategy strategies were encouraging a certain amount of diversion across modes. The type of strategies that were evaluated are shown here, extended gate hours, container management, expanding on dock rail, near dock rail, and shuttle train service to an inland point. Again, just an example of, for a particular freight issue, how you are now able to identify some performance measures that are relevant, and using existing analytic techniques, generate performance information that can be used to help in the evaluation process. In conclusion, I think there are, indeed, a wide range of freight-related performance measures available at this point. We always have to keep in mind this notion that I mentioned that the measures that are of interest will vary, depending on the stake holder group that we are talk talking about. In the public sector, we constantly have to be mindful of those measures that the private freight community is most concerned with as we think about what we're doing in the public sector. While data and tools constrain the measures that can be used, certainly the NCHRP 8-43 results suggest there are a wide range of performance measures relevant to freight that are available and can be generated by available data. This is not to suggest that better data and certainly enhanced tools are not useful, because they are, but we can get on with this business at least to some extent today and obviously, the state of the practice will continue to improve. Finally, and this is a personal editorial note, we constantly have to look for ways to strengthen the connection between the measures that we're using in the public sector, often with broader objective than freight in mind, with the shipper/carrier perspective. Strengthening that connection will improve the effectiveness of public sector efforts focused on improving freight mobility and also make it easier to engage some of these stake holders in the broader freight planning process. So with that, I'll stop, and let our next speaker start.

J. Seplow:

Thank you Lance and thank you to those of you who posted questions to the chat screen. We'll address those questions at the end of the seminar. Let's now move on to Crystal Jones of the Federal Highway Administration. If you could give me a moment, I'll get you set up.

Crystal Jones:

Good afternoon, I'm going to provide an overview of FHWA's Freight Performance Measurement initiative. It appears I'm missing a slide, but I can go from here. This is the format I will use for today's presentation. I'm going to briefly go over some initiative goals, discuss why organizations, particularly government organizations choose to monitor performance, and then I'll conclude with a fairly detailed overview of the freight performance initiative and some accomplishments to date and planned next steps.

Short-term, the goal of the freight performance initiative within Federal Highway is to develop baseline measures that support monitoring of an agency's, goal of global connectivity. In the midterm, we hope to develop a rich data source that can be used in the transportation community, and in the long term, we hope to use the data to target investments into the national highway system.

Why performance measures? For FHWA and federal government agencies, one of the primary reason agencies choose to monitor performance is because it's mandated by government law. Additionally, some of the other reasons for performance measures are listed here.

What are the benefits? It allows agencies to set goals and standards to detect and correct problem in the transportation system, manage and improve process, and gain insight and make judgment about the effectiveness and programs and projects-- [indiscernible]. Federal Highway's strategic goal of Global Connectivity is aimed at sustaining the economic efficiency of good movement on the highway system. This slides breaks global connectivity down into a performance measurement framework. The desired outcomes of the strategic goal is to reduce barriers in trade and transportation of goods and services, to produce more efficient movement of goods through the supply chain, the goals are to reduce travel time and improve reliability of travel time, and to reduce commercial vehicle delay at U.S. land border port of entry . The tentative measures we've chosen to measure and monitor global connectivity are travel rates and buffer times in freight significant corridors, and although the measures for the border are to be determined, we suspect they will be measures wait time and transit times. Lance mentioned that as a public sector agency, there's things we are concerned with, and that those things sometimes are different from what Shippers and carriers are concerned with. We've chosen travel time and reliability as a tentative measure because we recognize that congestion and delay are mutual concerns for the public and private sector. Variability in the system results in costs to the carriers and shippers, that's one of the main reasons for choosing travel time as a measure for global connectivity. At the border, our key concern is congestion, so we are likely to choose measures that are related to border wait times and transit times.

The FPM initiative is a cooperative research effort between several entities, Federal Highway is the primary sponsor of the program, the American Transportation Research Institute is our primary partner in the initiative, and we also partnering with technology vendors and the university of Minnesota's I.T. S Institute. One of the first steps in starting the initiative was to identify freight significant corridors, to do so, we used a variety of data sources, this includes the Freight Analysis framework, we also conducted industry surveys to gain quantitative and qualitative information on what they perceive as freight significant corridors, and looked at technology databases to see what sources of data may be available that will allow us to automatically measure travel time and derive measures of travel time for significant corridors. The result of this process was a 50-corridor compendium, and we determined based on data to focus initially on I-5, I-70, I-10, I-65, and I-45.

These are some technologies we examined for data collection. Satellite based technology, hybrid systems which could be a combination of any of the ones listed, on board systems and terrestrial systems. In the end, we determined that satellite technology would best meet our data collection needs. Lance mentioned that a lot of the data for freight performance in the private sector so for the FPM initiative, what we've done is we partner with technology vendors and commercial carriers to gain access to data, satellite based data on location and time on freight moving on significant corridors.

After we identified the corridors, one of the next steps was to insure that the private sector entities that were participating in the project had a great degree of confidence that we weren't going to be using any private data, so we developed the carrier cleansing system to enable us to basically cleanse all the data, and make the carrier and the participants comfortable that we weren't using any private data, only the location and time data that enables us to develop the measures we are going to be talking about later on. We also developed the truck tool that allows us to relate the position data from the satellite to locations on the U.S. DOT map, during the Alpha test, we were successful in using the location and time data to track speeds for trucks on significant points of freight corridors. The initial proof the concept during the Alpha phase focused on only segments of the highways that I mentioned earlier. We also did a Beta test. And during the Beta test, the manual process used in the Alpha phase was automated. We were able to show how the micro deviations could pinpoint bottlenecks along the freight significant corridors. Data showed that one could typically differentiate between a temporal bottleneck and infrastructure bottleneck, and in contrast with the Alpha phase, instead of focusing on segment, we focused on measuring travel times and travel rates for the entire lengths of the five corridors mentioned.

With regard to the travel time portion of the FPM project, what we've done to date is collect data for I 10, I-70, I-65, I-45, and I-5, and we have successfully used location and time from satellite technology to calculate travel rates and derive measures of travel time reliability. We currently have 7 months of data and expect to have one full year of data by January '06.

Now I'm going to share some tools and ways we are looking at analyzing data to make it useful to state DOT's and others in the transportation community. Jennifer, if you could open the word document.

J. Seplow:

I will do that if you give me one minute.

C. Jones

This is way we are were able to manipulate the data, Lance pointed the importance of developing measures that are meaningful to the public sector and private sector. so we settled on using travel rate and measures of reliability such as buffer time index, and travel time index as the measures that we want to use and derive from the data. This is just again one way that we've determined as a possible way of using the data to present it to the public in terms of the types of measures we were coming up with from the data. What you see displayed is an example of data for I-5, and as you can see, we basically are able to calculate travel rates and from the travel rate, derive measures of travel time, reliability, such as travel time index, and buffer index, and this particular diagram just shows the difference between January and February, and at this point in our effort, we haven't began to set goals and standards, just basically showing the difference between the travel rate and travel time index and buffer index from month to month. What we are looking at doing is being able to, Jennifer, if you could control down a little bit.

Okay. One way , we considered segregating the data is by state, so using I-5 as an example, we are able to look at the data for the specific states that I-5 runs through, so in the case of I-5 we can segregate the data for Washington, California and Oregon. . And another example, down to the bottom, there's a table of I-65, we're looking at breaking the data down to show travel rates, buffer time index and travel time index between significant city pairs along the corridor. So in the case of I-45, we could show what the speed and travel rate was between Louisville and Indianapolis, or other freight significant OD pairs along the corridor. We can share this document after the presentation

We do have a visualization tool that we use, and I don't know if I'm going to have any success bringing that up, but I'll try. The visualization tool allows you to visually look at the data along the specific points of the corridor, and I'm trying to navigate my way back here. For instance, this is a map of I-5, and this is by time of day, this particular map shows travel rates along I-5 between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. and we can break that down by virtually any time of day, you could choose your own peak hours, or look at it based on time an incident occurred along the corridor. Any way you want to look at the data, you can visualize it. The border component, we are kicking off that part of the initiative, what we did in the beginning stages of defining what measures should be considered is conduct some focused outreach with various stakeholders along the border, specifically, visited Ambassador Bridge, Peace Bridge, Peace Arch , we talked to not only the bridge operators and transportation organizations in the border areas, but also the enforcement inspection agencies like the U.S. customs and border protection agency. We are doing limited collaboration with Transport Canada with a Border Wait project they have. We have selected five U.S. Canada border crossings for study, they Blaine, Ambassador bridge, Pace bridge, Pembina, ND and Champlaine, and data collection for those sites started in July of this year, and we hope to have the initial data analysis available in the next 3 months.

The next step of the project will include expansion to other significant corridors. We've identified up to 25 corridors that we consider expanding to. And we are going to be exploring other technologies that could support automated measurement, and again, we will be conducting the initial analysis of the border data in the next 3 months. We will also be conducting two case studies within the next year to examine the effects work zones, and severe weather have on travel time and we plan to select at least two states to do focused outreach to assess the usefulness of the data from the project. And the final point, we hope to finalize with the partners an agreement to share the data with members of the transportation community. So some conclusions, what this effort is focused on is developing measures to quantitatively see how we are doing in the strategic goal of global connectivity in Federal Highway, and we think the data from the initiative will be of great complement to the inner city measures, like urban mobility measures that are currently being used in Federal Highway and other transportation agencies. In the end state, we are only at this point collecting data to support baseline establishment. We are going to have to work with the stakeholders to determine what is reasonable and what we perceive as good, and what kind of goals we expect out of the system. And I think -- this is where you can find more information on the project. I think that's it, that's my concluding slide. I'll turn it over to the next presenter.

J. Seplow:

I'll bring back up that slide after the last presentation with that web address, so people can get the information. And in addition, if it's okay with Crystal, we'll send out the word document with the follow up information so everybody has that as well. I'm going to turn it over to Cecil Selness of the Minnesota Department of Transportation who will give the final presentation.

Cecil Selness:

Thank you, Jennifer. Good morning, afternoon, wherever you are in the country. It's a pleasure to share with you some work that we're doing in Minnesota on freight performance measures. Little background on our planning context: In Minnesota, we started out with our Minnesota Strategic Plan that provides the policy direction that we use as we do our planning and implement our program. In 2003, we did the Minnesota Statewide Transportation Plan. This was the first performance based plan that we have done. It directs the work that we are doing on our district plans, and for the Minnesota Statewide Freight Plan, which we just recently completed.

The Freight Policy adopted in the freight plan directs us to: "To provide an integrated system of freight transportation in Minnesota-that means we are looking at highways, rail, water, our air cargo, and also our intermodal terminals-that they offer safe, reliable access to statewide, national, and international markets." So as you look at that policy statement, it provides a context for us as we look at the performance measures that we want to collect. The framework we used in the freight plan was one we wanted to look at in improving statewide infrastructure-those parts of our system that are within Minnesota, and to improve the national and international infrastructure that our businesses rely on to reach their markets and suppliers. We also wanted to look at enhancing our operations and our safety. We wanted to look at enhancing freight integration, being able to move our products back and forth on the right mode of transportation, or mix of modes. Also we know that freight has a huge private component and it includes many different agencies, so we need to strengthen our partnerships. And we do have a role in regulatory activity so we need to give direction improving ourselves in how we administer regulatory activities.

Some of the things that we wanted to make sure we did as we put our performance measure criteria together was to use measures that address the element of the freight policies and strategy, so we are strategic in what we do. Secondly, we need to do it in a way that is understandable to shippers, carriers, elected officials, and transportation officials. These are the people that make decisions, and so the performance measures have to be understandable to them. Note at the bottom there, we have a Minnesota Freight Advisory Committee, and we ran all of these performance measures past them. And they have been very helpful to us in directing us about the kinds of economic issues and competitive issues and other issues we need to take into account as well. Also, I think Lance talked about this, performance measure need to tie into actual decisions that are going to be made. Performance measure should help in making good decisions. We need to understand how we will use the measure? What time and what place, and who is it that will have that responsibility to use that information for a decision? And, as Lance talked about, is the data available? You can have any kind of performance measure you want, but if you don't have data, or you don't have the resources to collect the data, then you can't move forward. And finally, how will we know that we have successful performance? We need to set a target within that measure that we want to work towards.

Also it's important to think about what we are trying to measure. There are four different areas that we look in our process of doing work. One is input measures, and that's a historical one that we've always used, such as how much budget is allocated, or how much human resources are allocated to an activity That's an input measure and we all use those a lot. The second one is measuring the processes we us to do work. One of these kinds of measures we are using, I'll show you later, is oversized/overweight permits, we want to measure how efficiently we are putting those permits out. Thirdly, what are our outputs? So you've done all that work, you've used those inputs. What's the outcome? An example of this kind of measure would be how many miles of 10-ton highway have we been able to provide in the state? The last kind of measure is the outcome measures such as fatalities on the highway system. How many people have lost their life? That is most important from the consumer's point of view. Of course we need to be aware of those outcomes as well.

We've had a significant amount of discussion about the difference between a performance measure and a performance indicator. Indicators are things that are of interest but you don't have direct control over. Measures are more of the things you do have control over, and direct involvement in. What is your sphere of control versus sphere of influence? Indicators are more along the lines of economic indicators, the kinds of things that shippers and carriers have a lot of interest, and as well as our political leadership? And as you've heard in the other two presentations the organizational perspective is important; Crystal was talking about the federal perspective. Minnesota comes from a statewide perspective. We work with our metropolitan planning organizations and local districts and communities, and they have a perspective that addresses the region and local, and we need to be aware of that. And we can look at things from a corridor basis. For instance, in the Twin Cities area, a lot of our markets are to the east, so we are interested to see how the corridor between the Twin Cities and Chicago works. But then we are interested in how are we doing with the modes, with trucking, with rail, and with the commercial navigation, as well as air cargo.

The measurement categories for performance measures that we are looking at include: infrastructure; global access because our businesses are more and more involved in the global connections and every day local access. Add to these efficiency and congestion issues, safety, and regulation. Under infrastructure, we're looking at measures like pavement ride quality. That's an issue for passenger vehicles as well as our trucking industry; bridge structure - do bridge structures meets standards-very important from an infrastructure point of view. Under the railroad sidetrack miles, track speeds are greater than or equal to 25 miles an hour. Mostly the lines that we have that don't meet that standard are branch lines that serve the local agriculture industry. Another rail infrastructure measure is; track miles that will accommodate 286,000-pound railcar rating; this is becoming the standard as heavier cars come on line. And then modal facilities with adequate infrastructure condition, and we are in the process of defining what the infrastructure condition exactly means. Concerning local access, issues such as major freight generators with appropriate road or rail access. We've looked at approximately 150 major generators in our out-state area, and talked to shippers about what they see as being adequate roadway and rail access. By and large, there's pretty good access provided. But we need to look at this measure for our Twin cities area shippers. Looking at ports and terminals, we also need to make sure they have appropriate road and rail access. The same applies to our airports with air cargo operations -that they have appropriate roadway access as well.

Global connections - we are looking at direct international air cargo freight service. Most of our connection to international flights comes through Chicago and some through Detroit, and we would have an interest in more direct freight service, so that's a performance measure we want to look at. Average delay at river lock for our commercial navigation down the Mississippi river, time is money on the river, so we've wanted to develop this one to look at how much delay are our products experiencing. Capacity of container handling and bulk transfer facilities. That's a developmental one as well to look at. How are our terminals operating-how well?

Concerning safety, a lot of these measures are recognizable: heavy truck crash rates, heavy truck related fatalities, crashes at railroad crossings. We use a 3-year average, as well as fatality at rail crossings, and at-grade rail crossings meeting grade separation guidelines. That's a new one as we look for ways of separating high volume roads from high volume railroad lines.

For Streamlining, and effective regulation measures - What percentage of overweight trucks are on our major highways? We've done some work in that area, and will want to monitor that more closely. Coordinate and regulate with adjoining states, our neighbor states have expressed to us an interest in how we can work together on truck regulation, particularly on size and weight. For the Permits and credentials measures we want to track what is done via the Internet, as we move from a paper process to online process, we want to track and see how well we're making that transition. For the Carriers are trained measure we need to know that they have the kind of information they need to operate properly, and to what extent pavement life is preserved by truck weight enforcement.

As I mentioned before, we do have a Minnesota Freight Advisory Committee. We asked them what things we should be looking at, and these are the major ones they shared with us. Do Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area have competitive rates? And we are trying to select appropriate commodities, modes and markets to do that, and what about mode share? What we find in the freight plan is that modal share for trucks continue to grow at an even greater rate than all growth. Third is geographic market share; what are the tons and values, and where is it going to and from? How well is this region doing economically? And travel times, I think Lance talked about travel times as did Crystal, this is a very important one.

Here are some slides of the specific measures that we've been able to put together- this one is about truck related fatalities. The blue line here shows our historical rates for the last ten years. And in 2002 we developed a trend line - this red line, you can see we have done a fantastic job because fatalities have been dropping rapidly, and as one of my staff reminded me, we might as well take credit, because if it goes the other way, we'll take the blame. I think this is a good example to use in decision-making. We can look at what is happening, decide what is it that we expect to have, pick our targets, and this gives us direction for our investments.

Here is a similar one on railroad crossing fatalities in the rail industry, and you can see from the historical information that fatalities are down, and we are very pleased about that. And our projections, we have two different targets: green target, a moderate level of investment; and the red line is a more aggressive target that would get us down to 2 fatalities a year by 2015, which is very aggressive, but we are hopeful for it.

This measure applies to overall freeway activities in our metropolitan area, the 3 different colors you see on it, the red is considered as an unacceptable status. That is a warning sign that we're very concerned about that. And the yellow, is cautionary, we need to be addressing it, but if it's in the green, it is meeting our target. The bars show the historical average clearance time for incidents that has been going up so that our projection is that by 2008, or 2007 we will experience unacceptable clearance times, We're hoping to turn that in a different direction-whether we do a sub performance measure on this. Secondly, trucks that are involved in incidents are because of their size likely to create a longer time of incidence clearing. Traffic management people say that for every minute that there is a closure of a lane due to an incident, it takes about 3 or 4 minutes afterwards for that back up to clear, Truck incidences take longer to clear and impact the clearance times significantly.

Here is another measure talking about congestion. The historical data shows we are rapidly congesting in the metropolitan Twin Cities area-our projection is that we will continue to congest. That growth in congestion, the trend is that by 2023 it will be up at 37%, during the peak period. Congestion is when average travel speed drops below 45 miles an hour. A very aggressive strategy of large investments could hold our level of congestion at the same rate that it is today. And of course, that has significant interest to our policy makers, our legislators, and to the discussions about level of funding for highway program.

Here is a measure that is about customer ride quality. This is for our state trunk highway system. Once again, the green says we are in good condition, yellow is cautionary, and the red means we have significant problems, and if you notice, we have moved on into the yellow, our pavement ride condition has been deteriorating, and our programming folks have been looking at how can we move more of our program into overlay projects to improve the smoothness of the roads to get that number back up into the green. This measure is of importance to the freight industry and trucks because the trucks have an impact on the pavement condition; they also are affected by the quality of the pavement.

Here is a measure that is activity-based. As I said before, we issue oversized overweight permits. We've been putting more of those permitting functions on to the Internet, and trying to encourage customers to do business with us that way. Our goal is to have gotten to 40% user ship by this June, we've had some draw-backs. Our actual performance has been stable at about 25%, and what that says to us is that we need to work at developing a better outreach to meet with our customers and to introduce them to our on line capability, and to get that number to move upward.

Those are performance measures that we have in place. Our Statewide Freight Plan is out, and is available on line. There is the link if you are interested in getting a hold of it, and this is my contact information and I thank you for your attention.

J. Seplow:

Thank you, Cecil. And I hope you found all the presentations interesting. In just a moment, I'm going to put the second to last slide back up so everybody can get the web address, and I'll put Crystal's slide up with the web address as well. We're now going to start off the question and answer session. And I'll start with the ones that have been posted on line, and if we have time, we will open up the phone lines. Cecil, since you were the last presenter, I'll start with questions for you.

The first question is, is your clearance target time of 36 minutes for all types of incidents including truck related ones? Incidents clearance time increased related to truck traffic?

C. Selness:

Yes, our incidence clearance time does include truck clearance, and I think the primary reason why those numbers are going up is that the overall traffic levels and congestions are rising.

J. Seplow:

Okay. Next question is what performance measures are being considered to maintain congestion at 21%?

C. Selness:

Well, the major things that would involve would be to fund the major highway construction projects that we have been working on. We have a ring route, I think as most metropolitan areas do, and one of our proposals is we would have a consistent 3-lane in each direction with know drop lanes around that ring roll. That would be one example, that's included in a 20 year plan based on some funding levels that are greater than presently exist. There's also unweave the weave projects, where you have two roads coming in, Andy verging, so it's those projects primarily, operation at projects which are being considered. We have aggressive its program with metering, and other things of that nature.

J. Seplow:

Thank you. What is the latest mode share for trucks?

C. Selness:

I'm guessing about 65%. Depends on whether you are doing it on a dollar basis or on a ton basis. I think it's closer to 50/50 on tons, and about 65 on value.

J. Seplow:

Next question is do you normalize fatalities by population or VMT?

C. Selness:

We look it the a couple ways. I think the ones with your doing are just raw fatalities per year, because the numbers will rise and fall. We've documented the 3 year average to normalize it within that context. We do VMT on the truck basis, and we do, we don't normalize it by traffic levels on the rail fatalities, but we do VMT on trucks. We have towards 0 death program where we are really looking at getting the raw numbers as close to 0 as possible.

J. Seplow:

Going back to the mode share question, Dan Murray from ATRI just typed it that for trucks, it's 68% for tonnage, and 82% on revenue nationwide.

If you give me a moment, my question list froze up. Okay, do Minnesota's MPOs share MinnDOT's commitment to freight planning?

C. Selness:

I think that's a developing area. We have a good relationship with our metropolitan council who is the MPO for the Twin Cities area. While their primary focus is on the issues of congestion and transit, and those types of issues, we have been working together on developing a better understanding of the impact of freight in the Twin Cities area. Both its role in the economy, and it's transportation needs. In fact, the person in charge of freight planning for the metropolitan council is here with me today. Okay.

J. Seplow:

If that person wanted to add anything, they are more than welcome to.

C. Selness:

Jim? Do you want to add anything? He's agreeing.

J. Seplow:

Okay. And Cecil, last question we have for you is how did you determine thresholds such as 25 miles per hour for rail speeds?

C. Selness:

That's a good question. Those are really developed by the industry, and by shippers. On the railroad side, FRA has different speed classifications based on maintenance of the track, and a class 2 is 25 miles per hour speed limit, and so that was adopted as the level of effective service, we've got a lot of lines that have been at the 10-mile per hour, and we've invested in lines for that purpose. But as we've talked with the industry, 25 miles per hour seemed to be more appropriate. Other one was the increased weight level, industry is going to a larger car and in order to be competitive, our branch lines need to be able to handle those cars as well, and the difficulty is, can the track handle that kind of an increased weight.

J. Seplow:

Okay. Thank you. We're going to move on to questions for Crystal Jones now. And Crystal, the first question for you is if you could give a brief overview of the status of the FPM project.

C. Jones:

I believe the project I described is the same one Michelle is referring to, it's American Transportation Research Institute, not ATA though. Formerly the ATA Foundation, because the project she asking the status is the one I'm describing. Essentially with the travel time component, as I had on my slide, that we have collected 7 months of data for the five corridors-- we hope to have a year of data in January of '06, and with regard to the border component, we started data collection in July. That's the basic status of the project. So it's 7 months of data for the travel time on freight significant corridors , and we started the border component, and are looking to expand to additional corridors some time in the next year.

J. Seplow:

Thank you. Next question was what is the definition of travel rate, travel time index, and buffer index, and I'm going to read the response that Jeffrey Short of ATRI wrote. He said that Travel Rate is average speed, Travel Time Index is a ratio between travel rate and free flow travel, and Buffer Index measures reliability.

C. Jones:

I think I also typed in the actual formula for the buffer index, and with regard to the travel time index, the only thing I would add is for the corridor interstate highway component of the project, we are assuming free flow travel rate to be 60 miles per hour.

J. Seplow:

Okay. Next question for you what criteria did you use to choose the five corridors, and why were eastern corridors excluded?

C. Jones:

Essentially, again, when we worked with technology vendors, there were several things we looked at it, and it was the available of data, and where the most trucks were traveling, and most data points were available based on the database from the technology vendor, and also we did some quantitative analysis, and qualitative data from carrier surveys to indicate what they thought as freight significant corridors, and we came up with many more than that, but I don't think we had a particular reason unless Dan Murray or Jeff Short want to expand as to why we didn't do any east corridors. We identified east cost corridors t -- we just didn't focus on those initially.

J. Seplow:

When we get through the questions, the operator will give instructions to ask the questions on the phone, Dan or Jeff, if you want to call, talk over the phone and provide anymore explanation, we can do that. Next question for you is for travel time measure, what is the difference between heavy truck speed and general travel speed?

C. Jones:

There are several factors that affect truck speed. I guess in theory if you have trucks and cars traveling on the same highway that unless there's some speed restriction on the truck, they are the same, but the difference between this and what's typically monitored by Federal Highway and transportation agencies is we are not looking at urban areas. We are looking at entire corridors, and the data is for freight, and that was the focus of the initiative to examine how freight it moving. So in theory, I guess there's no difference between that and passenger, with the FPM initiative we are segregating and looking at freight and truck data.

J. Seplow:

Okay. Thank you. I think we'll move on to questions for Lance Newman. Lance, the first question we have is how did Cambridge determine vehicle delays by class?

L. Neumann:

I have Dan Beagan with me, so I'll let him reply.

D. Beagan:

The vehicle delays were calculated from a network model. Network model included volume type, also included class of the roads, so the delays were ago gated up by vehicle class and by road class based on those individual delays.

J. Seplow:

And the next question is how long of a period of time were the performance measures collected in San Joaquin/San Pedro?

L. Neumann:

We have to find that out. My guess is that we're talking at least a 5 to 10 year time period.

J. Seplow:

Next question is what do you mean by freight mobility index? Can you elaborate? Has it been used anywhere?

L. Neumann:

Essentially, that is similar to the TTI travel index, we probably should call it a truck mobility index and say it applies to truck traffic, and in terms of whether it's been used anywhere, I'm not sure I could respond, but have we used it -- You just heard from Crystal. Her application is one.

C. Jones:

On the question about the difference between truck travel rates and automobile travel rates, I probably should expand that when we look at our data, we are taking into consideration operational characteristics of a truck moving on the highway. For instance, it the truck is stopping for an administrative purpose, like a weigh station, or something like that, that is taken into consideration when we calculate our travel rates, so the delay, I shouldn't say delay, but time spent doing administrative things like stopping at a weight station, etcetera, is factored into our calculation of travel rate.

J. Seplow:

Dan Murray just typed in a response about the corridor, because the east coast is so truck intensive, we selected initial corridors where the early data was more manageable in quantity. FHWA will likely include east coast corridors -- including I-95 -- in the next round.

J. Seplow:

I now have a question that somebody typed in for all 3 of the panelists. Question is, is transportation security being considered in the measures? Lance , if you want to respond to that first.

L. Neumann:

Security is an operational concern. It is not something you can easily forecast, it was discussed in the project, but obviously, it is not something that can be forecast, we couldn't identify any measures associated with that.

J. Seplow:

Okay. Crystal, how about you?

C. Jones:

I think perhaps the border component of our initiative will, because we are looking at transit time and wait times at the border, it will take into consideration those things that are related to truck security and crossing of a border, but we won't specifically try and segregate out how much time is spent during border processing for inspection and enforcement purposes, but looking at the total border system, that factor, that truck security aspect, especially as it pertaining to crossing an U.S. land border crossing will be included in that. But not how much time was spent in the enforcement and inspection process's border crossing. There are limitations with the technology that will not allow us to segregate the transportation security aspect of border crossing time.

C. Selness:

We looked at the security issue of probably primarily from the hazardous materials base perspective, and thought about doing some development of data about what is moving where, and what impact or what dangers might there be. However, it became a major issue about the confidentiality of that data, and then also, if we have -- what can we do with that data. So we have not pursued that any farther at this time, and I think we are waiting for the axe of Homeland Security

C. Jones:

I think that's a good point, for transportation agency like Federal Highway, because our role in promulgating security policy, etcetera, is secondary/supporting, if we were to measure something on transportation security, we are not the goal owner or primary process owner for transportation security so I don't think we will see any aspect of our measurement that looks specifically at freight security or transportation security.

L. Neumann:

And there's a dilemma here, nobody would argue that freight security is not a huge issue, in the whole set of issues associated with container shipments is just a part of that, but there's also an aspect of securing the system that might work against publicly defining security performance measures that allow all of us to assess all aspects of that efforts.

J. Seplow:

Good discussion. I missed a question for Cecil from before, and I apologize for that. The question is, how are you measuring ride quality?

C. Selness:

We have a ride quality indicator, we go out and actually put a sensor on the road, and do that on a periodic update it measures, I think, we drive over it with a car, it has a wheel on it, it measures the -- they are calibrated and put into a database and updated on a regular and periodic basis.

J. Seplow:

Thank you. Crystal, in the near future, is there any intention to require interstate trucks to have transponders?

C. Jones:

I think with VII coming on and some other initiatives that are not necessarily specifically for freight management, there is going to be the capability to collect more data automatically, but right now, the FPM initiative is not depending on anything that Federal Highway installs. We are currently using only private sector data that is available through the carrier systems. Essentially the carrier is the one paying for the technology, we are leveraging that through a partnership. In terms of any widespread implementation off transponders, I don't think that's in the near term future for the FPM project. We are going to look at other technologies, but our focus is on date that that is readily available from the private industry, and with the vehicle infrastructure initiative that is coming on, I think there's the potential that there is going to be data available for travel times throughout the interstate system, but that's not part of the FPM program.

J. Seplow:

Okay. There was question about when the next round of corridors will be added, and Dan said he thinks FHWA will approve an additional 15 to 20 corridors this fall. Do you want to add anything to that?

C. Jones:

I think contractually, Dan's team is obligated to go up to 25 corridors. One of the things that we are kind of trying to come to grips with is -- --determining what is enough to say you have enough data that is representative of national performance If 15 is enough , we may not need to go to 25. We may determine that the amount of freight on the top 15 is enough, so that's the question we are seeking to answer. We were working on data sharing agreement that could potentially allow us to have data from all the interstates in a reasonably short time frame, but that's to be determined. With regard to expansion of the corridors for the purpose of monitoring progress in global connectivity, we've worked it out with Dan's team to go up to 25 corridors. And that could happen in the fall or winter.

J. Seplow:

We have a question from the room from Federal Highway.

The question is for Crystal, how many trucks have these transponders and how are they obtained?

C. Jones: At this point we are using data from the whole universe that's available through the technology vendor, and Dan can type in a correction if I'm wrong, but I believe the vendor we are using has upward to a quarter of a million trucks instrumented nation wide, so about 250,000 trucks have the technology.

J. Seplow:

I believe you already spoke about the criteria for selecting the corridors, but we had that question come in again, if you could summarize what you previously said.

C. Jones:

If you are talking about the initial 5 corridors the identification of freight corridors was based partly on industry surveys that got quantitative and qualitative data about what the industry thought and perceived as freight significant corridor. If we to would it pick a certainly area, how much data we could expect to be available in those types and locations. What's mentioned on the PowerPoint, says a 50 point, but I think in actuality, what that consisted of was segments on certain corridors, so the process basically, those were the 3 data sources that we used.

J. Seplow:

We have a little bit the time left. We can open the phone lines if you want to add anything about the project, Dan or Jeff, so at this point, operator, I think we can open the phone lines.


At this time, if you have a question, key star, followed by 1 on your telephone. If your question has been answered and wish to withdraw, key star, followed by 2. Once again, ladies and gentlemen, it is star-1 to ask a question. There are no questions at this time.

J. Seplow:

Okay. Thank you. If there are no questions, I think we will just wrap up, however, we had one question just typed in. I'll read this one. This is for all 3 presenters Do any of the various performance measure approaches used by FHWA, MINDOT, or CS also look at how efficient or effective government department freight programs are?

C. Selness:

There was an issue we looked at in the freight plan, to evaluate our rail and improvement program, and it became an issue for further work, so we don't have answers at this point. We have looked at our rail line projects and performance measure we used were the number of carloads of they'd that continue to be moved by rail on those project lines, so that was a performance measure we used and I think we need to update that. But that is, that continues to be an area of development for us.

L. Neumann:

I would add it, I don't know of any state or government agency that is at this point developed an overall broader evaluation of their overall freight program, but in areas like commercial vehicle operations, Cecil has mentioned the over sides overweight permitting, but there are other aspects, where states, sometimes not the DOT, but Department of Revenue, department of state police look at the efficiency ever the regulatory permitting and transactions dealings with the trucking industry, clearly as a way to measure the effectiveness. There are states that are evaluating the effectiveness of bottleneck relief programs on congestion and travel time, that has an impact on trucks and auto travel as well, so there are pieces of experience around the country where there's an efforts being made to evaluate. But I would agree, it's an area that needs more work and attention.

C. Jones:

I think from, again, we are looking an it from a federal perspective, so some of the things in the longer term that once we, you know are, confident we have a good data source and the data is valid and reliable, we wants to start looking at, the re-authorization that was just passed. To be able to do before and after analysis, say we've made this 2 million-dollar investment, what sorts of effect did making that investment have. And also to be able to make future decisions on where investment dollars should be put is one of the other things we hope to get out. And Lance mentioned bottlenecks, through the data, we are able to see where bottlenecks in the system are, so maybe we can use the data in the near future to say okay, this is an area where the efficiency of good movement is slowing down, so perhaps this is an area we should make investment to make efficiency of the movement more, you know, user acceptable.

J. Seplow:

At this point, I think we are going to wrap up, and thank you, everybody, for attending the seminar, and thank you to the 3 presenters. The recorded version of this seminar will be available within the next week on the Talking Freight website, and the PowerPoint presentations will be available as well, and I will send an e-mail out to everybody who was in attendance to let you know when they become available.

FHWA is currently planning for the 2006 seminar series and would like your input for topics. These seminars are meant to help you do your job better and so FHWA values your input. If you have an idea for a topic, please Jennifer Seplow an email describing the idea as well as any potential speakers that you know of.

The next seminar will be held on September 21, and is titled "Freight Capacity Challenges" If you haven't done so already, I encourage you to visit the Talking Freight Web Site and sign up for this seminar. I also encourage you to join the Freight Planning LISTSERV if you have not already done so.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

Updated: 3/29/2011
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