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Talking Freight Transcript

Integrating Sustainability Analysis into Freight Transportation Projects and Programs

September 19, 2012


Jennifer Symoun

Good afternoon or good morning to those of you in 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 Integrating Sustainability Analysis into Freight Transportation Projects and Programs.

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

Before we get started on today's seminar I wanted to announce the US Department of Transportation launch of two National On-Line Dialogues focused on MAP-21 Implementation - one dialogue is on Transportation Performance Measures and the other is on Freight Policy. The links to these dialogues are on the slide on your screen. These virtual sessions provide stakeholders with an opportunity to provide insights about priorities and implementation strategies for the on two issues and will be open from September 13 to 23, 2012. These Online Dialogues are free and open to all and will be accessible 24/7 so that you can easily log on from home. You will have the opportunity to submit, comment on and rate ideas interactively with colleagues from across the country, creating a national exchange of ideas, suggestions and strategies for implementing these specific aspects of MAP-21.

Turning back to Talking Freight, today we'll have three presenters. Heather Holsinger of the FHWA Sustainable Transport & Climate Change Team, Alan Lewis of Transport & Travel Research Ltd, and Matthew Payne of the US Environmental Protection Agency

Heather Holsinger is an Environmental Specialist with the Sustainable Transport and Climate Change Team in FHWA's Office of Natural Environment. Her work at FHWA involves policy development and analysis in the areas of sustainability and climate change. Prior to joining FHWA, Heather served as a Senior Policy Fellow and Program Manager for Adaptation at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, a Senior Analyst with the Natural Resources and Environment team at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), and as an economic and environmental management consultant.

Dr. Alan Lewis is a Director of UK Transport Consultancy, Transport & Travel Research Ltd.

Alan has spent much of his 20-year career bridging the gap between public authorities and operators on freight issues, including the UK Department for Transport's Freight Best Practice program and developing the ECO Stars fleet recognition scheme which rewards and encourages fleet operators to take responsibility for, and reduce, their environmental impact. Alan is representing the Carbon Footprint of Freight Transport (COFRET) project, for which he is responsible for external relations. COFRET is a collaborative R&D project part-funded by the European Commission which aims to develop and test a harmonized methodology for the calculation of the carbon footprint of transport and logistics along the full supply chain for application in a global context.

Matt Payne has worked at the US EPA for the past 22 years. He founded the SmartWay Transport Partnership in 2001, and is the architect of the SmartWay program structure, tools and database.

Today's seminar will last 90 minutes, with 60 minutes allocated for the speakers, and the final 30 minutes for audience Question and Answer. If during the presentations you think of a question, you can type it into the chat area. Please make sure you send your question to 'Everyone' and indicate which presenter your question is for. Presenters will be unable to answer your questions during their presentations, but I will start off the question and answer session with the questions typed into the chat box. If we run out of time and are unable to address all questions we will attempt to get written responses from the presenters to the unanswered questions.

The PowerPoint presentations used during the seminar are available for download from the file download box in the lower right corner of your screen. The presentations will also be available online within the next few weeks, along with a recording and a transcript. I will notify all attendees once these materials are posted online.

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

We're now going to go ahead and get started. Today's topic, for those of you who just joined us, is Integrating Sustainability Analysis into Freight Transportation Projects and Programs. As a reminder, if you have questions during the presentation please type them into the chat box and they will be answered in the last 30 minutes of the seminar. Our first presenter will be Heather Holsinger of the FHWA Sustainable Transport & Climate Change Team.

Heather Holsinger

Thank you, Jennifer. I'm excited about the opportunity to participate in the webinar, and I know we don't have a lot of time. We have a lot of great information and I will jump right in. I will be talking a little bit about giving an overview of sustainability from the Federal Highway Administration perspective and spend most of the time talking about a new sustainability tool called INVEST which will include information on integrating sustainability into freight issues.

First off, I wanted to talk a little about what a sustainable highway system is. And a lot of you are probably familiar with the Venn diagram to the right, which includes consideration of social, environmental and economic concerns and an integration of those three elements. We at Federal Highways believe that sustainability is an integral part of sustainable development, and a sustainable highway system must satisfy functional requirements such as transportation goals and needs the agency has, while at the same time addressing developmental and economic growth and reducing impacts on the environment and consumption of natural resources.

So, at FHWA, we spent some time discussing what sustainability means to us. What it really comes down to is action. And we really want to stress implementation of sustainable practices and find ways to deliver the federal aid and federal lands highway programs in a more sustainable way. That means working with state departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations, as well as federal agencies involved in managing federal lands. We work with them closely on transportation issues on federal lands and help them to make wise investment decisions with increasingly limited resources - both financial and natural resources. And encouraging changes in professional practice and including sustainability throughout the decision-making process.

We also like to stress that we would like to go beyond just complying with existing regulations and finding ways to go above and beyond that. And going back to the triple bottom line, this is a green initiative, but it's also more than that, it's about the social and economic concerns as well and we have to stress that aspect.

We have a new initiative called the Sustainable Highways Initiative. It's relatively new. The goal is to promote coordination within federal highways and with other federal highway initiatives. There is a lot going on throughout the agency related to sustainability. So we're hoping to provide a forum to showcase a lot of the activities in one place.

We're also interested in strengthening engagement with the D.O.T.'s and M.P.O.'s that I mentioned before, our stakeholders and in coordinating with other partners in sustainability efforts, including organizations such as ASCE, ACEC - lots of acronyms here - AASHTO, AMPO, and all that we work with on a federal basis and other federal agencies such as FTA and EPA. We have a new website that we are hoping will be a portal to access this information out there on activities and resources available, including case studies to highlight sustainable practices. You can see the website there on the slide. I encourage everyone to take a look. It's a work in progress, and we're working to populate it further and we invite recommendations and suggestions of things we should be including there.

One of the major goals of our initiative is to develop tools that we can distribute to our stakeholders for use in incorporating sustainability into their efforts. One of the tools is a new tool called INVEST. That is what I will spend most of the time talking about. INVEST stands for Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool. It's a web-based self-evaluation tool, and we have to make sure we say voluntary as many times as possible because it's a voluntary system that is not required of our stakeholders. It's an exciting tool that folks can use to assess sustainability over the life cycle of a transportation project or program. That means starting from system planning and project planning all the way through design and construction and operations and maintenance.

To make sure we incorporate sustainability into all of the elements of the entire transportation planning process, we broke up the tool into three modules. The first is on project development. The focus there is on specific projects, specific transportation projects. The second module, system planning, is really focused on agency-wide management and planning of highway networks. The final and third module is operations and maintenance, which focuses on operations and maintenance policies and procedures for maintaining a highway network.

The overall goals of INVEST are to encourage implementation of sustainable practices and help agencies assess levels of sustainability and identify areas for internal improvement. So, originally the idea was to develop a tool similar to a LEED-type tool for sustainability evaluation, and it's structured similarly to that tool.

One of the big differences, however, is that this is a voluntary self-assessment tool with no third party evaluation. It's also free of charge for folks to use either to assess their programs and projects or to just look through it and get some ideas and not go through the process of actually evaluating something. You can evaluate a single project or multiple projects. And you can take a look at a project prospectively before getting started or retrospectively to see how your project faired and identify ways to make improvements.

You can also take a look at planning for O&M programs and processes. One of the really exciting things about this tool is that it provides an exciting framework for communicating with stakeholders and decision makers about sustainability and it also establishes a method for identifying best practices. There are a number of best practice contained within the tool.

I wanted to mention a little about the evolution of INVEST. We started working on it in the fall of 2010, and we released a beta version of that tool at that time. We put it to the public for comments and got a lot from AASHTO, EPA and from subject matter experts as well. We developed a pilot test version from that. As you can imagine, the goal was to actually test out the tool formally. That was released in the fall of 2011, and we received, I think, probably close to a couple thousand comments from the pilot test participants and the public and other experts.

The last few months, we have taken all of the feedback that we have gotten through the pilot test version process and incorporated those into version 1.0, which we expect to release next month, actually, October 10th, 2012.

I wanted to talk more about the pilot testing of the tool because we received so much great feedback from the folks that took a look at the tool and went through it and assessed it. We were looking for information on further refinements to the criteria within the tool, so the actual sustainability elements and how we were actually calibrating the tool to score folks on sustainability. We also wanted feedback on how the tool functions as an online evaluation tool because we wanted to make the tool as easy as possible for folks to use. And the process that the agencies went through to test the tool varies quite a bit, but I wanted to show you all where those folks were coming from in testing the tool.

So, as you can see, we had good diversity in terms of the folks looking at the different elements of the tool. We tested the different modules separately, so the folks in the orange took a look at the project development, or PD, criteria. We had a total of 17 projects that were assessed by 11 different agencies. The system planning criteria were assessed by the folks that you can see in dark blue. We had a total of four metropolitan planning organizations and three departments of transportation that took a look at the tool and assessed it for us. Finally, the operations and maintenance criteria were tested by the folks in the light blue in the southwest - Arizona and Nevada. The one other unique state that I wanted to point out was Minnesota. They took a look at the beta test version and the pilot test version of the tool. They looked at all three modules and gave us really good feedback on the tool.

It is exciting that we have gotten such a great diverse set of folks testing it. The tool itself, we hope, will be useful and usable by folks across the country. It was important to get everyone's feedback.

And, just to give a sense of what it might be like to use the tool, I wanted to highlight a couple of the pilot test projects. One of those is done by TAMC and it was taking a look at a route, the 156th West Corridor realignment. This is a realignment and a project in progress. The environmental document was submitted. The agency wanted to look at what they were planning to do to assess the current project standard and design specifications. And they scored pretty good. They scored a gold. But they identified a lot of areas where they can make additional progress to get them to a higher score such as platinum. And the feedback they gave to us at this evaluation was going to influence some of the decisions that they're making going forward on the tool. And they're going to go back and evaluate the tool again during design and construction.

The other pilot testers included folks at the Arizona DOT looked at the system planning criteria and they used their long-range transportation plan. They looked at that plan to see how sustainable it was and looking at the various system planning criteria. And they felt that they scored pretty good on the financial sustainability side, but there was a little bit more progress that could be made on other areas, particularly where they interacted with the MPO and there is a relationship there that they have to work with MPOs on. So, some of the issues included freight, air quality, energy, congestion and infrastructure resiliency. They, of course, gave us good feedback to the changes we need to make to the tool, as did all of the pilot testers.

We learned a lot. Overall, agencies were supportive and enthusiastic about INVEST. They felt the programmatic application was most useful in many cases. They gave us good technical and contextual changes that we have at this point integrated into the new version. They gave us some suggestions that they would like to see going forward like more information about sustainable practices and some additional guidance for using the tool.

And now, I'm going to talk about some of the changes for INVEST 1.0, the new version coming out in October. We made a lot of changes to the criteria contained within the three modules of the tool, in particular, with regard to the product development criteria. There were concerns that some of the projects in more rural areas - a lot of the criteria used didn't apply to the particular projects. So, we actually allowed for more score cards now so folks can customize the tool to their situation and their projects. We're getting more opportunity for partial credit because in some cases, someone would not score very well because they were doing something that was not quite on the score card and now we have the opportunity to get partial credit. And we're putting more emphasis on the process of sitting down and talking through the tool and using the tool versus the actual score.

Additional changes on the interface are on this slide. You can see what the tool looks like online. We made some improvements on the interface clarifying some sustainability linkages that you can see there in the diagram in the middle of the page. And, we also allowed for scoring notes so when you're going to the tool and you can indicate why you're giving yourself a score and refer back to that later. And again, providing opportunity to provide notes and upload documents that you can see on the right-hand side of the slide. You can provide justification for why you scored yourself the way you did.

We also added a workspace. Prior to this version, you were not able to do any collaboration or work on, you know, separate projects at one time and this allows for that now.

So I wanted to quickly go through some of the criteria that are in the version 1.0. We have a total of 29 criteria for this project development module. I wanted to call your attention to PD-13, which is freight mobility. I will come back to that in a second and talk more about that. As you can see, it goes all the way through recycling materials and long-life pavement design, construction noise mitigation and construction control.

Back to PD-13 freight mobility. Essentially, each of those criteria looks like this: It includes a goal and this is to enhance the freight movements, decrease fuel consumption and emissions and reduce freight related noise. There are a certain number of points you can get for the various activities you might be conducting. In this case, you can get 1-7 points within the freight mobility criteria. Here are some of the examples. I don't think I have time to go through each of them. For example, you can get 1 point for a no idling policy and signage. Two points for safety improvements for freight. And additional points for things like automated weigh-in motion stations, virtual motion stations, and construction or converting an existing traffic lane to a truck-only lane. You can get five points for that at the bottom.

Skipping over to the system planning criteria, there are a total of 17 within that module and it ranges from integrated planning through safety planning and air quality, energy and fuels. And in this case, I want to call your attention to SP-8, which are freight and goods movements. As you can see here again, the setup is similar to the project development criteria where there is a goal and the points that are available and the requirements for getting those points.

So in this case, you can get a total of 15 points. Two points for engaging stakeholders, four points for freight mobility needs, if you do the items listed. And then, continuing on, you can get four points for freight reliability and four points for intermodal freight connectors.

And here are the criteria for operations and maintenance. Everything from internal sustainability plan through bridge management systems and a work zone traffic control. The next steps, as I mentioned, INVEST 1.0 will be released on October 10th. Anyone who is interested, we'll be having a webinar to release, a virtual webinar releasing the tool. If you're interested, please contact me and I can get you the invitation for that. We're also planning the deployment of the tool going forward over the next year or so. We're hoping to get additional folks to try the tool and use it. We're working on developing those toolkits to help make it easier for folks to use the tool. Of course, we'll be monitoring the performance and impact of INVEST 1.0. And hopefully as the field of sustainability evolves, we'll be able to make changes to the tool going to 2.0 and beyond.

So thank you very much. And here's the contact information for myself and the other members of my team. is the website for the tool itself. You are welcome to take a look and the website underneath that is the website for the sustainable highways initiative. That is it, Jennifer. Thanks.

Jennifer Symoun

Thank you, Heather. Our next presentation will be given by Alan Lewis of Transport & Travel Research Ltd.

Alan, you can go ahead when you're ready.

Alan Lewis

So it's great to be able to join everybody today. I am going to be talking about a project called the COFRET project which is basically around the carbon footprint of freight transport.

The structure of the presentation: a brief introduction followed by the approach of the project; our first stages, which were a review of the existing status of carbon footprinting within freight transport; and, a little bit on the methodology that we're developing and then our next steps.

So, COFRET is primarily funded by the European Union and it's a defined length project of research and demonstration and it's being performed by a consortium of 14 different organizations. We're all putting in a little bit of funding as well to help it along.

The scope of COFRET covers four items. It's clearly around the transport element of the carbon footprint within supply chains. It's looking to use available methods wherever possible and then provide solutions for where the gaps are in what is available to come up with a first draft of the best methodology for carbon footprinting in freight transport. We aim to look at all modes and also the logistics operations within the supply chain. And, very important for us, the European standards body CEN is in the process of publishing a standard for this, which is going to be applicable in Europe. So, we need to make sure we're in line with that. But also CEN has already made moves to the international standards organization to promote this as maybe working towards a global standard in time.

So, COFRET's objectives: to establish a complete greenhouse gas emission calculation methodology for supply chains. Again, covering all shipments and supply chain level, but suitable for aggregation. We're looking to provide something which is flexible across different supply chain configurations so that you can compare different alternative modes for transport say from the Far East to Europe, whether it's air freight or sea-freight or alternatives. And key to us is to make sure that this is embedded so that the transport operators actually use this. It's not meant to be a research study, which then sits on the shelf. That is something that is very important to us.

So the stages of our project and approach: review the existing situation so we know what approaches to methodology are out there, what tools are there and what the users want from the source of this. Then work with those existing initiatives, review what best practices and where the gaps are and then look to involve a lot of key industry stakeholders in our work so that we produce comprehensive methodology that can then be used in practice.

The method involves splitting out supply chains into specific elements, and I will come back to that later, with the intent to test the methodology with some of these industry stakeholders in real supply chain applications during 2013. And then we also need to emphasize the use of actual data by transport companies. Those who have real data about kilometers travelled or fuel used rather than estimates or proxy data.

Here's a schematic of the project setup, if that helps. I'm not going go through that now. As part of our review, in the early stages, we found that there are a lot of high level methods and initiatives that we need to make sure that we are in line with, such as the greenhouse gas protocol, ISO standards, and the new European standards. But they tend to be at a high level and still leave a lot of flexibility for the approach that is taken in detail.

So, within the existing tools that are out there, which can still comply with those three at the top, those differences in what greenhouse gases take into account or what supply chain elements are there, which modes, and also what data is used if any, actually. What we found is that there is a real need for a neutral approach, which isn't predicated on any particular mode and it gives transparency as to the calculation methods and points users to the best available data if the transports operate contacts as their own.

We started out with a detailed review of the three elements, and I will go through those now. Firstly, a detailed review of existing methodologies and calculation tools that are available. Maybe both publicly or which are used in-house by major transport operators and also databases of emissions factors. We assessed those against various criteria in some detail in order to get a feel for what the best practice elements are, what elements of flexibility there were, details of coverage, etc., so we know what the market is already working with.

We then spent a lot of time working with shippers and transport companies conducting in-depth interviews about what they're currently doing, what they have been developing in-house and what systems they have had to purchase, and also getting a feel for what the pressures are on them from their customers, clients, or national regulators. This was a wide range of stakeholders and finished off with a stakeholder workshop, which was really valuable. It really showed in detail what the current problems are.

And finally, we made sure to look at what future technologies are coming into the freight transport system, which we're going to need to take account of within the methodology and also the use of that. Something that is particularly important here is actually electronic transfer of information along supply chains. That firm is really important to try to imbed environmental information along with information about weights of consignments, pricings, et cetera as shipments transfer from one operator to another in a multimodal supply chain. This is something that is a big issue for the European commission at the moment.

What this review gives us is a very detailed date and knowledge base of what is going on in the market in this area. It shows a wide variability in the methodologies that are being used. A huge number of different tools that different transport operators are using and that in itself was a problem. Each operator tends to have their own data and effectively a black box tool. So that if a shipper wants to purchase transports from a particular company, but gets quotes from two or three, it gets a cost quote and then the carbon footprint or carbon emissions for the supplies, they have no idea as to whether they're comparable directly or not on the same basis.

So we looked at the most relevant methods and prioritized them. We clarified in some detail the user needs and thus emphasized the need for harmonization and transparency. And we have really used this to confirm and engage the European commission that the objectives that they started and funded COFRET for are relevant and that is emphasized back to them more than when they started. It's also, I think, highlighted the global issue of this because so much freight transport is done on the global level.

Four main user needs were identified. Increase energy efficiency, which basically means cut fuel use and cut costs, which are really important at the moment. Giving operators the opportunity to control the way that they address these issues and to interact with the subcontractors. To answer the customer's questions for a transport operator, that could be the questions of the shipper who purchased the transport operations and if the shipper is required to produce a carbon footprint for an individual product, then they need to understand the transport elements as well as manufacturing, et cetera, within that. And also, it gives the opportunity to assess the use of different modal chains when transporting freight from one location to another. So comparing, say, road and rail for a particular journey.

In terms of a graphical presentation, basically customer requirements are a pressure on this system. You've got the company requirements internally and also something which is coming to the fore, and is being led by the French government, is political requirements because the French government is in the process of introducing mandatory reporting of CO2 for any transport, whether it's personal transport being provided by a bus company or whether it's commercial transport. That needs to be recorded and just in the same way as costs are on invoices and quotes to provide services. We wonder whether this is going to come to the national administrations in the future.

I covered some of this already, but the weaknesses of the existing situation include many different tools. Often they focus on one particular transport mode, particularly road transport because that makes up so much of the market. Particularly, on a European level. But that doesn't really help when we're dealing with global supply chains. Differences in calculations methods lead to irreconcilable results which misses interfacing needed between transport companies and either their subcontractors or other organizations within the supply chain.

Lack of primary data: many transport companies don't seem to be able to identify with accuracy the fuel use or the kilometers travelled for specific journeys meaning that default data is often used, which leads to inaccuracy and this lack of comparability is compounded. So, taken together, this emphasizes the need for the global methodology.

Our approach beyond that is to work with the existing initiatives and that is something that, again, I will emphasize later on. We need to define appropriate supply chain elements within a longer supply chain and also review how to handle the issue of data. It is important to emphasize that we are producing a methodology and we'll have a tool to do this and calculate things as part of our case studies. But it's not our intention to produce some form of freeware calculation tool. We're intending that the methodology is made available effectively freely for organizations to use in their own systems or indeed for software companies to pick up and then to provide. That is because we're funded by public money and that is part of the deal.

In formulating the methodology, having started with over 100 things we reviewed, we selected 36 and went through a much more detailed review process and identified about half of these, particularly some of the methodologies and calculation tools, which give us the best options for different modes as part of the overall process that we're pulling together. And that is really what we're working with.

So, the way that we apply this within a supply chain is a question of identifying what different elements are and then, for each of the transport elements, calculate the carbon footprint for each element, add those together and similarly for any of the emissions with different types of terminal, multimodal terminals, warehouses, et cetera, so that you come together within with an overall supply chain calculation. For the transport elements, the way it's been approached and the way that our user stakeholders have asked us is very much on a modal basis. And the research that we have done identified that that as perfectly possible.

Terminals cause more of a problem because there seems to be less reliable data available, certainly in the public domain. So, the way that we'll approach terminals, certainly in the short-term, is to allow calculations either on a full terminal basis, if that is the level of data that is available, or if an operator is able to break it down into which of the sub-supply chain elements are in place at a particular terminal, then they can select those and work from the energy use or fuel use associated with each one to give a more accurate figure.

I'm not intending to go through what is a relatively complicated flow diagram in detail. I think the important thing is to note that supply chain elements are identified as to what's present and then we ask the user, do they have detailed information about the distance travelled and the energy use for that supply chain. And if they do, they basically stay in the green bounds because that is basing the calculation on as accurate data as possible so that the first supply chain element may well be green. You go around the chain, you then say the next one also green and then if you get to a third supply chain element where data isn't actually available and they rely on proxy data, then that gets a lower level of accuracy within the overall calculation. So, at the moment, we're in the process of finalizing our methodology. Certainly, we're in our first draft. And we're then going to consult with the stakeholders. Inevitably, that will mean there will be iteration over the next six to 12 months both as we talk to them and also as we then do our case studies.

We have very strong links to transport organizations, but also some representative organizations, including the World Economic Forum, who were in the process of doing this activity already with something called the consignment carbon initiative. And, what we have been able to do is to provide our information to them, which I think has been a great help. At the same time, they have been able to spread our information to their participants.

Green Freight Europe is a road freight network based in Europe, which follows a similar model to the SmartWay initiative in the States. It's relatively new, but has a lot of momentum. Again, they're part of our stakeholder group. And finally, making sure that, as I said, we're aligned with the standards body in Europe.

The full advisory board, obviously, is of a European basis given our origins. But at the same time, we have some very important international players on there, like World Economic Forum, World Wide Fund for Nature to give an NGO perspective, especially since they're heavily involved in the maritime sector and sustainability in that area. And similarly, we have representatives from different modes so they're maritime transports, obviously IATA also for aviation, and of the others, we have people like Deutsche Bahn, et cetera. We feel that we've got most bases covered in that respect. The next meeting of the advisory board is actually next week, which will be very important for us to ensure our stakeholders are on board with what we're doing.

The COFRET web site is something that I would encourage everyone to maybe have a look at. And if anyone is interested in getting in touch about any of the particular elements of the project, I have also provided some contact details for those so you can go direct to those who are involved. I realize that has probably been quite a quick tour of a lot of information, but more than happy to take comments either here or subsequently by e-mail.

Jennifer Symoun

Thank you very much, Alan. Again, we will go into questions for Alan after the last presentation completed. You can download his presentation from the box in the lower right corner of the screen. Our final presentation will be given by Matthew Payne of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). You can go ahead when you're ready.

Matthew Payne

Thank you very much, glad to present here. I'll start off with a basic review of SmartWay. Some of the people on the phone probably know it. For those that don't, I'll give a brief introduction: SmartWay was launched in 2004, development started in 2001 and proceeded through 2003. It is a voluntary partnership between the U.S. freight industry and the EPA.

In terms of development, we had a lot of stakeholder input from the American Trucking Association, business for social responsibility, a number of organizations back in 2001-2003 prior to the launch. Since 2004, we now have over 3,000 companies in the program. SmartWay is essentially a program that collects data from carriers, provides it in a format for shippers to use to calculate the carbon, NOx or PM footprint for freight transportation, but only land-based at this point.

The goals for SmartWay, from the environmental standpoint, are reduction of CO2, NOx and PM emissions. A good by-product of that is it saves millions of gallons fuel when you make those CO2 reductions. And, of course, for the private industry members who participate for every gallon of diesel that you save through efficiency, you're saving money. So, it's a win-win-win for all parties involved: EPA gets environmental reductions, national security is improved by reduction in importation of foreign fuel, and, of course, companies get to meet their needs such as carbon footprint, carbon inventory reporting, as well as really looking at ways to make their operations more efficient.

The question is how does SmartWay accomplish these goals? We look to provide the freight transportation industry with additional information they can use to make informed decisions. As we all know, markets function perfectly when there is perfect information. There is no such thing as perfect information, so SmartWay is trying to step in and provide as much information as possible to make those informed decisions. In doing so, we wanted to do this in a standardized system of data collection and calculation because what we heard from our stakeholders early on was that there was a plethora of different ways to calculate this - ranging from mini calculators on web sites to different standards that maybe one or two companies were using.

There is a big need for a standardized system. We stepped in as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a federal agency here in the United States. We have been able to provide that standardized system. It's a market-based system, meaning there are incentives for all who participate. For shippers, they are very interested in using the SmartWay logo, a mark of clean transporting. It's important to them and to a percentage of their customers interested in how green the people that they shop with or do business with are. And also, it allows them to meet government requirements, especially the multinational corporations that we have who have been interested in CO2 footprints and are looking at ways to reduce CO2.

For freight companies and transportation providers, they get essentially what I will show to be a benchmarking system and we have helped them find ways to investigate new technologies and new efficiencies throughout their participation in the program. We accomplish all of this by providing calculation tools and data management systems, and online support for those members.

And, of course, when you look at this U.S.-based pie chart here, if you're looking at supply chain goods movement for CO2, you will note that, at least here in the United States, the medium to heavy duty trucks are the biggest portion. You have aircraft responsible as well as ships and rail, et cetera, and of those heavy trucks, you can see the break out. This is a significant portion of the total U.S. CO2 pie and so freight was identified as something that could be addressed.

Also, when you're looking at CO2 reduction, you have regulatory programs that can improve fuel efficiency of vehicles. The EPA has done a little maintenance on light duty and heavy-duty vehicles to improve the fuel efficiency of the vehicles.

SmartWay has a multitude of components and the basic building blocks are the carrier data collection tools. We currently have tools for the trucking industry, logistics, the rail industry, and a multimodal suite which covers the multimodal companies which use rail and truck to deliver their freight. These have all been industry impacted and pier reviewed and they collect actual data as reported by the companies in terms of gallons, volumes, payload volume, information about the vehicle class and model year, that goes into the NOx-PM calculations as well as operational characteristics.

In addition to reporting the data, they report where the data comes from. For example, they need to report that if they're reporting to DOT or to other things at the IRS, we ask if those are the same data sources that they use for those government agencies. Each tool also has a little disclaimer at the beginning that serves as a reminder that it's illegal to submit false information to the U.S. government, and there are penalties for doing so.

Also built into the tools, we have places where the partner will fill out the data and then essentially the tool checks it against a range of previous results that we have seen that has been put into distribution curves and segmented into what we call red and yellow alerts. If the data is out of range or unusual, they will get a red alert that they will be asked to address and explain why it's out of range. If it's yellow, there will be caution as to the data not fitting into the mid-range. So, we have taken a lot to address data quality issues, and we will continue to do that as we move forward.

The shipper tool serves as the clearing house for the data that we collect in the carrier tools. I will go into this in more detail later on, but suffice it to say, all of the data put into the carrier tools goes into our database and select pieces go to our web site. Then that information is pulled into the shipper tool such that shippers are able to calculate the carbon footprint for CO2, NOx, PM 2.5 and PM 10. There is a multitude of ways that the shipper tool can be used to look at different components, such as domestic versus international inbound, outbound, or internal freight or if they can break that down into specific product lines.

All of this is made possible by the SmartWay database. Every piece of information we collect in the SmartWay tool is put into the database, and this allows us quite a bit of number crunching ability when we start looking at benchmarks. Of course, there is a SmartWay web site. that contains a downloadable version of all of the tools and we have a user guide and technical documentation as well. We have done webinars, et cetera, and those are on the web site.

Starting in 2013 for the truck tool, we're going to have links embedded in the tools which will go into tutorials on our web site. where a person filling out the tool can click on the video link and it will take them to a demonstration of how to fill out the tool. The truck tool has been around since about 2004 and went through a major redesign in this timeframe. It's had a lot of use, we have had a lot of stakeholder feedback from the industry users and the people who we have running and collecting the data and in terms of ease of use and ways to get better quality data.

We currently are producing or calculating eight separate emission metrics in the SmartWay program and those are for the CO2, NOx, PM 10 and PM 2.5. We're currently outputting those in terms of grams per mile and grams per ton mile. We collect information to produce a grams per volume mile metric, but we won't need to put that data out there until we get the marine and air freight components online. Graphs of those have been developed and we're going to be phasing those in here in the future. I don't have a timeline, but the intent is to cover all modes of the supply chain.

So, in terms of how this actually works and getting the data, this will look at the trucking sector. We have developed a number of trucking categories. When a user fills out the tool, they have to define an operational characteristic and equipment characteristic and essentially those companies are put into that category such that we can compare them against each other. If you look at the red box on the screen, you will see that this is TL or truck lead operation for dry van chassis. For those companies that predominantly operate dry van chassis truck load, they can be compared against each other. I should mention this is not only necessarily on a partner basis, but on a float basis. If a large company like Swift Transportation has a truckload dry van operation, they may also have a reefer operation and a flatbed operation. This allows us to compare similar fleets better. Again, this is used for benchmarking.

You can see we have made the different intersections of the operational categories on the left-hand side and the equipment types on the top. For example, we put all of the reefers into the reefer category and developed gray into a single gray category based on the operational characteristic of how weighing considerations factor in. This allows us to do an apples-to-apples comparison and that makes it fair to provide a relative ranking of the different carrier performance.

So, we can essentially, for each partner or each individual fleet, produce a fleet performance method. If you look in the left-hand corner of the presentation here, you can see where a specific fleet will have a specific performance map. When we collect the data, we don't actually report the actual data that is given to us. We put the companies in a particular category, for example, all of the truck load dry van companies, into essentially a bucket and then we look at quintiles for the top 20% of performance and then the second 20%, the third 20%, et cetera. We provide the mid-point of the performance in there for all of the companies that fall into those five different buckets,

If you look at the middle one here, the middle 20% for truck load drive vans, we saw a range of 1700 to 1800 gallons per mile of CO2. The output of all companies that fell into that range would be 1750ic. There could be some that were 1701 versus 1799. We decided to break this down into these performance ranges for a number of reasons, the first of which is that the carriers were a little bit shy about putting out actual data. That calculated into certain competitive pieces of information they didn't want their competitors to know about and also, it really takes care of slight data discrepancies in terms of how people collect the data and how they report it, et cetera.

The diagram on the left-hand side there in this particular example - you can so that the company is in the first performance range or the top 20% for CO2 gram per ton mile. However, in terms of PM 2.5, they are in the bottom 20%. So this might be indicative of a fleet that operates a lot of older vehicles and operates them efficiently. Conversely, you may have a company who operates, you know, brand new 2010-2011-2012 trucks that have very low NOx and PM, but their CO2 can be high because they were not operated efficiently. So for each fleet, for all of those eight metrics, the partner will have a performance range and there will be a gram per mile and gram per ton mile associated with their performance. They are given the mid-rage data.

This is a bit of analysis that went into developing the emission factors. You can see at the bottom for each category you had information on CO2, NOx, PM 10, PM 2.5, a gram, gram per 10-mile, so, there is a lot of different categories and data points we're producing for the U.S. freight industry. We have 25 to 26 companies in the program reporting data. Essentially, we have all of the major trucking companies in the U.S. as participants, quite a few at the midrange, some of the smaller fleets, and even down to some owner-operators.

Basically, what we did if you look at the graph here, the middle left, we were able to graph a performance range for CO2 gram per mile and the truck load dry van carriers and determine the truck point that represented roughly the 20% increments. Then, we determined what the cup points were, established an equal delta between those cup points and we reported the mid-range. And this is just to decide the actual data, but given that previously we had modal averages going down to say a truckload dry van where you were, you know, 1650 plus or minus 50. This is a quantum leap in terms of accuracy for shippers looking to evaluate their truck carriers.

This diagram shows an example of two hypothetical fleets: alpha versus beta. They're both truck load dry van. In some cases, alpha may perform better than beta and other times beta might be better than alpha. So, a shipper needs to look at what they're interested in. Are they looking at CO2 comparisons? Or perhaps they have a float that operates in a congested urban area in which case they might be more interested in terms of PM or NOx effects. Smart way provides the eight emission metrics. It's up to the shipper to determine which they're going to use to evaluate their carriers.

This is a demonstration report that is on our web site. On the web site., it's interactive. You can pull up information on all of the SmartWay categories or broken down by category specific. This one shows truckload dry van. You can see the company and the division name of the company. You can see, the category is truckload dry van, the fleet type is for hire, and we can look at for hire versus private. They have stacked their motor carrier number information. And then you see where their CO2 gram per mile information is displayed, with the CO2, NOx, PM 10, et cetera.

If you click on this button, it sorts it from best performing to worst-performing, et cetera. You can do this for all of the different categories. This is all public information and this is not the company's actual information. It's the mid-point of the range information that is displayed. This is, I think from last year and this is not going to be up-to-date. The information will be different, but it's the same type of information.

In terms of the shipper information, all of the emission factors that you saw on that chart are accessible on the SmartWay web site. They pull the data from the web site. into the shipper tool. For each company that a shipper uses, we have the gram per mile and gram per ton mile information. The shipper then goes through and provides either mileage information or ton mileage information and then by multiplying the two, they will be able to build a carbon footprint based on the average performance of each of the carriers that they do. So, it will be carrier specific. Essentially, you can you get a total weighted efficiency for the shipper as well and they can look at how much they do by rail carriers versus truck carriers and by different types of truck carriers as well.

This is a demo from last year's shipper tool output screen. The new shipper tool is going to probably be released either Friday or early next week. Again, they're going to be able calculate their freight carbon footprint for the whole company. They can break that down to divisions or product lines and display by emission factors or mass emissions. They can look at inbound-outbound, U.S. vs. international, business units, I.D. codes or internal shipper segments and again, to further breakdown their information, they will have this composite weighed average and an average of truck versus rail.

We provide beginner tools for determining savings from shipper strategies such as weight reduction for taking miles out of the system. The SmartWay tool essentially creates a snapshot in time for the shipper, so it doesn't really capture, say, what would my emissions have been had I not done a strategy that I previously took to affect them. If you downsize your product packaging or your weight, that is something that can be calculated offline within the shipper tool - and the same thing for modal reductions.

Again, this snapshot is what the shipper used over a calendar year in terms of their annual emissions, total mass emissions and emissions rate. Again, this is another example of the shipper tool output screen. You can display the information for CO2, NOx and PM emissions. Again, it provides the shippers a way to evaluate different carriers so they can: one, move their freight with the most efficient mode; and two, once they're stuck within a mode, they can choose the most efficient carrier within the mode to move their freight.

As for the shippers, carriers can also use the information to benchmark their performance. Recently, we went live on the SmartWay web site. where we were putting up a number of graphs that are the product of data mining that we have done within our database. I am just showing a couple examples here. There will be many examples that will rotate through the SmartWay web site.

In this graph here on the upper left, this is MPG range, all smart way class B trucks for all fuel types. All of these small dots here represent data points, you can see there is about 2200 data points on the graph which represent all of those fleets that operate class B trucks and you can see the distribution in terms of MPG. The individual fleets are simply numbered here anonymously, so you can't associate a particular MPG with a particular fleet. But, what you can do, if you're a fleet that operates class B trucks, you know what your MPG is and you can see exactly where you would fall on this curve and whether you're here in the good performance range or maybe in the higher performance range. And we can actually break this down quite a bit and we can say MPG for all for hire truck load operations that operate class B diesel trucks, and same thing by average pay load, et cetera. This will provide the trucking industry in the USA the ability to benchmark themselves more than what they had in the past and we'll work to get more of this type of information out so that companies can benchmark themselves and, of course, if they're in the higher range, that will mark a signal to them that they need to improve in that particular category.

Of course, because we break the data down by categories, you don't have the excuse of saying, well, I'm a flatbed and the data looks at all trucks so I have special considerations. No, we can present a data specific to flatbed operations, tanker operation, dray operation and moving van-type operation. So, fleets will be able to narrow down what they're looking at.

All of this output, the emissions metrics for all of the fleets, this is publicly available. We have a file on our web site. that is accessible by transportation management software providers. These are the big guys like Oracle and SAP that do global routing. They can access the data and put it into their TMS systems, the same way they optimize based on cost, speed, and delivery, risk management, and they would have the ability to look at managing by carbon. Again, at this point, we have the US ground system essentially covered. We are looking to expand.

SmartWay has made a number of inroads internationally recently. The Canadian government adopted a virtual clone of SmartWay. There is a SmartWay in Australia. Objective CO2 is in France and the Green Freight Initiative is another outreach of the SmartWay program in Europe. And, we have been making significant inroads in China where the Chinese government is expressing heavy interest in the SmartWay program. We understand the need. If you are a multinational corporation, you need to track freight from Guangzhou to Chicago then you will need full international access. We have been talking with a number of stakeholders to do that, but as one would expect, full international integration is a ways off. We essentially have the standardized system for ground freight here in the United States at this point. And that will conclude my presentation.


Jennifer Symoun

Thank you, Matt. We're going to move into the question-and-answer session. When I do it, I'm going to bring up a slide on to U.S. DOT national online dialogue focus on map 21 implementation and can you see further information on the slide and that is for your reference or invite to you participate in the dialogues. Turning back to the questions, we'll start with questions from Matt as long as the presentation is in everyone's mind still.

Matt, the first question for you: Are the carrier data that you mentioned on slide 4, SmartWay components, available for researchers?

Matthew Payne

The data that would be available for researchers would be what I'm showing on the screen now - those eight emission metrics. The actual data that companies submit is not available. That is sensitive business information. But, realize the information that we're showing publicly is within a range of plus or minus 50 grams per mile. And so it's fairly accurate, it's certainly much better than industry averages that have been out, you know, previous to SmartWay.

Jennifer Symoun

And in SmartWay, does the data reference functional characteristic have highways? Or any other highway characteristics?

Matthew Payne

No, I understand there are a lot of highway folks on here. So, really, SmartWay is geared at business-to-business, not necessarily trying to break down into specific geographical performance. Certain trucking fleets, certainly short line rail operations, will operate in a set geographic area. But overall, SmartWay is looking at the composite of fleet efficiency boiling down into the eight emission metrics and presented as such. So, kind of get local affects. We don't drill down into that particular level of detail.

Jennifer Symoun

Will smart way allow transportation agencies to apply carbon footprint results from the corridor level based on freight activity?

Matthew Payne

Again, it's really designed as a partnership between the companies and SmartWay and the shipper. So really, it's designed for shippers and carriers to reduce overall system carbon footprinting. For transportation agencies to apply carbon footprints - if they get information about the number about x trucks in there based on company or based even on the type of truck, are the refrigerated, etc., the SmartWay could be used to narrow that down and to improve some of that modeling better than, I think, current information that is out there for that uses global averages.

I should mention that the emission factors that we use for NOx and PM are the latest from the EPA. We did the sensitivity analysis to look at what were the most important things that effect the emissions. We looked at rural verses highway operation, urban versus rural, and the average speed in the urban environments. They were really what had the biggest effect. It's not a full-bone blown recreation of all of the things can you do. If it was, it wouldn't be credible by many of the companies that we deal, but it does access the emission factors for NOx, PM, and, of course, we update that as well.

Jennifer Symoun

Great. One last question for you. One of the graphs listed the non-SmartWay user as being fairly inefficient compared to the companies using SmartWay. How did you get that number for non-SmartWay users? Also, is there a way to look at oversized loads generally hauled on flat beds?

Matthew Payne

Right. I'll talk about the last part of the question first. Really, we're looking at all flat beds and we do have a heavy haul category. Some may have identified them as heavy goods on a regular basis and that can be looked at on a separate basis.

What we did for the non-SmartWay carriers is, obviously, we don't have or we're not collecting actual information from them and we didn't want to use average data. Because by definition, that would make roughly half of the SmartWay carriers that submitted information do worse by submitting that information as opposed to just taking an average. So, what we report for non-SmartWay is essentially representative of the 99% performance we've seen from SmartWay carriers. For many carriers, this may overstate their emission production, but that doesn't disincentivize anyone from using the program and companies to join the program and start submitting their data to measure, benchmark, and improve. What we found is sometimes companies are pushed in by shippers and sometimes they come in wondering how they're going to work with the existing data. Through the SmartWay experience, they generally realized if they were not collecting the data before the report, they should be and we see significant improvements in many companies' data collections and reporting as a result. The stuff that we're asking them to report, they realize the benefit of working with the program and checking the data. And many of the companies use the data they submit to SmartWay internally and for year-to-year goals, improvements, et cetera.

Jennifer Symoun

I will ask our presenters who have five extra minutes to go beyond 2:30pm. If you have to leave, I understand. And now questions for Heather.

Does INVEST not only as how, but whether, that is whether the alternative need is preferable, not just how the approach shows that it can be optimized.

Heather Holsinger

That is a great question. And I think for the most part, INVEST is focused on the optimizing question, especially if you're looking at the project development criteria or decide on a project or trying to figure out how to make it more sustainable. An agency could take a look at a couple or a few different projects and run them through the criteria and see how they stacked up with regard sustainability. In that sense, you could do a comparison of alternatives. And when you are looking at the system planning side, it's a little bit more, you know multimodal versus product development and tailored to the highway or road projects. There is opportunity to identify multimodal aspects and look at alternatives there.

Jennifer Symoun

And might INVEST be part of an international freight planning that MAP-21 calls for?

Heather Holsinger

Yes, I have to say I'm not very familiar with what MAP-21 is calling for with regard to the national freight planning process. But, I do think that we're really excited about with INVEST is that it can be plugged into a lot of existing planning processes and into existing tools that are out there, for example, some of the broader infrastructure sustainability tools like the one that was developed by ISI and the envision tool. I think certainly it can be considered and used in that process and I'm not super familiar with the process itself.

Jennifer Symoun

And can INVEST be accessed or utilized private consultants or only by public agencies?

Heather Holsinger

Invest is definitely designed to meet the needs of our stakeholders, the state department of transportation or metropolitan planning organization. However, it's accessible to anyone, anyone in the public consultants are more than welcome to take a look at it and use it to evaluate projects and, in some case, they will probably find things that are called for in the tool that are not within the tools of the consultant buy more for the agency. It is definitely a useful tool for folks to look at. In the pilot testing process, one of the projects that we looked at was in Ohio and the DOT there brought in their consultants and the project managers and everyone to sit down together and look at the tool. There is certainly a lot of room for a number of folks to use it and get value from it.

Jennifer Symoun

And we have a few questions for Alan. Are the results you discussed published in any report?

Alan Lewis

As we do our work, we do write reports and they will be published. One of my slight frustrations at the moment is that the results of our review haven't been officially approved for publication yet. When they are, they will be available on the COFRET web site. for anyone to download. If anyone wants them, they can e-mail me, and I can send them a version of what we've got, which will probably be 98% or 99% equivalent to what is eventually published. I can send those on the understanding that people have them as a draft and they need to acknowledge that things may change ever so slightly if something is queried.

Jennifer Symoun

Thank you. Which need will COFRET address: estimation of CO2 emissions based on past data or real CO2 emissions after the transportation occurs?

Alan Lewis

I think technically they should be able to do both because we're producing a methodology for calculation. We recognize the most accurate outputs will be with actual data, and that is what we will encourage transport companies to use when they use the methodology. Clearly, if they don't have their own accurate data then they're going to be forced to use some source of proxy. And this is what the graph with the green, the yellow, and the red was looking at. But at the same time for estimation and comparison of different maybe modal pathways for international transport, the methodology would still hold, but if a transport company or a shipper has their own data from different supply chain elements, they can use it or again they could use a proxy.

One of the things we're debating is whether or not we supply default data as part of our methodology reports. We have come to the conclusion that we probably shouldn't. We should allow users to use their own data. And we may well then reference the other data sources, which then could be used as the most accurate proxy within the modal. And the example that we have just seen about all that really good looking SmartWay data would be an ideal reference point for people using a methodology in the U.S. market site.

Jennifer Symoun

One more question and then I think we'll have to stop, but do any of the international shippers and carriers among your stakeholders mention their participation in SmartWay, if so, can you say if they've asked about or suggested ways to mash the SmartWay and COFRET effort?

Alan Lewis

There has been some reference to SmartWay, but not too much. There is more concern about the need to mesh things not just with SmartWay, but with all of the other different tools and measurement measures as well. We have taken SmartWay into account. It's one of the tools and methodologies that we have identified as very important, but then there were several others we have had to deal with in exactly the same way. We are under pressure, not only by our stake holder group, but also from the European Commission to make strong efforts to try to start this process of global harmonization. So, I know Matt mentioned that this is an issue at the end of his presentation, but something that we're very keen on doing is harmonizing and this meshing.

It may well take a lot of time, but at the same time, it's something that we want to start to do, and that is one of the reasons why I am here talking from Europe to the U.S. initiatives. And we also are talking to Green Freight Asia, who we have come across recently, about the need to try to bring them in as well. This is really supported by the World Economic Forum and by the really big international transport companies and also by IARTA. The feedback from the people we're talking to there I think is really important.

Jennifer Symoun

Great. Well, thank you. I know we have a few unanswered questions. What I'm going to do is send them to the presenters to get written responses and I will send them with follow-up information. Since we're a few minutes over, and I do appreciate everyone staying online. I want to go ahead and close out for today.

I want to thank all three of our presenters. Thank you everybody in attendance as well. As I mentioned, the recording and presentations will be available online in the next two or three weeks, and I will send out an e-mail once they're available. As a reminder, if you're applying for AICP certification maintenance credit for today, make sure you are signed in with your first and last name or send me a message in the chat box with your name.

I also encourage everyone to download the evaluation form and to fill it out and submit it to me after the seminar.

The next seminar will be held on October 17th. More information is not yet available for registration, but more information will be sent out through the freight training listserv. This is the primary way to announce seminars and other freight information. If you haven't already joined it, I suggest you do so. The link is on the screen right now. With that, we're going to close out. Thank you and enjoy the rest of your day.

Updated: 10/29/2012
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