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Talking Freight

Freight Data and Decision Making Tools

September 17, 2003 Talking Freight Transcript

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to the talking freight seminar, freight data and decision-making tool. During the presentation, all participants will be in a listen-only mode. Afterwards, we will conduct a question-and-answer period. This conference is being recorded today, Wednesday, September 17, 2003. I would like to turn the call over now for Miss Jennifer Seplow.

Good afternoon and good morning to you on the west coast. Welcome to the third seminar in the talking freight series. My name is Jennifer Seplow. Today's topics will focus on Freight Data and Decision-Making Tools. The seminar is being recorded.

I would like to introduce Scott Johnson of the Federal Highway Administration to give some opening comments.

Hello, everybody, and welcome. I just want to give you some quick background. During the past two years, ours of has conducted extensive outreach with over 1500 public and private transportation professionals across the country. Initially we focused on identifying policies. We sponsored workshops on finance, planning, and freight issues to help appropriate for the reauthorization of tea-21. Recently we have conducted customer outreach sessions to help better understand what freight professional development tools and training courses are needed to enhance knowledge and skills of professionals. So what's the point of this story? Well, throughout all of these outreach sessions, there has been a clear message: there is a need for freight data and analysis tools. This point was reinforced by a recent survey conducted by the association of metropolitan planning organizations. They surveyed about 340 MPOs. The most commonly-needed resource was freight data. So we're very excited to have Mr. Bruce Lambert and Mr. Felix Ammah-Tagoe with us here today to talk about this very important issue. I'll now turn the podium back over to Jennifer.

Thank you, Scott. As Scott mentioned, we do have two speakers today. I'll just go over a brief bio.

In his capacity, Bruce Lambert focuses on issues related to freight systems. He is involved with the first large-scale project to map and underline the transportation flows of the United States economy. He will speak about the frame analysis. Felix Ammah-Tagoe is a senior research consultant at macro research, and serves as a primary analyst. Today Felix will speak about freight data and analysis to providing an overview of Geofreight, the intermodal freight decision making tool. I'm going to go over a few details. If you have participated before, basically it's the same drill. Today's seminar will last 90 minutes, with 60 minutes for the speakers and the final 30 minutes for questions and answers. You can type a question into the smaller text box on the lower right side of your screen. Price type it into the small, thin text box area and not the large white square underneath.

Presenters will be unable to answer questions during their presentations, but I will use some of these questions in the last half-hour of the seminar. Those questions that are not answered will be posted to the freight planning listserv. Within the 30-minute question and answer session, the operator will instruct you on how to ask a question. If we run out of time, please post your question to the freight planning listserve address, which is up on the slide on the screen; that's Both presenters will watch for questions posted to the list serve that relate to today's presentations, and will answer your questions as quickly as possible. And finally, this session is being record. A file containing the audio and a visual portion of the seminar will be posted to the talking freight website within the next day or so. I will notify you when this recorded event is available. To access it, go to and click on the record events link and choose the session you would like to view. Due to the size of the official, recorded officials available for viewing and listening purposes only and cannot be saved to your only computer. We encourage you to direct others in your office to access the record seminar. Now we'll begin with Felix Ammah-Tagoe and his presentation for today's seminar. Felix?

Good afternoon, and good morning to those on the west coast. I'd like to thank FHWA for inviting me to join the freight seminar series, and I'd also like to thank my colleague who asked me to step in for him. The title for today's seminar freight data and decision making tool quite interesting. What you I hope to present this afternoon -- what I hope to present this afternoon is a series of, I'd like to give a quick overview of some of the trend data that we have and look at some of the existing survey program, both domestic and international data and finally talk briefly about Geofreight, which is formally called the intermodal tool. Because we don't have much time, I will go very fast through so. Slides, hoping that we can address some of your questions within the question and answer time. The reasons why we look at some of the freight data are reasons that you are quite familiar with. And I can see a lot of friends in the list of 80 or so people logged in here. Many of these issues have been discussed quite a bit, particularly TRB and several other transportation gatherings. But some of the key issues that we look at is the increasing rate of growth, looking at domestic freight, and that places quite significant demands on planning and other issues. If you look at the future growth rate or the forecasted growth rate for freight also, there's quite a significant amount between now and 2010 and 2020, and part of that forecasted growth comes from the freight analysis framework that Bruce will talk about. A number of freight-related safety issues that have come up for which we need to keep reliable data for makes it more relevant for us to know how much is moving and where it is coming from and where it is going to. On the operations side also, there is a need for not only data, but real-time freight data. And a lot of issues are related to that, both on the daily freight operations angle and also on the security operations angle. There is a need for more timely freight data for business, for which there is quite a bit of interest and quite a bit of demand for that type of freight data. Just a quick brief overview for so. Domestic freight trains that we've seen over the past several decades, if you look at growth in miles, you can see that the relative growth is quite significant, not as significant as real GDP, but -- why is this relevant? Because if you look at the volume of freight being moved relative to GDP, that is a trend going on in part because, although we're using quite a bit more freight, we're moving more bulky cargo the industry is growing at a much faster rate, so the GDP has been declining. I don't know whether you can see that well on this graph, but it will be on the printed version when you get to print it. The other thing that I wanted to show is the growth in domestic ton miles by mode. We all know that air cargo freight has been growing quite a bit, in part because of several changes just in time and other reasons. But this is what we have found over the past two and a half decades, in tracking and growing quite a bit also.

If you look at the relative modal shares -- and I'm sure a lot of people are very familiar with this -- when you look at the value and tonnage, tracking is the most dominant mode for moving domestic freight. When you look at it in terms of ton miles, tracking had has fairly similar proportions. Overall, we estimate that about 16 billion tons of goods move on the freight system nationally. And of that, domestic accounts for roughly about 90% in tonnage and just about 80% in terms of value. So internationally, it is a rather significant proportion, up to about 20% in terms of value. Now, again, why is this important? Because it affects key gateways and key entry points. We're talking about gateways in terms of seaports and the airports. And I'll come back to this point in just a minute. So most of these trends that I have described are from huge public data sources. I'll spend a little bit of time addressing some of these data sources that we have used to look at the trends that I just described. One of the primary data sources is the commodity flow survey. In addition to that, we have quite a bit of administrative-type data, the bps tons border data, which looks at freight, international freight data between the U.S. And Mexico and Canada; and more recently, BTS is working with census and customs to get the air and water part of it. So it will be a complete set of data, including both the air and water. We also have some carrier reporting data, particularly from other office of airline information that gives quite a bit of air cargo data, both air cargo moved by all cargo airlines and cargo moved by the regular passenger airlines. Just a little bit more, and again I'm sure what number of people know this already, but BTS just finished a 2002 CFS, meaning that we have had three of them over the past ten years, the '93, '97 and the 2002. Bps conducts this throughout the census bureau and provides data on freight moving by all modes of transportation, including multi-modal. The CFS provides data for overall tracking and for private tracking. And it's one of the primary sources for this information. It also has information on the goods themselves, the geography of the movements and the shipment, and it's been used for a variety of different analysis, including congestion management and hazardous materials movement. The 2002 survey that was just completed covers about 50,000 business establishments in the united state, out of about 800,000 establishments. It covers the same industries that were covered in the '97 and '93 CFS, covering manufacturing, moneying, wholesale and selected retail. The key data variables are the valve shipment, the tonnage of the shipment, the mode of transportation as well as the o and d. Again, I apologize for this slide. I couldn't get it to show well, and you should be able to print it and see what this is. Essentially, this is showing some of the key areas that are covered in the CFS and areas that are not covered. Primarily, any shipment from industries classified as mining, manufacturing, wholesale and selected retail are included in the survey. And all the outbound shipments from these establishments are including, including the exports. The imports are not, because the survey covers domestic establishments. It look at the outbound shipment, not the inbound shipments. Government shipment, household shipments, U.S. Mail and a variety of other freight-type surveys are not included in the CFS. The timeline for the 2002 -- and this is of interest, I'm sure, to a variety of different people in the audience -- the 2002 data, the preliminary national data will be coming out this year. We are working very hard on it and hoping to have it just in time for TRB. The full national data, the final national data and the state data will come out next year, in part because we need to wait for the economic census data. That will come out in disease of this year, and the final set of data and the national and the o and d will come out next year. And I'll be more than willing to take questions from this after Bruce's presentation. I'm going to skip over this slide and move on to the next one. I mentioned that there's some data gaps in the CFS what was estimated with the Oakridge national lab is that if you are able to estimate the totality of freight that moves from the system and you compare that to the CFS, there is a missing gap. That missing gap is about 30% of overall ton miles, which is about 20% of the value. So if you think about it, the CFS has 70% on the ton miles. And part of the reason why we do have the Geofreight is to estimate this 30%. So FAF gets into some of the missing data. And Bruce will talk a lot more about that. Ly skip a couple of these slides, and we might come to them if there is time. Essentially, the CFS data are used not only at the national level, but also at the state and local levels for a variety of planning needs. There's quite a bit of geographic detail needed to do some of the levelnal circumstances for which the CFS data doesn't provide that, in part because we only have data at the state level and metro levels. Over the past several years, particularly after the '97 CFS, there has been quite a bit of interest in terms of providing public use data files that show the origins and the destinations at a county-to-county level, and also showing it by commodity and including international flows. It's quite challenging, trying to provide such data. And we haven't been smart enough to come up with such a data set that includes the o and d, both domestic and international, and also have all the attributes that one would need and have this available. Hopefully we can draw an insights and suggestions from stakeholders and be able to provide a database with that type of detail. Again, considering all the confidentiality issues and the disclosure issues, that has to be accounted for. So in part, to meet that need, Geofreight and the FAF were created by dot to try and address some of those needs and meet the needs of the state and local MPOs. How can we do this? And what are the are issues involving doing that, or do we use other means of providing this data? There's some examples in Canada by transport Canada that is quite innovative that we can learn from. Do we simply create these detailed level data by just generating different modals? These are issues that we have to deal with. I mentioned the confidentiality and disclosure requirements that currently limit access to the data, and that's another issue that we all have to live with. So looking beyond the CFS, what can we expect and what should we be looking at? BTS has been talking to some of the stakeholders to look at an American freight data program that will have the geographic specifics that are need, but fill the gaps in terms of the industry coverage. So we're also hoping that we'll have some source to help fill these data gaps. So all things being equal with input from all the stakeholders, we should be able to move this program ford. I'd like to just briefly talk about so. Are international trade data that that we have. I see some of the folks have lists on the international trade part of it also. BTS gets a lot of its international data from the census bureau that gets data from the custom service. We also get quite a bit of data from the engineers and special tabulations that we get from census, particularly on the air and the water side that I mentioned previously. So bps use its transporter data to look at the freight flows among the U.S., Canada and Mexico. And we also look at the border crossing, which has not only the track crossings, but also rail crossings. And when we do that, some of the issues that we look at include the fact that our trade with the rest of the world has changed. Recently, ton mile, the term "ton miles" made it to the New York Times for the first time.

And it was talk become china, and how trade with china is changing quite a bit. It's interesting that ton-mile making its way into the press. Essentially, if the trains that we see -- the trend that we see with china and Mexico continue, then our gateways could be seriously impacted. So we need to have a good who you key afraid partners are and what are the modes of transportation that will be impacted with these changes. And a number of the issues that need to be looked at include some of the institutional and security issues, having gateway, infrastructure issues, and to understand the corridors that are impacted by these flows. And remember, we had said that international trade accounts for about 10% of the tonnage and almost 20% of the value. BTS recently came up with a report on international trade, and you're more than welcome to visit the BTS website to retrieve this report. It covers a whole series of issues on international freight. One of the key things it points out is the relationship between the international merchandise group and GDP. And we know that has been growing at a much faster rate than GDP over the past three decades. This slide shows the shift between 1970 and now, and if you look at the concentration, the rights of Mexico, for example, it's moved quite a bit in the ranking. And Japan, which wasn't listed at all in 1970, is now the fourth trading partner. That's a significant shift, which we all know has been happening. It has direct impact on freight movement, particularly again at the gateways. This shows a relative modal split of international trade. And again, while tracking is important both in terms of weight and value, water is primarily the most dominant mode for moving international cargo. While you may not see the slide clearly, the concept here is that you look at a gateway multi modally. The key gateways for freight are not only the land gateways. JFK, for example, is the nation's leading freight gateway, followed by Los Angeles, long beach and Detroit. So the nation's leading gateways are multi-modal, they cover all the freight modes. And that's quite an interesting point. I'd like to switch and talk briefly about Geofreight for the next couple of minutes.

The domestic and international data that I have described have been used in a number of different ways. One of the things that we wanted to do was to create a tool that is user-friendly for dots, MPOs, and others can use. Working with FHWA, particularly the FAF program, dot took a step forward in trying to create such a tool. Basically, the system has, it's a GIS-based interactive tool that allows you to assign the nation's freight movement on the highway and examine the origins and destinations behind the flows. So you're seeing the flows in terms of the magnitude of the flows and where it's going, and you can go behind it and look at the or begins and the destinations of the flows. A lot of this work was done by dot by the Oakridge international lab, the center for analysis. I'm simply going to show a couple of screen shots from this tool. We are hoping to have a cd of the tool ready in time for TRB. And essentially, it looks at freight flows for all the modes it has. It has almost all the data that we have in the FAF and uses it slightly differently. It shows the 1998 data flows. It has it for both the 1998 and the 2010, for both highway, rail and water shipments. It allows you to view the flows multi-modally, moaning that you can overlay one on the other. So you can visually see not only highway, but also the rail and the water at the same time. And it also allows you to pick a segment of the highway network, for example, and examine the origin destinations. You can see the volume of traffic moving in a given area. So that for any link on the system, it allows you to view the os and ds. So if you happen to be in Colorado and you want do know for a segment of your highway what the origins, you can easily figure it out. If you want to know for the i-95 corridor, passing through Virginia, you can easily do that, or looking at the i-10 or the i-5, it's easy to do that. The CDs for this will be coming out probably in the next six weeks. We're hoping to have them ready for TRB. Thank you very much, and I'll be here to take questions. I'll turn it back to Jennifer.

If you want to e-mail me, my e-mail is up on there, and the phone number, also. Thank you very much.

Thank you, Felix. Again, Felix's e-mail and phone number is up there. We will now move on to Bruce Lambert and his presentation on the freight analysis framework.

I want to apologize in advance. I've been speaking on the frame analysis framework for, let me see, my daughter was walking, 20, 30 years ago.

Just joking, but it's been several years and I'm trying to put a different slant on this.

I hope you will find this a different presentation than the standard presentation that I normally give. The FAF is kind of a turning point in terms of that it has been completed in one area, in other areas we are looking to enhance it. I know some of the people listening in, I've had discussions with you and I want to thank you for the comments that I have already received from you. I have three points, it's important to understand why we created the FAF. How has it been used today? And what have we learned in some of the future efforts? The first thing is that we were trying to answer question, in developing the FAF, related to reauthorization and policy in the office of freight management and operations to help with our reauthorization efforts. It's funny in that it helped us frame the reauthorization debate because everybody used the slides and the charts. So we actually do a lot of policy analysis with it. Everybody else took the findings and used them. But what has happened as, while we developed it, we were flying by the seat of our pants because federal highways had never developed a database like this, linking commodity glows and vehicles and modes, and really tried to make a difference, I guess, regarding freight mobility or just public awareness of freight. So you'll have to forgive us, because we were really struggling when we first put this out as to you how people would use it. And it has actually exceeded our expectations and we have raised the bar upon what people to expect from us in the future. Some of the things that people are looking at is when and where is the vehicle or the rail car operating, or the barge. What is it carrying? Where is it being distributed? Are there any intermediate stops? Where are the warehouses located, by parts or borders, on certain areas on the interstate? The questions what is the exposure to congestion, safety, those kinds of issues. I was joking about the FAF taking us a few years; it really was a multi-year project. The first database was delivered in april of 2000, and we finished applying all the forecasts in the next year and we kept adding additional data elements to it. We'd find data gaps, and we'd say, you know, we really need that particular piece in our database to help us answer particular policy questions. In fact, the last piece that we added was last summer, we added domestic shipments of agriculture products moving from the farm, which was a major data gap in the commodity flow survey. So it's really two different databases. One of them is a database of commodity flows at a county-to-county level by mode for 1998 as a base year, with forecasts for the years 2010 and 2020. And the highway portion of that, we have taken it and comfort converted it into truck trips between the county flows. We have calibrated it against the assigned truck and total traffic information we have had. We have collected it both from the states and using HPMS. Who are the FAF users? The federal highway administration, we've been using it to do some policy work, but the safety administration has been using it as well, and MARAD has been using it, military surges going to the commercial port, I know a couple of MPOs who have used some of the GIS databases that we've done. People use it in various ways.

Some simply use it for printed media or PowerPoint presentations or opening up a database and doing their own analysis off of it. How have people been using it?

The PowerPoint in this presentation -- and we have several PowerPoint presentations on our website. If anybody would like to use those slides, please download the slides. If you have any questions about what the slides mean or the chart, please call me. I know that we cannot be everywhere, but the material has been made available and you can use it to communicate to your decision-makers the importance of freight. I know several people reviewed those, and I want to thank you. They have been very well received. I like to show this map. There's a whole series, I can spend four hours on the FAFs, but I won't bore myself or you with it. But this is a top view of the major corridors that freight moves in the United States by the various modes. Blue is the water, and the waterway system, including linking domestic coastal areas, the red is trucking and the green is the rail. So there are natural corridors where a lot of freight is moving. The FAF is not just a highway database, though we have all these modes in there. And you can look at how they are related. I like to show this one because this is a map that we developed. All the red is the interstate system. The blue is the non-interstate, but the remainder of the national highway s as you can see, it is the interstate system that links our economy and links our cities together, and the majority of that is where the trucks operate. So the interstate system and the truck, there is an integrated dependence when the trucks move through these areas. Now, having focused on that, I want to show this slide that we developed on, here is where the potential estimated bottlenecks are on the interstate system in 1998. Now, remember, we had with a forecast that we did for the year 2020. And in the year 2020, it's estimated that peak period congestion without the addition of any system capacity or traditional land use changes, and this is the results forecast. You you see more urban experience areas experiencing greater levels of congestion as well as the interstate corridors also having increased congestion. So the idea of freight moving and congestion in the urban areas will spread into the interstate system. How have we used the FAF? Last spring, a barge struck the bridge at Webbers Falls on i-40. We went through and looked at how traffic would be do I invested if that link was removed from the s this is how the regional traffic went around the system, both at a regional level and we also did it at a national level. We saw where -- you know, we did the study on a Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, ATA was reporting that trucks were shifting from i-40 to i-10 and i-20, which is what this map represents. The majority of the traffic moving in that corridor was either Oklahoma-based on was California produce, moving over to the Carolinas. We did this because we recognized that there was a need for a very basic takeaway. When we go and make presentation or we go and speak somewhere, we need something to leave with the participants, so that they have a document to talk about, how freight is moving in their state, as well as something that they can begin a discussion on where they're going to take freight in their state or local area. The first thing again is table 1. This is the commodity database, and you do see the forecast. You have a state total; you have it by mode and destination or international. The idea was to try to show how every state links into itself as well as linking to other states that are in national market, to provide people with a common framepoint that this is the tonnage, this is mouth modes support economic growth and the value that have flow as well. We listed the top five commodities because generally the commodities sort by tonnage are never the same commodities that are sorted by value. Again, they both have different requirements and they both use different modes. So the johnson, I don't know where Kentucky is, he said, but I'm sure it's in the middle of the big red area. We were trying to show how -- and there's one for every state -- how every state is linked to every other state. The focus was how the economy of each state is linked to the economies of the other states or international markets. Now, at the bottom it says "total combined truck flows." there is one for domestic truck flow, destinations to or from the state or within the state to domestic markets. There is one for international gateways as well. This total combined is actually freight moving inbound or outbound from the state of Kentucky or within the state of Kentucky to other markets. We do not do maps of through-traffic because we have the national map. This is the rail map showing how rail moves into, out of or within the state of Kentucky. And in case you do not know this, every state has access to the full rail weigh bill of traffic moving inbound, outbound or within the state. Now, this is estimated total trucks. This is looking at HPMS datasets. We smoothed out over the network to help us calibrate the total FAF vehicles. This is an estimate of trucks in 1998. This is a relative map to this next map, which shows the relative growth of trucking in the year 2020. You'll notice there is corridors that can handle larger volumes in urban areas or long an interstate corridor. Again, it's the idea of a relative comparison of trucks between 1998 and the year 2020. Now, we look at the same dataset. We are looking at peak congestion in 1998. Again, the shaded areas are the MPOs. In Kentucky, there's very few segments that have congestion now. In the future, we see more areas along the interstate and the urban areas, having more congestion. This assumes again that the state of Kentucky surrounding states do nothing regarding system capacity. So it is really the no-build scenario.

Now, getting to an mpo, this is the total trucks moving through the Portland region in 1998 and going through, we estimate or base case and then we go through the year 2020, and you see the growth in trucks. Everything that I have showed you so far with the exception of the combined truck map and the density map of truck and rail is currently available online. You can download it and put it into your GIS. All the highway capacity stuff is available for you to use. Okay. We'll go to the next one. It is locked up, too. >> please stand by, everybody, while we fix this. I believe in having a little fun when I make this presentation, since I do it so often. In a sense, we finished the FAF and now we're trying to figure out what it is we have done and whether or not it is the right thing. You I do know how to spell school, but apparently, these two guys don't. What is available? You can get things either on a CDROM or on our website. Everything on the website is available by cd. Send me an e or give me a call, and I'll send CDROMs out to you. We have the maps for trucks and rail and inland waterway by state or by gateways. So you can look at Detroit or Blaine or the south Carolina ports or the Alabama state ports. We also have the state freight pro officials. It's available in PDF, and they're in color and you can print them out and hand them out. Or if I wanted particular impactage, you could get the html version and cut and paste the impactages or charts that you wanted. The commodity database is available at a state-to-state level, broken out by international and domestic, and it also has 1998, 2010 and 2020 values in there. The capacity database only refers to the highway. It's the highway planning network. And we have total traffic on each segment. We have a total truck estimate on each segment, and we have FAF truck on each section. That is really the truck times -- tons that were originated in the commodity database, and converted to truck. That so represents 5-axle or more on a vehicle methodology, I thought we had the methodology, the final 508 delivery ton today. But I should have it posted tomorrow or the next day. And we have a number of theme papers written on freight. They are somewhat dated, but they're still relevant. Fundamentally, a lot of the freight, the challenges of freight are still there. We have a very good publication called "the Freight Story." it is available on our website, but we have also mailed out to people if they want copies to pass out. The freight office is kind of the philosophy, we believe that we cannot be everywhere, but we want to encourage you and give you the tools that you need to look at freight or to examine freight or to promote freight in various forms. We'll focus on this CDROM. Felix mentioned the release of Geofreight. We're hoping to finish putting together this freight tool kit, which has methodology. You can go into the user guide and contact many of the people using the FAF about what they have done. We're working out an agreement to release the full county-to-county commodity flow by mode. We will not release the county-to-county rail flows. There will be water, air and highway. We are doing some additional maps. We're look at some other things mostly regarding trucking. We are also working on looking at how the FAF can be a data input to other planning or policy modules. Federal highway has been developing a lot of models over the past five or ten years, and how can the FAF, as a dataset, be brought no those people to use? And how can we develop a common framework to give you a tool where you you says, I'm going to look at a particular development or corridor, and link that to do d.a. That elements or make changes to the elements and row assign a network and looking at what that does, say, to a needs number. Felix mentioned Geofreight, and we're working with some other agencies to get their databases available on the CDROM as well. We're talking to census about integrates the FAF with the pattern business data set and looking at a joint release of that as well. Again, the FAF has some limitations or opportunities for improvement. It is an annual number. It is not seasonal adjusted. The forecasted data is delivered in one, but -- and of course we had to use state traffic counts. What we have been provided, we were not able to assign all the truck traffic because again, you have the vehicle counts that may be o in some censuses, we used -- however, the FAF is a national tool, and we feel it is confident and it can give you some directions. But when you start getting into very specific planning, you really should supplement it with other databases. The bottom point is don't forget that other tools or databases exist: the FAF is not the do-all, end-all for every. Sometimes there are other databases that are much better at answering particular questions on the FAF. It's interesting, freight data is being examined in many different settings. Scott mentioned the freight development program. That's freight data and analytical tools, and people have asked for that. A few years ago, a freight data came up. Again, BTS had a meeting on its international data earlier this spring. And I would encourage you, if you're interested in border data, there will be a meeting in Port Huron towards the end of October, talking about border data uses and issues. There's also a freight forecasting course. People can understand how they can look at forecasting freight movements or locking at the economic forecasts that go into place and the target delivery is next spring, in may. And of course you I put Scott's number this. Anything that you like, call me. Anything you don't like, call Scott's number, and it's 202-366-9498. [ laughter ] >> we're developing a freight tool kit. There is a role, I believe, for the federal government to provide you with the tools and the top-level nap since. However, we cannot do all of your work for you, but we can provide you with what you need. And how do we take the FAF or other datasets and link them in to be sure that we're providing sound technical assistance for state, MPOs and national discussions on freight movement. We want to develop tools that are somewhat objective, so that people can say whether or not this project is meaningful for us to construct or not construct; who there is a relationship or there's any benefit that we get from doing this at a state or local level. We recognize that there is a very wide spectrum of questions related to freight mobility, travel time, you know, hours of service, and so forth. What are the tools that people need to answer their questions? So I kind of highlighted in blue here. We are trying to address your needs, both at the state and MPO levels and the federal level for transportation data and analysis. What are we working on in the future? We are working right now on updated the FAF database elements. We want to develop both a long-term method of calibrating the base years as well as doing yearly updates. The FAF is really too bulky to be a monthly or quarterly process. We are looking at developing additional freight modeling tools and linking that, you know, whether that be simulation packages or using so. Existing simulation packages or local traffic generation models. Glen, we want to continue the work that we've already done with the federal data source and so. State data sources in terms of being sure that we can improve the data that goes into the FAF. With any database, its quality and credibility is reflected by the underpinning data. We believe in this office that we can only do but at a local level, we want to be sure that you can do your job and perform. I know I sound like a broken record, but it's the idea that all of us, one day with achieve our goals and enjoy life. And that's the end of my presentation. >> thank you, Bruce. And Bruce mentioned that freight website several times.

The address is listed up there. And Bruce's contact information is up there as well, 202-366-424. His e-mail address is there as well. We do have several people who posted some questions up there. So we'll go ahead and start off the question-and-answer session with some of the questions that have been posted. You once we get through some of those, we will then open up the lines for everyone on the phone to go ahead and ask questions.

We had a few questions for Felix. The first one is, can CFS data be aggravated by mca place for New England for future use? MPOs here in New England do not follow data borders. >> the short answer to your question is, not really. And the reason being that o and b is currently coming up with new definitions or New England that would follow the county-based descriptions. And as of last week, I know o and b was looking at the revised definitions for the metro areas based on counties instead of based on New England. So for the CFS data, if we have to go back to the new definitions that o and b is coming out with, we will still only base it on the definitions which are county-based, not based on the cities and towns for New England. So they will be still at the ma level, based on the county.

Okay. Can the Geofreight tool be made available to MPOs? Yes, the Geofreight will be available. We're hoping to have about 2,000 cds made. And is there any preliminary information available for the 2002 CFS? The data will be coming out, the preliminary data will come out by mid-December. They will be ready for Christmas. One more for Felix: are the 1997 and 2002 y CFS data sets comparable? Are there any important differences or upgrades to keep in mind? Will the 2002 data be available at the PMSA level? The '97 and the 2002 will be comparable, in part because it covers the same industries, the sample size did change from 100,000 to 50,000, they are still comparable. Of the modes are the same and the fundamentals are the same.

We will have some of the data at the ma level. I'm not sure if it will be PMSA because that definition is gone. But we will have some metro-level data. We are not sure at this point if it will be exactly the same as we had for 1997, but we are looking at the top 50, top 60 m as, and at least it would have the origins and destinations of value, tonnage and distance shipped. Thank you. Okay. We'll direct the next one to Bruce. What policies or procedures exist today for managing and/or protecting freight data? Actually this is a question that -- the FAF, in and of itself, we're arranging chairs right now, ass titanic is slowly sinking. We have policies that exist at the data release level. For instance, cease -- census has restrictions on how the data is collected and distributed. We are having discussions on how to get around some of those for some particular databases from census. But again, the restrikes that exist are imposed upon the agency that collects the data.

Some databases are collected with the idea that they not be made public for fear of confidentiality. Like a good one would be the pier-to-pier. The army collects pier-to-pier shipments, but they would not make that publicly available because of confidentiality concerns. So a lot of times data collection effort itself is screened to ensure that the participants are continued with data. Okay. The next question, will future FHWA studies include short shipping and an alternative to we're doing that now. MARAD is looking at initiatives along the coastal domestic ship, as well as looking at shipping between the U.S. And Canada. MARAD is the leading agency in that effort. We have provided them with data and assistance. And I don't know what the time frame is. You I haven't seen anything from them in a few woke, but there are three different efforts underway led by MARAD that are across dot on that topic. On that note, there is a December seminar, called Short-Sea Shipping. At this point, all we have -- that's all we have for the questions posted. Carol, would you like to give the instructions for requesting questions over the phone? Yes, please press the 1, followed by the 4 on your telephone. An operator will briefly access your line for the information that is required. If your question has been answered and you would like to withdraw it, press the 1 followed by the 3. If you're on a speakerphone, please lift your handset before entering your request. One moment, please, for our first question. We do have a question. It will be a few moments for us to get the information required. Our first question comes from Todd LaCasse. Hello. What legislative efforts are addressing the lack of freight data? There has been several discussions, several policy statements saying that freight data and freight data programming needed. And at this time, that about all that I can say. I'm sorry. That's probably not the answer you want to hear, Todd. All right. There is a sustained freight data program that is needed and necessary. I'm very limited in how I can comment on some issues. I recognize that freight data is something that we need to pay attention to within the department. Somebody mentioned a FAF data map, that is doesn't include through-traffic. There's a follow-up question? >> say again? Are we online? Yes, I'm sorry. Was that the end of the question? Yeah. We are wanting to know like I said, legislatively what might be being discussed or contemplated to be forced on the various industries to provide data. Specifically, trucking as the most critical need. Everybody understands that trucking is the big gap because again, we have historic databases of rail, water, air.

But truck secretary one that we just do not have that national database, over time, with the geography that is necessary. Everybody recognizes that that is the hole. This is Scott Johnson. I'm not the author of this and I'm not fully knowledgeable, but within the administration's bill as far as eligibility, that SPR fund that's are currently 2%, it is proposed to increase that to 2 1/2%. And that was to be used to pay for data collection to include freight. Well, we'd like to seat private sector perhaps be more cooperative when it comes to providing this. Because it really needs to be a nationwide program because trucks travel everywhere. And even if we do some data collection within say california, that won't necessarily get at trucks traveling around the country to get the information we need to build our models with. I'm sorry. Ladies and gentlemen, the chairperson's line has disconnected. We will reconnect that line. We will place all your lines on music until we do that. Once again, we apologize for the interruption. Yeah.okay. Well, it does sound like something is happening.

Ladies and gentlemen, the line has been reconnected. I will open up Todd's line once again. Okay. In our meeting here, I have worries me. Linda had a comment. Yeah. My concern was just the lack of truck data that we can get consistently over to him, that we will be able to get the destinations and origins down to the county level. And if it's not required, it's not going to happen, you know?

Well, ma'am, we recognize that there is a need for that type after database and we recognize that we have again raised expectations that we will do more for freight data.

But pending the reauthorization discussions, really all I can say is work through your groups and see if that is developed. Thank you. Our next question comes from the you line of Barry. Go ahead, sir. Yes. My question kind of has two parts. The first is, dot forecasts of freight tonnage assume fixed or trend shares between rail and truck, or how is that done? And I realize that that can also get into policy assumption and so the second part of your question is, has there been an economic analysis of the cost and benefits of investment for rail versus truck? That's new lanes out there and reconstruction caused by pipelines of freight on trucks. That's my question. The modal forecast that we used, we did not put an explicit trend in there. We did not say that rail was going to lose 1% a year, 35% a year or some number. What we did is we had modal shares for the various regions. We had 29 regions upon which our forecast is based. And over time, we allowed the regional trading patterns to change. As a regional training patterns changed, the modal mix changed to reflect how -- did we lose that line? I am sorry. We were not hearing anything from your line. I was wondering if that line was being disconnected once more. Ma'am, we are still here. Okay. Was the question answered? Do we proceed to our next participant? It was partially answered, but the last portion of his answer, we experienced the same silence that you did. I'm sorry, sir, about that. There seems to be some kind of technical issue with the lines. Did you understand how the modal forecast was developed? Yes. It sounds like you had mode shares in each sub-area, and the different sub-areas grow at differentiates. But the mode shares came out as kind of a FAF that resulted from some of those sub-area shares, is that right? Now, the second part of your question is the diversion or the relationship between highways and railroads and investment in rail. And we are starting to examine that internally. There has been work done in the office of policy, having a truck diversion model. And we're looking at that and trying to figure out some of those relationships to answer that question. The answer is, is it possible to answer that now? Yes. Do we have an answer? No. Will we have an answer next week? No, but we are pursuing that. Thank you. Thank you.

Our next question comes from the line of Raymond Guarino. go ahead, sir. Thank you. My question is for Bruce. I'm with the national regional planning commission in New Hampshire. You I have a question about the FAF network. When can we do when we download that FAF highway network and we find discrepancies between the FAF network and the existing network or a future network, so that we can have accuracy in the capacities? Well, we use the national highway planning network, so there is a discrepancy between what you sent us at the federal highways and what you are doing. So I recommend you to send meet segments that you have problems with, and I'll talk to our national planning network people and we'll figure out where the problem came from. Okay, thank you. You're welcome. Once again to register a question, you need to press 14 on your telephone. >>

Carol, do we have some time to request questions on our line here? Yes, we do still have some time, yes. There doesn't appear to be any further questions on the phones. Okay. We'll go with one question here. Bruce, you indicated that the FAF data maps do include through-traffic. What happens to regions that have a great amount of through-freight traffic? The maps that do not have through-traffic or the maps that have total trucking, we did not do the total through-traffic because we were continually adding new databases, looking at how we did the truck routing. Because again, the through-traffic depended upon, to some extent, the way the assignment models worked. Again the majority of that is the local or background traffic so we did not develop those maps earlier because of the work we were doing on the capacity. We recognize that the section activity of the through-truck number and we wanted to be sure that it was a number we had some confidence in, before releasing it. The next question is for Felix.

Felix you said that the FAF has a 30% discrepancy by ton miles and then stated that that was the same for value of shipment. Is this true? Naturally, the 30% is not a discrepancy in the FAF. It's the difference between what we estimate to be the overall freight moving on the system, compared to what is covered in the CFS. So if you look at just the CFS tonnage and ton mile, it is about 30% short of the overall. So the FAF is more because FAF includes all imports and the transborder, as well as farm shipment, which are not in the CFS. So the discrepancy is more not the FAF. The FAF has the additional data. Thank you. That's all we have for the questions typed in. Carol, has anybody entered in any more? No, there are no further questions on the telephone lines. Okay. We do have about five more minutes. So if anybody has any questions please go ahead. We'll wait a you few more moments. Someone has just entered a question. Okay. Our next question comes from the line of Mr. Howard Mann.

I guess this is maybe a rhetorical question. I understand representatives or MPOs are frustrated, as I am, with the data that is available and the data that is not available. The question is, why should the private sector release the information to us at all? That's my question. Now, are you talking about the private sector within your jurisdiction, giving you data that you need? That's right. Okay. I mean, what incentive are we providing to them? Obviously they're using this data for commercial purposes. There is a great diesel competition going on back and forth. And through our freight advisory committee, I mean, we're always been told that it's really none of your business. We need this information. You have class 1 railroads completing with each other. There are throw different ones here in New York, competing for business. How can we compel them to release the data that we need?

That institutional barrier is basically, how do you engage the private sector in your discussion? I know that some areas to the chamber of commerce have been able to work directly with some of the carriers to get the information that they need. But again, they're not as competitive as I'm sure your MPO is. Again, they do not feel that as a threat. Question comes down to, in Pittsburgh, in particular, the way they got people engaged by starting to look at some of the very small issues, like is there a sign in the wrong place? Was it too far on the bridge? And they were able to do those fairly quickly, giving confidence to the private sector participants that they weren't getting this information, they warrant weren't talking to them with the idea of just talking to them. They said, we're going to do this and they followed up with some of the actions. You I know that you're in a different situation from Pittsburgh. But the question of confidentiality and the carriers not releasing that, at the federal level, we have the same things that we have. We will have questions of putting an additional reporting burden on the carriers. So we also struggle with the idea of how to expand freight data and programs in the context of showing that there is a benefit to various audiences who may not want to release their data. I was in a meeting one time with FedEx -- and this is at another job eons ago --the chief analyst at FedEx said, I'd love to get all their data numbers. A very senior FedEx guy was there and said, I'm not releasing any data. So that cultural share regarding the release of did that is one that, both from a federal level and a local level, we're going to have to work together to ensure that again, the carriers recognize that there are some benefits for them in releasing that information, as well as safeguarding their own business activities. We do have another question posted up on the screen. Here in Kansas, we would like to construct a multi-modal freight model for our state. Should we delay our efforts until after the release of Geofreight and the release of FAF? I understand the agriculture numbers have recently been included in the FAF. >> you should not wait for Geofreight. It will be available in a few months. You but you're going to have to understand the databases that you currently have available, examining again the traffic data that your state collects and the vehicle count information. Once you do this, you need to have some business establishment information, whether you get that from some of the commercial vendors such as Info-USA or whatever. But I would not wait until things can be released. But even though both Felix and I are committed to releasing everything in January, clearly there is enough in the FAF now that you could look at the highway flows and the state-to-state flows and looking at truck generation. There are a number of states that also have freight activities that they are look at. I know that Colorado is also starting the same process that you are. And there might be some way that you can talk to them, that would be Tim Baker, and share some thoughts or ideas. Carol, do we have any more questions? There are no further questions on the phones.

Okay. At this point, I think we will close today's seminar. I want to thank you all for attending this seminar in the talking freight series. The recorded seminar will be available within the next day or, so and I will send an e-mail out when that is available. I encourage to visit the talking freight website and sign up for future seminars. Out of next seminar will be on October 15th at 1:00 p.m., and the topic will be borders and trade. Again, I encourage you to join the freight planning listserv thank you, and if you have additional question, please post those to the listserv. Thank you and have a nice day. Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude the conference call for positive today. Please disconnect your lines.

Contact Information

Spencer Stevens
Office of Planning
Phone: 202-366-0149/717-221-4512
Carol Keenan
Office of Freight Management & Operations
Phone: 202-366-6993
Updated: 03/29/2011
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