Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
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 Highway Networks and Their Relationship to Freight. Please be advised that today's seminar is being recorded.
Today we'll have two presentations, given by Dan Haake of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and Lynn Soporowski of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
Dan Haake works as a transportation planner with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission in Columbus, Ohio. At MORPC, Dan is in charge of the freight planning program, innovative finance, and does some work with security planning. Before coming to MORPC, Dan worked at an MPO in Indiana. Dan holds a B.A. in Political Science and Master of Urban and Regional Planning from Ball State University;
Lynn Jonell Soporowski, P.E. is a Transportation Engineering Branch Manager for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, in Frankfort, KY. She has worked for KYTC for nearly 20 years, the last eleven years in the transportation planning realm. Presently, Lynn's branch is responsible for traffic forecasting and modeling, regional air quality conformity, congestion management, and the coordination of the intermodal/multimodal aspects of transportation including bicycle, pedestrian, ferry, riverport, rail, and freight traffic. Ms. Soporowski received her BS in Civil Engineering from Tennessee Technological University in 1989 and Masters in Civil Engineering at the University of Kentucky in 2002.
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 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. Please also 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. 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. 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.
We're now going to go ahead and get started. Today's topic, for those of you who just joined us, is Highway Networks and Their Relationship to Freight. Our first presentation will be given by Dan Haake of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. 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.
I'm going to start this presentation by giving you a brief background to why freight is critical to central Ohio. The global implications and impact on our system, and finally how the highway system is dealing with these challenges.
While freight is important in the United States, it is critically important to central Ohio. Industry is out pacing the national growth rate; currently one in ten jobs in central Ohio is in the logistics field. Central Ohio has also been the crossroads for transportation throughout history. Early on we were the first major city on the other side of the mountains along the national road, the canals, the early railroads, and more recently the creation interstate system have all played a critical role in the development of our region as a freight center.. About 58% of the population and over 61% of the manufacturing capacity of the nation are within a one day truck drive from Central Ohio. Central Ohio's location led to the early development as a logistical center. Coupled with our efforts as a community, our success keeps growing.
A major reason for Ohio's current success is the potential impact with the expansion of the Panama Canal. Currently most container traffic enters the United States at the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach.
However, as these facilities reach capacity and were nearing capacity before the recession, the expansion will allow for larger container ships to access ports on the East Coast. Ports on the East Coast have begun to prepare for the influx of container traffic. For example, the Port of Virginia and private industry have worked to dredge and build port facilities capable of handing the largest ships on the ocean. The predicted demand has been so great that Maersk even built their facility using private money. Similarly, the Norfolk Southern railroad, in partnership with government, is working to clear a double stack container route from the Port of Virginia to Columbus, Ohio and onto Chicago. This project will be completed by undercutting railroad lines through the tunnels or notching or blowing the tops off of tunnels. This public/private partnership involved not only funding, but a partnership in the development of locations and infrastructure to serve their new intermodal facilities, and should be completed in the second quarter of 2010.
If you look at the map, the blue and purple lines represent the current double stack routes to Chicago. This green line shows the distance saved by allowing double stack cars to travel through Virginia and West Virginia instead of going up through Harrisburg or down to Knoxville to reach Chicago.
What does this really mean to central Ohio? Because of Columbus' strategic location perhaps the most visible benefit has been the location of many intermodal yards in central Ohio. This location led to the creation of 300 acre Norfolk Southern Rickenbacker intermodal mega facility in Pickaway County just outside of Columbus. This facility and its well established partners in central Ohio's trucking and air cargo industries created a truly multimodal economic development opportunity for the state of Ohio, and the Midwest. The Rickenbacker Intermodal Facility is built just south of Rickenbacker International Airport and the Columbus Regional Airport Authority will develop another 1,000 acres in association with this project. The facility will be used for the interchange of shipping containers between trains and trucks. Once the facility is completely built out following the opening of the Heartland Corridor next year, it will be capable of 400,000 lifts a year.
It is important to note that in addition to the intermodal facility, there is a large air cargo facility to the north. In the first ten years the facility will save shippers over $660 million and reduce truck mileage in Ohio by 49 million miles resulting in a significant emissions reduction. The long term impact of this development will be over 20,000 direct and indirect jobs and have over a 15 billion dollar impact on our region. Where does this freight go after it gets off the freight plane or the train?
Our efforts really started back in 1994 with a series of inland port studies, which led to the creation of our freight program, and our involvement in the freight community. The inland port studies were established to build upon the beginnings of our modern logistical industry with the purpose of bringing economic development and jobs to central Ohio. The studies identified weaknesses, and described what we as a MPO and regional council could do to help alleviate these weaknesses. Among the recommendations were infrastructure prioritizations, establishment of our freight planning program, building better public/private partnerships, supporting councils of industry, and to designate inland port districts to concentrate efforts. Progress has been made on each of these and they live on today. MORPC has established freight districts, and prioritized infrastructure improvements. One way we have achieved this goal is through the creation of the Rickenbacker Infrastructure Coordinating Committee. Committee membership included all levels of government and industry in the area. Besides, doing its namesake coordination, the group prioritized and planned infrastructure investment in the Rickenbacker area. Their Rickenbacker Area Road Network Assessment report, completed in 2007, has guided improvements in the area. This group still meets quarterly, and the latest meeting ironically happened today. Rickenbacker has posed a unique challenge to Ohio. As the success of Rickenbacker continues, so does the danger that the area will become victim of the success by not investing for the future accordingly. Challenges exist to maintain the regions advantage. Highway bottlenecks threaten the efficiency and productivity of the sector of our economy.
A prime example of this challenge is Alum Creek Drive. Alum Creek Drive is the only recognized intermodal connector to the Rickenbacker area. As with many intermodal connectors, it is "owned" by many different levels of local government. The interchange at 270 was built as a rural interchange many years ago, and the first intersection heading towards Rickenbacker is located within 500 feet of the interchange. This is not exactly a great situation when you put trucks in the mix. The situation has perpetuated itself into a serious problem that is beginning to hinder development. After the inland port studies, MORPC worked to establish what is commonly known as the freight roundtable. After several iterations, the Columbus Chamber created the Columbus Region Logistics Council. The industry led council has four missions: Workforce Development, Technology, Business Environment, and Infrastructure. MORPC currently sits on the infrastructure committee. This council has become a champion of the Alum Creek/I-270 interchange issue. Within the past year a partnership was struck among the council, ODOT, FHWA, the Franklin County Engineer's Office, local governments, and MORPC to streamline and push the project forward for funding through the Ohio Bipartisan Job Stimulus Plan's Logistics and Distribution forgivable loan program. One of the major developments from this partnership was to streamline the standard eight to ten year project development cycle, to four to five years to be more sensitive to the industries needs and the success of the Rickenbacker area. Primarily, this is done by local and private funding infusion early in the project development (prior to ROW and construction). MORPC and ODOT are each providing funding for this project to match that of other entities.
As highway funding shortfalls continue, it appears increasingly critical for partnerships to evolve like this one, where multiple groups provide funding and more importantly partner to develop more innovative projects to solve difficult challenges in the post interstate completion world. In addition to this project, other projects are going on in the Rickenbacker area. One project is the proposed expansion of double-stacking capability on the NS mainline from Columbus to Cincinnati. Norfolk Southern has partnered with the Ohio Rail Development Commission to gain funding and support for the project. MORPC works with the Ohio Rail Development Commission on many things, more recently for example passenger rail, and we lent our support by passing a resolution supporting the project's funding application for Ohio Stimulus program funding. MORPC is also considering funding for this project in the event the Ohio stimulus application is not fully funded.
In addition, this project will remove some truck volumes off of two interstates linking Dayton and Columbus to Cincinnati. Ohio has worked diligently to provide system redundancy and provide different transportation options to allow logistics companies to choose the most appropriate mode or combination of modes of travel for their goods.
The Rickenbacker Parkways is a loop road to connect the southern development including the intermodal facility and to really provide a link to national highway system. The road will be a four lane divided facility. Currently two lanes have been completed between Alum Creek & Ashville Pike. The two remaining lanes have been funded through ARRA and MORPC. The rest of the loop is currently being studied, and construction funding is currently being sought.
Another critical project is the E/W Connector. While the Alum Creek interchange is considered the front door to Rickenbacker, the E/W Connector will be the back door and will provide a southern access point for the Rickenbacker area, primarily the Intermodal Facility. MORPC, ODOT and our congressional delegation has provided funding for early planning work and preliminary engineering, and we assist the county's project team on a regular basis by participation on the steering and stakeholder committees.
Grove City has had a well established history in the freight industry, not just because of its location along two interstates, but the ability of local officials to really capitalize on their location. The result being significant freight growth has taken place over the last decade. This has resulted in large developments involving the freight industry. Most recently, Netflix located their national distribution center in Grove City. Grove City is also home to the 2nd largest FedEx ground facility in the country.
The interchange at I-71/SR 665 is a critical junction for these facilities (including FedEx), it was built in the 1950s, and is seriously overtaxed, and showing its age. This is another project where multiple parties are involved in the development and funding of infrastructure improvements. Just look from looking at the list on the slide, one can see what we've started to call a "funding recipe."
The village of West Jefferson is located about 10 miles west of the Columbus outer belt. West Jefferson is a small community that has seen tremendous freight industry development relative to its size. In addition to their freight development, a large number of trucks travel from I-70 to the Marysville Honda plant and its intermodal yard, through the village. Recently, MORPC partnered with West Jefferson, ODOT, and private partners on completing a thoroughfare plan to help West Jefferson make the transition from a rural transportation system, to a more urban one. One primary focus of this plan was to create innovative financing strategies for local officials to use when developing funding schemes for their projects. These strategies will become ever more important as transportation funding tightens, and State DOTs across the nation adopt fix it first policies for their limited funding.
Another project is I-70 truck lanes that plan to travel through our region. This project will help an already overtaxed interstate deal with increase truck volumes well into the future, from projects like Rickenbacker. What's next? MORPC is working on a Freight Trend Study. This study to see how the freight actually flows into/out of/within and through the region. More importantly this study will identify where key improvements need to be made, and what impacts that will have, on both economic development and issues critical to decision makers like new tax sources, with the goal of creating awareness of the importance of freight projects on key decision makers. MORPC is helping the logistics council develop a Regional Freight Project Prioritization will help out the logistics council to pick what projects to champion. We've revived ourFreight Scanning Tours. These will create freight awareness among public officials. For example, our next tour will be of the Grove City area, FedEx and Netflix. Both to show how these industries really work, but without people knowing it creates awareness of the issues at I-71/SR 665. Freight villages are more economically and environmentally sustainable developments built in a manner that requires smarter development patterns and collaboration among many companies within an industrial park. There was a talking freight webinar last year about freight villages so I won't get into that too deeply.
Despite all of the rail and sea improvements, highways still play a critical role in the freight network. Today, freight its no longer about mode versus mode, the siloization has to go away, its all about picking the most appropriate mode or more likely combination of modes to accomplish interstate commerce. A lot of the major chokepoints in the highway system surround early interstate highway infrastructure, and intermodal connectors. These problems are not special to Ohio, but are really national issues. These issues were identified by national freight stakeholders at the Freight Partnership meeting earlier this year. More locally speaking because of funding shortages, innovative projects and multiple funding sources must be established to fix major freight infrastructure challenges.. Private industry buy-inis the key to any successful project. With that I am going to turn it back to Jennifer.
Thank you, Dan. Again, feel free to post questions for Dan. I know we see we have one up there. We'll get to those after Lynn's presentation. We'll move onto Lynn of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. So Lynn you can go ahead when you are ready.
Good afternoon all. Getting from the interstate to the driveway is about the federal, state and local partnerships. It is the public and private all working with one and another. By looking at the state perspective we'll look at how we designate routes and a little bit about partnering we're working on.
We started with the federal networks and added what we needed to for states' need. We took the policies and the funding from the federal partners and then started adding in the state. Filling in the gaps, economic tool or just good engineering and finally we'll look at some of the rules of the road. This is the national highway system in Kentucky. It includes about 4900 miles across the state, but this is our freight analysis framework. This is what we use to analyze where the freight goes. With that, we used our area development district offices and our highway district offices to help us fill in where they (freight) go. This is the network that gets people to their jobs, the raw materials in, the raw materials out and the completed products to the market.
The size of the links of intermodal connectors, some are big and some are small, some are massive and some are tiny. It started with international standards and then significant areas. Our public riverports, rail yards, intermodal facilities, and Amtrak stops were included on the federal list. The federal standards also with this, we look at the money. When we designated a route as an intermodal connector it made state and local roads eligible for federal funding because they have been designated as an intermodal connector.
These are the intermodal connectors in Kentucky. Some of them actually included go in and out of business with the market. So we tried to designate intermodal facilities that are more long term. Some of these might include the Kentucky riverports, which are intermodal facilities, and free trade zones throughout Kentucky. I have to disagree with you, Ohio. We've got the best location. Right here in far western Kentucky is the perfect place to take advantage of what's going on in Panama because they are at the beginning and the end of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. We take a look at this network and use our local information as much as possible. We depend on the people that live there and watch where the trucks and other vehicles go. We also use our Cabinet for Economic Development to get an idea of where they want people to go. We take a look at this (network) on an annual basis. Transportation Cabinet also partners with Federal Highways. We have it on our website for freight initiative as well as corridor and county level studies. We have a resource from our freight conference that was held in May of this year that has a listing of all the contact information for the railroad, the riverports, airports, and the ferries and all of the state and local partners.
The rules of the road change depending on where you are located. This is not the best map to use in PowerPoint. I've included the website at the bottom of the page so you can look at this map. It prints best on an 11 by 17 inch paper. If you are on a green road, it is a state route. Our vehicle enforcement says this is very hard to enforce. Here is the actual law that's printed on the page. The extended weight vehicles can be within five miles of a designated system, within 15 miles of an interstate, and within one mile if they are going to a road that's not state maintained, however, if you are an oversized, overweight and are by permit, you cannot detour from that permit even a single mile to get food or fuel. It has to be part of your permit. So this is part of the enforcement that's a real challenge for our vehicle enforcement and our weigh stations.
It's hard to manage freight unless you know where it's going. With that we also take a look at intermodal facilities and the multiple uses for this inventory. The data set has the name and the type of products that are produced as well as the square-footage and the employment. We've used the square-footage and the employment to kind of take a look at just the things we want to see. We've taken a look at areas which have facilities that are over 100,000 square feet and have over 100 employees. Unfortunately, this dataset has a lot of blanks and wrong data. It needs to be updated and verified. We're working again with our area development districts as part of their work program for this year to complete the dataset. We're looking at the major manufacturers, the distribution centers, and truck and rail waterways in their areas. In order to do this, we had to learn a whole new terminology. A whole new vocabulary for what's going on here. We have had a lot of turn over in staff in the central office as well as district offices and area development districts. We have to learn a new vocabulary. What is the dock height? What is the difference between the two? Why is it important to know the difference between the two? Each mode has its own unique words. We presented maps and pictures from what is a siding, a rail spur. What are the differences in yards and how they affect freight traffic in your area? Do you really need to know about it or is traffic just going through your area or is it having an impact on your network? These are things that we learned and have taught our area development districts about as they're collecting the information this year.
The idea is to take it down to a project level. This is actually a picture from Toledo's presentation. It talks about a transload facility and the upper middle part of this slide. From there they've been able to designate certain ramps or turning radiuses that need to be improved. That's the idea. To apply the ideas and knowledge that we have to identify projects. In Kentucky, we have something called 'Project Information Form.' This feeds our unfunded projects list that feeds into our six year plan or two year planning document or STIP (State Transportation Improvement Program) for funding projects. But there are only a few mailboxes on freight routes. How do we get these projects brought forward when dealing with prioritization system? By using our local folks, highway district, and area development offices; they get information and learning where the freight goes. Maybe they will meet a partner that they can put on their own transportation committee. That puts local knowledge and interest at a local level. This is information that's going into the county comprehensive plan so that they know what businesses are in their area and what impact they will have. All the information that's in the dataset, the employment, size of the facility, all of that will be included in the county comp plan. All the data will be completed and given back to the Office of Economic Development. So they have a clean dataset to share with their central office as well as field offices across the state. Also looking at using this data to improve the statewide as well as local traffic demand model so we can do freight models specific for these freight concerns, as well as adding information to local studies whether on a county or corridor basis.
We already talked about partnering with economic development. The area development districts and highway district offices are partnering with industry and local officials. By working with the Kentucky Association of Riverports, we did a study and completed it in the winter of 2007. But by the riverports working together, they found out that they don't compete against one another but have become a resource for one another about how to handle coal, what happens when coast guard comes in and has a certain issue about cleaning off barges? Our Kentucky Railroad Association is primarily a group of shortline railroads. They are the ones that are making and breaking trains, they're the ones that are dealing with the economic development issues. We've been working with Operation Lifesaver, working with the railroad police that are with the individual railroads as well as local and state police department on what should they do when dealing with a railroad issue? What do you do when you have an incident? What do you do when you have a derailment? We actually stole some information from another state and shared it through Operation Lifesaver. KMTA is located right here in the Capitol City. They've been a wonderful resource on how people move as well as getting speakers for our freight conference. One of our programs notifies every trucker when there are incidents that will close down the interstate in the I65/71 corridor all the way up to I65 through Indiana. We actually stopped by accident at one of the weigh stations on our recent site visits and got more than an ear full of information that they thought somebody should need to know. Somebody did need to know. They were being caught between the Transportation Cabinet and the Justice Cabinet where they're now located as well as Facilities Management. We were able to facilitate some of their needs with technology as well as how they interacted with our own commercial vehicles transport. How they pulled over truckers and inspected and saw how a bad break could cause a truck to catch on fire. One of the other eye-opening experiences is synergy within our own cabinet, we were able to get information from Driver Licensing to get information out to the county clerks about how to act around trucks. We want to know how to act at a railroad crossing if there's something coming and being able to share that information with drivers and with motor carriers. We have a one-stop shop in the building. If we have a question about a trucker, we just go downstairs and ask information from a trucker that's there getting a permit or license for their truck. They're there every day of the week. We have on-site peers to compare information. The facilities management is in the Division of Maintenance. They've helped us improve our relationship with the weigh stations or a railroad to clean a ditch. They've been a wonderful resource. Highway Safety is also working with Operation Lifesaver and the Department of Aviation , that stuff has got fly in from somewhere and we have over 65 general aviation airports in Kentucky as well as FedEx , and UPS that's out of our Louisville area and DHL out of our Northern Kentucky airport. It's freight aviation in Kentucky. So there are all the people we need to communicate with in our own building.
We started something about three years ago that we started with our ferries. All of our ferries, we have ten of them across the state, have never met. We started an annual waterway meeting to bring in the ferries the first year and they thought maybe we wanted the Core of Engineers and Coast Guard. We started telling the riverports about this meeting they wanted to be invited too. Bringing all these agencies together to develop a partnership in a non-threatening environment to tell them what's going on is very beneficial. Things as small as how we're handling port-a-potties on a ferry were discussed. You wouldn't think that's important, but we found ways around having to have more port-a-potties on some ferries. Also with our ice storm early this year, we had quite a bit of communication with FEMA. One of the things that the Vehicle Enforcement let us know, we were having a truck parking problem. They did a survey across the state and found trucks parking on ramps which are illegal. They were parked illegally in rest areas. We had more trucks than we could handle. We worked with our area development districts and did a survey last year of all 319 exits on the highways and parkways. Which exits actually had services, which exits just led to homes and trucks had no purpose to be on. As well as advertising the rest havens. All of this information is being put on an interactive map service that's available on Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's website. It's also available through kiosks that are at the rest areas and weigh stations and rest havens so that truckers can find this information on where they need to be in order to keep them on the national network and safe and appropriate environment. Also, the Mississippi Freight Coalition is doing a long term study to download to a GPS unit since that seems to be the direction that a lot of freight haulers are going these days. All I can say is that this was a way to use and abuse grad students. We were able to make this part of the graduate student senior project.
Finally, we are partnering with legislation. In Kentucky, our state law says we can only spend state road fund on state roads. It has to be used for general fund for other roads. Some states such as Mississippi and Tennessee have been successful in changing their laws or creating a new bucket to put in specific modes funding. Kentucky hasn't been successful there yet, but we have been getting best-practices by the kindness of strangers. Depending on our feds and neighbors best-practices on how we may be able to change our laws. Just this year, we had an interim joint subcommittee of our transportation legislative team that started meeting, and talking about waterways and how they can gain greater emphasis on waterways. They talked about how we can create a bucket so funds can be put in that bucket to go towards waterway transportation.
With this, we are a Transportation Cabinet and cannot be lobbyists for legislation. Our Kentucky Association of Riverports and Kentucky Motor Transport Association have been able to use their lobby's efforts. As well as getting information from committees such as AASHTO committee recently did a survey on funding for rail. So all of these are resources that are helping us get a better picture of what legislation might need to be. One of the things that we try to do is- do site visits. Get out of the office and do some tours. We recently added, as I said, the weigh station. It was amazing what we could find from the drivers as well as from the staff on what is going on in the weigh stations and the services they provide. We're getting information from both sides, telling us special needs of the industry. When we do a site visit we invite the highway district office to go with us. We not only learn what each other do but also how they interact with the freight provider. You never knew how to take a chicken from an egg to the store until we actually visited a chicken hatchery and manufacturing and processing facility in far western Kentucky. Its eye opening and nose closing experience to know what's going on.
Take a look at some of the site visits. Only do site visits in good weather. One of the things we do is take a chance to look at the completed projects. They may have been managed by a district office. We try to take a look whether it's a new ADA applicable ramp or Amtrak signage or talking about the Southeastern Economic Development District which is an intermodal facility. Take a look at future projects. This is a project that's received some ferry boat discretionary funds, so it will not be impacted by high waters? We also look at regular operations. By talking to them on a regular basis, we find out who can actually help projects and what's not working. I found out what the latest going on is with the Coast Guard requirements and what's changed so we can get this ahead of the storm.
We share good ideas working in other areas. They were tearing out their dock to some degree by unloading wires. But by using old tires they greatly improve their unloading facilities. Here is one of the weigh stations that we visited. In the center you can see how the sign was knocked down. As the trucks go around it's amazing how these signs are up at all. This is a concern they had for years but didn't know who to go to.
Next time they go through striping they can add to their contract to add striping to keep the truckers in the correct lane for whatever they need them to do. If they need to go through the barn for inspection then they know that's only for inspections. If they're going to stop for paper work, they go through the paper work line. They've asked us to add sign pavement markings in these areas.
Finally site visits, well they are just cool stuff. Whether you are looking at the Southeastern Economic Development that has over a million square-foot under roof or whether you are taking a look at spent nuclear fuel that's been moved by riverport, driving a tug boat simulator, or loading and unloading coke at many riverports in the state, moving 300 feet of rail with ties attached using an innovative technique when they were towing the rail here in Frankfurt with R.J. Corman. It's nothing like getting on site to see how it's working.
You get out and meet the people. We do not have Superman on staff. But all of our partners are superhuman people. They are great to work with and it's nothing like getting a little face-to-face contact to getting the problems put away. It's easier to pick up the phone to call someone when you know what their face is going to look like. We are a true partnership, not only in the Transportation Cabinet but with our Federal Highway counter parts. I'd like to thank Bernadette Dupont and Jeremy Edgeworth to having a successful program.
The first question was for Dan, but I think Lynn you can probably answer. What tools do you use and who attends your freight scanning tours?
Once we choose the destination, we try to work with the highway district office that's in that area. We are divided into 12 offices. They are the local people on the ground and can help us identify the area. After that we work with federal partners if it's appropriate for that trip. We try to bring in some new talent whenever possible so we can learn from what's going on. We try to hit different types of facilities and just have some time with them. It's been amazing when we go in and say we're from the government and here to help and they actually believe it.
Lynn, we'll start with you on this one. How did you deal with your agency not being known by some of their freight constituents, especially in today's climate of terrorist threats, etc?
We depended on our local folks to make some of the initial contacts. Then we made sure we came in a state vehicle with appropriate business cards. Always wore our badges when we went to a facility. Really didn't have much of a problem or we would have a known agency such as our riverport introduce us. We would have that as a way of introduction.
How did you work with the railroad to gain their support and willingness for the operation?
I think that's a Dan question since he has more activity with the railroads. We have been successful in communicating with some of our short line railroads. They are much more willing to work with us and a little means a lot with them. The biggest way we have been able to go in with the railroad to have their ear is with Operation Lifesaver. We have been working with the railroads getting the correct person to talk to.
We have two major freight railroads the Norfolk Southern with their Heartland Corridor project and we have the National Gateway Corridor that CSX is doing coming from the North. As long as you invite them and keep inviting them and you get them involved early, I think the critical thing is involve them early. It is something we learned with light rail and passenger rail, they would rather be involved early. As long as you invite them and get them involved early, they will be less hesitant to work with you.
Okay. Going back, how did you deal with your agency not being known by some of the freight constituents?
Primarily, we went through existing private relationships. We are really good at facilitating conversations between all of the different roles of MORPC. We all have different connections and networks. So we went through existing connections and established that. That's really a key role we played with the logistics council was trying to explain the federal highway system and all the rules and regulations. This understanding by industry led logistical council, who by and large had little awareness of what goes into building a project was critical. The logistics counsel, being an industry led counsel really helped us move things forward.
What tools do you use and who attends your freight standing tours?
I'm not sure what you mean by tools. But we open the freight tours to everybody but we focus on elected officials and high level professional government types. We try to focus on the people who haven't been exposed to freight or less supportive of freight projects. We have people come in, give them a brief presentation, and we actually go out to facilities and speak on what they do, take a tour, and speak about impacts of the infrastructure. The 665 example, we're going have FedEx which I want to say a thousand feet off the interchange, talk about the impacts of that interchange not being upgraded yet and how it's important for their business to succeed.
Lynn, would you care to comment about the implementation of rest havens in Kentucky?
I'd love to talk about that. It's been one of the best public involvement and tools that we have with our truckers. All of our rest areas in Kentucky have been designated rest havens. What that means is a trucker may park in one of our weigh stations and they are guaranteed not to be disturbed during their rest hours. So this allows the trucker to get the rest they need and it's a safe place that is free of lot lizards, which are some of the reasons that we had some of the improper parking that we did. People didn't like going to some of the facilities because of the folks that might be there that shouldn't be there. But they're not finding that as much in the rest havens where they can park over night. They won't be disturbed by enforcement or police. The troopers go through. The lot lizards and undesirables are not there as often. It is very successful.
What type of cross cutting technology applications are used or plans in your areas?
We're studying creating an advanced traveler system to sort of link up all the different sort of traveler information systems. We have a construction related system, there's a traffic congestion related system and a bunch of other smaller systems in the TMS center. Trying to provide both information for the normal commuters and the travelers through Columbus but more importantly freight and logistic companies on where to go and save those critical couple of minutes lost to congestion that cost so much in the end. .
One of the things I mentioned earlier is the Notify Every Truck. It uses email as well as fax and cell phone technology. This technology informs people know who have signed up for the service when there is an incident expecting to close a road more than two hours so they can be rerouted to reduce the time they're impacted. We have the 511 service which has information. In downtown Louisville, we have a corner that's particularly bad and it is right where the hospitals are. Oddly enough it's called Hospital Corner. They use CB radios that cut in to channel 19 and a lovely lady's voice tells them and warns them about the possible load shift that happened at Hospital Corner. So those have been successful tools. In addition, a lot of the truck driver permits and licensing, with the One-Stop shop here in town have been very successful. They can go to one place and get all the information they need. Much of that can be done online as well. The truckers say that is a great service for them.
Thank you all for attending today's seminar. The recorded version of this event will be available within the next week on the Talking Freight website.
I'd like to give a brief mention about the FHWA Freight Peer to Peer Program. The Freight Peer-to-Peer Program (P2P) puts public sector freight transportation professionals in touch with experts in the field and provides technical assistance in order to enhance overall freight skills and knowledge. The program is available to public entities, including State departments of transportation (DOTs) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs). To learn more about the program or to arrange a peer exchange, or to discuss participating as a peer/expert please visit the Freight Peer to Peer web site.
The next seminar will be held on September 16 and will be about Institutional Arrangements.
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!