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Talking Freight

Freight Demand Modeling

February 21, 2007 Talking Freight Transcript

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

Today we'll have two presenters, Tianjia Tang of the Federal Highway Administration Office of Freight Management and Operations, and Kitty Hancock of the Center for Geospatial Information Technology at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Dr. Tianjia Tang is in the position of transportation specialist with the Federal Highway Administration's Office of Freight management and Operations in Washington DC. In his position, Dr. Tang is responsible for the Freight Analysis Framework also known as FAF and the Freight Modeling Improvement Program. As the program manager, his responsibility is to ensure that the Department has a national tool in analyzing various freight related policy issues.

Before joining the Freight Office in Federal Highway, Dr. Tang worked in FHWA's Resource Center where he provided technical assistance to State DOTs, MPOs and various other organizations in areas of travel demand modeling and transportation conformity. Prior to his Federal tenure, he had over ten years experience in private consulting and State DOT works. His experience covers transportation planning, NEPA, engineering design and management. Dr. Tang is a registered professional engineer in the State of Georgia.

Dr. Kathleen (Kitty) Hancock is the associate director for the Center for Geospatial Information Technology and an associate professor in the Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She earned her Ph.D. and Masters degrees in civil engineering from Vanderbilt University in 1994 and 1991. She received her bachelors degree in civil engineering from Colorado State University in 1982. Her research interests include freight planning in transportation, the application of spatial analysis and geographic information systems and intelligent mapping for engineering problem solving; and transportation safety.

She serves on the National Academy of Science and Transportation Research Board and related committees and review committees for the National Science Foundation. She is a member of the Transportation Research Board and American Society of Civil Engineers.

Her past work experience includes serving as associate professor and transportation program coordinator at the University of Massachusetts and associate director of the University of Massachusetts Transportation Center and director of MassSAFE. Kitty has also worked in various engineering capacities for Momentum Engineering, The Scientex Corporation, and the Southwest Research Institute.

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

We're now going to go ahead and get started. Today's topic, for those of you who just joined us, is Freight Demand Modeling. Our first presenter is Kitty Hancock of the Center for Geospatial Information Technology at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. As a reminder, if you have questions for Kitty, please type them into the chat box and they will be answered in the last 30 minutes of the seminar.

Kitty Hancock:
Thank you. Welcome, everyone. What I plan to do today is provide you with an overview of a conference that was held back in September here in Washington D.C. that was sponsored by the Transportation Research Board, Federal Highway Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers Research, Research and Innovative Technologies Administration, and the Federal Rail Administration. This was a two day conference that brought together professionals within the freight modeling domain to talk about the issues facing modelers now and in the future. The goals were to provide participants with the appreciation and importance of freight transportation and analytical tools to describe and predict the impacts of modal trade patterns on the public and private transportation systems.

One of the nice things about this particular conference was that it stayed at a high level of looking at how modeling can address decisions as opposed to getting into specific models or specific data needs for those models. It addressed a much bigger picture of what freight modeling means to the industry and decision makers as a whole.

There were several key observations that came out of this conference. I am going to step through them, and then I will give you an overview of all of them together.

Within freight modeling, both freight and logistic sectors are critically important. We cannot ignore one for the other. They have to be combined, because the decisions are intertwined between those two activities. The second observation is that political and jurisdictional boundaries do not necessarily define the market interrelationships. As you can see from this particular slide, most of these large urban areas cross multiple state boundaries as well as multiple local and regional boundaries. The decisions need to be addressed at a larger cross-jurisdictional level. This typically has not been, at least explicitly, included in modeling activities today. Another observation is that different decision tools are necessary for different contexts. We have several different contexts that we address within the freight modeling environment. We have global issues, particularly with the large global economy that we are working in now. There are several issues that transcend the local and state decision making. We have multinational, such as the NAFTA agreement, where we are working across the three countries within the North American continent. We have national and federal issues, looking at regions or multistate regions and trade corridors. We also have state, metropolitan, and local issues as well as some of the interactions with private industry and the public sector. Another observation is that decisions are very broad and multidisciplinary in a lot of instances. We have strategic investment decisions that cross system planning, management and real time operations.

The context is a changing. Traditionally, many approaches have used the four step model paradigm which came out of the passenger modeling background. This does not fit the freight paradigm. We need to shift out of that mode and into some other types of models which include logistics modeling, and hybrids of these. We need to understand what tools are available, as well as the decisions that can be answered by those particular tools. The main context is across multiple different disciplines. We have regional economies that we must address, civil engineering, management, business, and a multitude of others. We need to start addressing these problems with a multi-disciplinary approach. We cannot remain within a single discipline as we address the problems that address the freight industry.

Another observation that has come out of the majority of freight conferences that I have attended over the past 20 years is that we need data to support our decisions. We have some data, then we use those data which may or may not be appropriate for our decisions because they are the only data we have. Or we have collected a small sample of data and use it as a much broader support structure for our activities. In some cases, we have not used data at all, which has left us exposed like the emperor without clothes. The data collection paradigm that we are currently operating includes periodic updates, I am talking about the federal initiatives for the Commodity Flow Survey and a couple other data collection activities. The periodic update is outdated, and with current technologies, we should be able to explore the opportunity of continuous data input. We continue to talk about working in and across jurisdictions and across the public and private enterprise to obtain data. This is difficult. It is hard work to actually establish this type of relationship. The reality that I am referring to is the fact that you cannot go into a private organization and tell them to give you their data. You have to work with the individuals, show them that there is a benefit to providing data. This exists also across jurisdictions when the federal government comes into the state or local agencies and tells them to give them the data. There are mandates that state yes, you will, but if they can work with you to show you the benefits, then it becomes a much more productive relationship as opposed to a confrontational relationship. The point being made here is that you need to work at these partnerships to make them effective, but we need these partnerships for the decision making that has to take place, particularly within the freight domain.

This summarizes the observations from the conference. We are looking at freight across boundaries. We need a tool box to address different problems. There is no one tool that can answer every question that we have. We need to understand that and be able to identify what those tools are. The decisions being made today are very broad and multidisciplinary. We cannot just focus within one area and use one or two to address just that problem. Data issues are going to be one of the big factors that determine how successful some of our tools are which then impact our decisions.

Finally, we need to educate everyone involved in the demand modeling process, including (1) decision makers on what questions they can effectively ask and the answers that they can expect to receive back, (2) users of the modeling tools and what those tools are used for and what data are needed, and (3) providers of those data. We need to educate them on why these data are important and how to effectively collect them and provide them to the users, the decision makers, and everyone else who has a need for that information. During the workshop, we ended up with three different matrices. Down the side typically was the decisions that could be addressed by the types of available freight modeling programs. Across the top were some of the needs, who the users were, what data was needed, etc.. We ended up with a third dimension in the matrix which included a geographic component, if you will, of looking at local needs versus global needs. How do you consider all of these dimensions? This is a complex problem. This conference attempted to identify what would fill some of the cells.

From the conference we identified a number of research needs – we being the general community of about 120 attendees. This is a compilation of the comments and recommendations that came out of the workshop. In general, there were three overarching needs that were expressed. One was to identify best practices that exist in modeling, techniques, and data for different decision making contexts and make them available to other decision makers and other modelers so that they knew what has been done. Freight typically has been the stepsister of planning. Now as it becomes more of a focus and more of the key issues facing our decision making today, it has gained in visibility, and most planning agencies, local, state and federal, are attempting to determine how to get to an effective planning model? The attendees were interested in some guidance on how to get there. How do we actually do this?

Finally, there was a lot of interest in the current state of the knowledge. This is a little different from best practices in that it is actually identifying what is being done along with some understanding of what is good and what is lacking in activities that are currently take place. Typically, we have focused on a specific problem when we look at modeling. The attendees of the conference were pretty clear on identifying that decision making is specific to the level of geography that you are looking at. The tools need to be identified as to what level they are appropriate for and tools need to be developed that address specific levels of geography. Money tends to stay within the jurisdiction. Freight flow tends to move across those boundaries. We need to more closely link the modeling and decision making that is taking place with what freight is doing, and not with the jurisdictional boundaries that define the cash flow. Another need, addressed specifically by the sponsors of the conference is a robust national freight model. Local and state agencies can look at their specific problems, but a lot of times, they need some understanding of what is moving through their area. A national freight model is the key to understanding this movement which is necessary information to supporting local decisions.

Finally, we identify research needs related to data. As I mentioned earlier, this tends to be a continuing issue. Passenger data tends to be more established in how we collect that information. Freight is not because we have to cross into the private sector. They are very careful about how they share their information, because of all of the issues related with competitiveness and some of the other business activities that they are involved in. Some of the data needs that were identified include national data through metropolitan area movements, a development of a freight data architecture, and identifying application scenarios.

Systematic and linked approach towards data collection and use addresses the ability to share and fuse data, combining data for needs that may not necessarily have been established when the data were collected. It also looks at making it interoperable across jurisdictional boundaries or across the levels of decision making. There was a lot of interest in using the available public and private databases. We have a lot of data available. The attendees were interested in having some leadership from the federal level decision makers on how to use these public and private databases effectively and how to not misuse them. Obviously, there is a lot of activity going on with ITS these days. including commercial vehicle operation data. We want capture some of this information from GPS and wireless networking. There is a multitude of information that can be collected. The attendees wanted to be able to make use of this information for their benefit for freight modeling activities and decision making. We want to obtain information so that we have some understanding of what the industry and FHWA will be doing in the future so that we can address the decisions that need to be made according to what we see happening as well as in the modeling side.

The next point gets back to the key observation of moving from periodic data collection into a continuous flow of data, particularly with a lot of the ITS technologies. There is a lot of technology that does flow on a regular basis which could be used within a modeling environment.

We know that the CFS is probably currently the only data set available for national freight flow. We have to work with that data set. How can we improve it and how can we get more information from it? Can we increase sampling frequency, or can we increase the sample size? These were some of the recommendations to improve its usefulness to decision makers.

Moving into the decision tools, ideas for research included developing case studies of effective collaborative data efforts. Where have they been successful and where have they been beneficial for both parties participating? We need a better understanding of the transfer of methodologies and data use. Let's get the information and make it available to those that are making the decisions, not just the researchers and consultants that are providing information. Best practices of truck origin, destination methodologies. How do you get that information? What is the best way to do it and how can you maximize your investment? Additional guidance, such as the Quick Response Freight Manual. Information about logistics for public receivers. This is an area that tends to be difficult, if not impossible to acquire from current data sources. These are the government buildings, the military, the schools, etc.. How do you capture those movements? The relationship between land-use and freight data. Improvements and survivability of the CFS. We have already lost the VIUS (Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey). The CFS was at risk, but was saved, at least for this survey. Will it continue to be at risk in the future? We do not know at this point. How do we make sure that the budget remains for this or other data collection activities?

Research needs, for decision support tools. Now, we are getting both into the models and methods for decision making. There was strong interest in building and expanding the capability of having this freight model improvement program. There was also interest in establishing variables and relationships among the players for shipping decisions so that we know what needs to go into the decision support tools. Again, items such as the Quick Response Freight Manual were of interest.. Decision support tools that incorporate uncertainty and risk are needed for the decisions that we have to make since we do not know what the future is going to bring. If we had predicted the amount of media needed to ship music 10 years ago, we would have predicted millions of trucks to carry CDs. It is now all digital, so it is not moving by truck. How do we incorporate that type of uncertainty and risk in our decision support tools?

We also have a need to connect modeling at a more disaggregate geographical level from the national model. How can local communities or state agencies take what is being done at the national level and either apply it to local needs? We need an understanding of the models, and their viability. How do you find out how effective the modeling is? One of the things that transportation researchers care about is feedback. Did you go back and look at what you predicted and see if that is what actually occurred? You want to be able to build that back into some of the freight modeling tools.

A comparison of the models that are out there. How do we know which one is better for which decisions? We need to identify what the decisions are and identify the models needed to address those specific decisions. Several specific factors were identified. How do we consider safety in freight modeling? How do we link econometric and transportation models? And how do we incorporate logistics? Looking at multi-modal and intermodal interactions including some of the things that we do not normally think about such as short sea shipping? How do we integrate analysis tools for environmental and land-use, or for different investment and operational strategies?

Finally, Mike Myers summarized the conference with what he called the four C's. How do we develop a constituency for the results of freight planning that is led by champions based on collaborative undertakings that respond to customer needs? Ultimately, there is a fifth C. Where is the cash to pay for it all? That concludes my presentation.

J. Symoun:
Thank you, Kitty. I did see a few questions and comments that we will get to at the end of the seminar. If you do have questions or Kitty, I urge you to continue to post them. We will now move on to the second presentation, given by Tianjia Tang of the Federal Highway Administration. Again, if you have questions for Tianjia or Kitty, type the messages and we will get to your questions after the presentation. With that, Tianjia, and you can get started.

Tianjia Tang:
Thank you, Jennifer. Good morning. I am Tianjia Tang. As you just heard from Kitty, the needs for research are great. She listed nine slides showing potential research topics. I am sure that more can be added to that list. Now we know what the issues are. What are we going to do with the research topics. The move from those research topics to production, which is to perform the research first, implement the research conclusion, techniques, and methods into decision making on the infrastructure, maintenance, the infrastructure construction and operations is not an easy step. The process needs time, money and cooperation among all of the stakeholders.

First, let's take a look at the national level. What are these stakeholders doing on the freight modeling? You may already know about the NCFRP. The NCFRP was authorized by SAFETEA-LU, sponsored by US DOT's RITA, and Managed by the National Academies through TRB. SAFETEA-LU authorized $3.75 million per year in fiscal years 2006 through 2009. The exact dollar amount is determined by the annual appropriation process.

For the year 2006, the NCFRP had six freight related projects with budget that ranges from a quarter of a million to over half a million dollars. Item number six, the freight demand modeling, is $600,000. Well, the other ones, from a broad perspective, can be concluded that they are also part of freight demand modeling. Take a look at tem number two, which is a public policy. That is a public policy issue. Out of those issues hold direct impact on transportation system is modal share. From a loose definition, they are all tied with freight modeling one way or another. For the year 2007, the list here is not complete. NCFRP oversight committee is continuing to solicit research ideas. I believe the U.S. DOT has three or four people sitting on that board and we will do all that we can to promote the nine pages that Kitty just presented to us.

One last item related to the NCFRP is that if you are planning to submit a proposal on any of those research topics, make sure that you will not get on the technical panels, as you will disqualify yourself. You can nominate your colleague. If you are employed by the state DOT or the FHWA offices and you think you can contribute from a user's standpoint, nominate yourself or have a colleague nominate you to sit on the technical panel. Remember, NCFRP is applied research.

Now, let's take a look at what the Federal Highway Administration is doing. I am sure that you have heard of the Freight Analysis Framework. We have tackled the issue of freight data, the traffic assignment issue, payload issue. Also for the first time in history, we attempt to integrate data from WIM to VIUS. Since FAF is not a pure research effort, we still utilize a host of methods where we know that they have issues.

The second program here in FHWA is related to freight performance measures. This is the truck travel time. It relates to all interstate highways. We also worked on, we are also on the verge of releasing the freight benefit and cost analysis tool. This effort has been in progress for the last three years. We are expected to release this in the coming summer. As I just mentioned, we are in the process of updating the Quick Response Freight Manual now. There are quite a few people in the audience that are part of this effort here. We have also developed several freight related training courses in conjunction with NHI. The last one here is our WIM study. It is mainly related to its freight data issues.

With the next three slides, I will briefly summarize how FHWA conducts its research through contractors. Most of you are in the state DOTs or from our own divisions. You do not compete for this type of funds. Understanding our contracting process helps you to promote collaboration. Within that the FHWA, Office of Acquisition Management is fully responsible for the Federal Highway Administration headquarters R&D efforts. There are three basic instruments that we use to procure our contracts. The first one is IDIQ. The IDIQ contract is the most predominant type of contract method we are using. The second is the cooperative agreement. The last one is the interagency agreement, dealing with other federal agencies.

Let us take a look at the IDIQ process. Program offices, for example, the Freight Office or the Planning Office initiate IDIQ needs by preparing a statement of work for the Office of Acquisition Management, they will then announce the requests through its Web site. The interested contractors submit proposals to the Office of Acquisition Management. When the Office of Acquisition Management receives all the proposals, they are sent to the program office for evaluation. The Program Office will make a recommendation, not a selection for the Office of Acquisition Management for reward. The final say rests with the Office of Acquisition Management. Typically, the prime contractor puts together a larger team. The IDIQ statement of work covers a very broad topic. Unless, you are preparing yourself to be a prime contractor, you might want to work with a prime contractor as a subcontractor.

Cooperative Agreement. What is at the difference between IDIQ and a cooperative agreement? The difference is that the cooperative agreement needs receipts to come up with matching money. Right now, it is typically 20%. For people with state DOT, you can help the state educational research institutions to come up with the 20% match. Also, if you are planning to do some kind of research, send us an e-mail. We might be able to help you with the match.

Now, let's take a look at RITA within the U.S. DOT. RITA is directly involved with the freight program and the University Transportation Program. In the data program, CFS, VIUS, transborder, and a host of other freight related data base on well known. The good news here is that the 2007, CFS is on its way. It had been expanded. The bad news that I think Kitty mentioned is VIUS. It is dead. We do not have one. If you are with the state DOT, you need to know these things and how those programs affects your ability to do your work. Let your leadership now and let the leadership know their actions, their impacts, how they relate to each other. RITA is also a also responsible for the UTC program. Each year, UTC proposals are routed to various U.S. DOT offices for reviewing and ranking. To enhance cooperation and collaboration, RITA is sponsoring a conference this October focusing on freight transportation issues. I encourage you to attend that conference.

You have seen some of the key national efforts on freight modeling, and there are more freight modeling at the state and local levels, we know that. How do we integrate local, state and national efforts to gather? Our resources are limited. We do not want to duplicate research. How do we achieve that? First, I would call upon you to submit your research activities on freight modeling to us to be posted at By doing that we can establish a national database on what we are working on right now. You can make it as a contract term with your contractor to do the submission on the status report. Second, if you are on the public side, state government, local government, you must work with private shippers and carriers, and let them know that their data is vital to our function and to their own interests. We do not want their trade secrets. We only need their numbers. Third, we all know that talk is cheap, and it takes money to do anything Our office is ready to start a research program on freight modeling. Our pledge is $100,000 for right now. if each state DOT can contribute $20,000, we will have $1 million. If each MPOs can contribute a couple thousand dollars, we will have another million dollars. That will help us to accomplish some of those tasks. We can only solve those problems by working together, by collaborating together. Thank you very much. That is all I have for you.

J. Symoun:
Thank you, Tianjia. There were a few more questions posted. We will get to those in just a minute. Before I start the question and answer session, I do want to bring up a slide about the freight peer to peer program. This program is part of the freight professional development program that supports the exchange of information between states and MPOs. I have a slide about the program showing on the screen. There is a website where you can find out more information as well as an e-mail address and telephone number. I will leave this slide up for a while. I will then bring up the introduction slide that will have the presenters e-mail addresses as well as information about the LISTSERV.

I did see a few questions typed in, some may be possible discussion items. I encourage you to submit these discussion items to the LISTSERV. There are some good thoughts and perhaps the discussion can continue through the freight LISTSERV. I will go ahead and start off with the questions that have been typed in. When we get through those, we can open up the telephone lines for questions as well.

Kitty, this is an item for discussion. I would like to get your thoughts and then thoughts from Tianjia. The issue for discussion is that it should be the issue of not that we "need more data," but some clear indications as to just what specific data is most in need of being collected. Kitty, if I can get your thoughts on that.

K. Hancock:
It was not an issue of what data has in what was referring to as to giving guidance to the states as identifying, what the research needs was giving the state guidance on what to identify what data should be collected. It is a very expensive to do a data collection program. They want to maximize their investment. The attendees wanted some guidance, some understanding of what, pulled what data is needed for what decisions as well as what data can be collected as well as what has what? What activities have actually managed to get the data that they needed in a cost-effective manner? As well as, to be able to fuse data across from a different programs. You are not going to be able to collect every piece of information on a single effort or survey. How do you prioritize your collection to get the most out of it? Those were issues that came up in the conference. They are issues that the federal highway and some other leaders in this area are considering, it is not specifically addressing.

J. Symoun:
Tianjia, did you want to add anything to that?

T. Tang:
Sure. I think the question is a very good one here. We need more data. We do not need more data, but what do we need? Let me point out the key issue is geography. At what level of geographic detail are those data available? At the national level, that is not the issue. If you want to know what is going on within your state, that is not the issue either. The issue is local. For your specific zip code, that is where the issue is, geography. Specific geographic data is needed to resolve a specific issue there.

J. Symoun:
Okay. Thank you. Another comment for discussion also. I will give you both a chance to comment on it. How some projects "got" useful data, and how others resulted in unusable survey results. Kitty, it did anything come out of the conference to that degree? Is there something like a best practices exchange on that?

K. Hancock:
The feeling that I got from the attendees and up from the comments that came and was, there was a need for best practices. Best practices do not necessarily mean, just capturing the best way to do something but also identified, I should say the state of the practice review, but also capturing what does not work. Which Pat should you not go down? We have shown that it is not an effective way to address an issue. Those were, again, issues that came up from the attendees. They want some guidance. It want to know what is happening, who is out there providing information? On are they doing it that the individual can use, not just a free-for-all search of, what do I do now?

J. Symoun:
Tianjia, any thoughts?

T. Tang:
It is a tricky issue. That is why we have a whole bunch of statisticians in this program. The key there is local agencies, whenever they conduct a survey, they have a specific issue in mind and the survey was trying to answer the question. a survey designed to answer a specific question. The large survey, such as the CFS, their scope is much more broad and generic. I think the key thing here is whenever we do some kind of survey, we must sort through this. Of course, the best practice, both ways, and it should be communicated within the practicing communities there.

J. Symoun:
Tianjia, I think the next question is for you. Can the feds provide a drilled down detailed version of the commodity flow survey? If it turns out very detailed CFS data can't be provided due to proprietary concerns, maybe some "synthetic generation" is the only answer.

T. Tang:
It is always very hard to synthesize data up. When you synthesize, you are building on a lot of assumptions. Four of our pilot project are geared towards developing synthesis method. We are trying to come up with some sort of methods to break down these larger demographic data into a much smaller aerial data. I think we are attempting to do it, but it is going to be a very tough job.

K. Hancock:
I just want to say that almost two years ago there was a Commodity Flow Survey Conference up in the Boston that addressed some of these issues. Because of that, because of the support of that conference and the attendees there, the census was able to increase the size of the 2007 s CFS as well as to start to address some of the non reporting issues that showed up in the previous CFS. Although it will not be great, and I deal as we would like the 2007 to be, it will be better than the 2003. There will be more information. It will not be down to the specific county level where the levels that I know the locals and some of the regionals would like.

J. Symoun:
Thanks, Kitty. Kitty, I think for the next question we will start with you. If truckers have to maintain log books by law, why don't we just use that to track the movement of goods?

K. Hancock:
If we could get hold of that data, that would be fabulous. Unfortunately, yes, they are required to maintain those logbooks. Also, within that confidentiality, because the truckers, when they will quit some of these issues, they are also strongly, I am not sure how to put it. The public cannot get a hold of that information, at least right now. The public, I mean the public sector as well as other individuals that want to acquire it.

J. Symoun:
Okay. Let me see here. I have another question. Actually, another comment for discussion. Tianjia, I will pose it to you and get your thoughts. Some MPOs and states might be able to do "good enough" by simply using the FAF trip tables in their full-region assignments--perhaps with some form of simple disaggregation of the matrices to a smaller zone structure. What are your thoughts on that?

T. Tang:
Well with regard to the framework right now, the table is not detailed enough. Those tables are at large county level geography. For local people to use it, it is too rough. They can use it as a reference, but that cannot be substituted for what the local folks need to do there which is to develop local data.

J. Symoun:
Okay. The next question, and I will post this to both of you, the question is, have any of the states been successful in creating durable, informative working relationships with the freight industry? If so, what were the methods used? Do either one of you know of any states that have been successful?

K. Hancock:
I do not know any at the statewide level do know some MPOs that have been very successful. I cannot off the top of my head tell you which ones they are. I know there are a couple in California. My understanding is Chicago has added pretty well established relationship with part of the industry up there. The smaller locales, actually have an easier issue of it. They generally know, at least the freight providers that are within their jurisdiction, they know them well. Usually, it is pretty easy to get those providers to understand the benefits themselves, because they want improvements put the best way to do it is on the local jurisdiction. A lot of the smaller communities actually do have a working relationship ago as I said, please take what. They take nurturing. They take the ability to work with the private industry, someone on their terms. They are free market is very different from the public sectors of framework.

J. Symoun:
Tianjia, any thoughts?

T. Tang:
We are collecting the information through private carriers. They will be in public domain. We think that is a very successful endeavor from a national perspective. As Kitty said, that is one of the toughest thing we are facing, how to get them to share that information with us.

J. Symoun:
The next question, Kitty, and will start with you, what efforts are being made to get data from the other modes besides trucks? In relation to that, someone asked where rail is in this?

K. Hancock:
The rail data has been there for a very long time. They collect the waybill sample. That piece of it has been a very effectively used and modeling. You have some of the it from consulting firms that do just that. Now, integrating it across and intermodal model, the actually does at. It pulls the way bill data into an intermodal model. There is a lot of multiple modes of freight flow. The part that is a little more challenging is when it goes up from track to Rail to trap to capture that entire trip or when it goes, because the reporters of that information to not necessarily view it as intermodal to the. It is sometimes difficult to capture.

J. Symoun:
Okay. Thank you. Tianjia?

T. Tang:
Kitty is right. Is a multi modal program. All of the programs we are talking about are multi modal in nature. They are multi modal in nature.

J. Symoun:
Okay. Before we go to the telephone line for questions, I did just type that all presentations will be posted to the Freight Planning Web site along with the recording. I will send out an e-mail once they become available. If you did not register in advance, you can type your e-mail into the chat area. You can also send me an e-mail with your contact information if you do not want to share it with everyone.

I have another question. Other than what is in the Quick Response Freight Forecasting Manual, is there any sort of truck trip rate generation model, similar to the ITE manual? I will let either one of you jump in.

K. Hancock:
Think about right now, the track chip lead generation, but most of them are based on [indiscernible]. They do have those kinds of stuff. Most of them are local truck test generation rates. From a national standpoint, freight models are the only sources that I am aware of.

J. Symoun:
Okay. A question. Are the presentations that were given at the freight demand modeling conference going to be available on the Web site?

K. Hancock:
Some of them are available on the TRB web site. The first day has audio as well as the PowerPoints. You can actually step through them. The proceedings are just going for review almost as we speak. They will have to go through the formal National Academy review process. It will probably be another couple of months before the proceedings are published.

J. Symoun:
Okay. Is there a specific place on the TRB website that they should look for?

K. Hancock:
I knew you were going to ask me that. Let me see if I can find it.

T. Tang:
They can also get them on the FMIP Web site. There is a link on there.

J. Symoun:
That might be the best way. There is a link about the conference. We do not have any more questions in the chat area. We will open up the telephone line and see if there are any. Operator, if you can give us instructions.

Thank you. At this time we will conduct the question and answer session. If you'd like to ask a question please press star 1 on your telephone. To withdraw your question please press star 2. To ask a question please press star 1. One moment please. First question comes from Howard Mann. Mr. Mann your line is open.

Howard Mann:
Currently with the CFS, it does not go down to the county level, will that data become available

K. Hancock:
There is not enough data to represent it at that level. Because the Census is a partner in this collection activity, they have very, very strict rules on what can be released. With the new 2007 CFS, they have gone through a process that will reduce the number of cells that are non responsive. You are just not going to be able to see it at the level that most local agencies and regional planning need. I will let Tianjia talk about what they had done what [indiscernible]. They have some of the data. I will let him talk about that.

T. Tang:
Well, with the CFS data, there are two types of reports. The first one is a business secret. The second one is a statistical. With the 07 CFS, certain data will still be missing. However, for statistical reason, they think they can release those numbers. We know that those numbers are not statistically reliable, according to their standards.

When we are working on the program, we used what we call a log linear matrix method to model those numbers there. If you want to know a specific mathematical algorithm there, it is posted on the Federal Highway website, if you go to the freight office there, you will be able to find exactly how the procedure is being done.

Once again if you would like to ask a question you can press star 1. One moment please. I currently have no questions on the audio portion.

J. Symoun:
Okay. Thank you. There was one more question typed in. I think this is for you, Tianjia. The question says that I am impressed with FAF. Can real-time travel time and reliabilities info be available similar to

T. Tang:
We are still some distance away from that. We will be able to provide historical time suggested by season or monthly or even weekly travel time on reliability information on at the website. We are still some steps away from real time.

J. Symoun:
Okay. Thank you. I do not see any additional questions typed and. With that, we will go ahead and close out for the day. Again, if you do think of additional questions, I encourage you to e-mail the presenters or pose the questions through the Freight Planning LISTSERV. Thank you to Kitty and Tianjia and thank you everyone for attending today.

The recorded version of this event will be available within the next week on the Talking Freight website.

The next seminar will be held on March 21 and is titled "Rail Issues and Solutions: The Challenges of Getting More Freight on Rail and Away from the Road." If you haven't done so already, I encourage you to visit the Talking Freight Web Site and sign up for this seminar. Please note that there is a new web address for Talking Freight registration. This address is up on the slide on your screen. I also encourage you to join the Freight Planning LISTSERV if you have not already done so.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

Updated: 3/29/2011
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