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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-06-005    Date:  July/August 2006
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-06-005
Issue No: Vol. 70 No. 1
Date: July/August 2006


Internet Watch

by Joanne Sedor

New Web Site Provides Forum For Freight Issues

The U.S. freight transportation network moves a staggering volume of goods each year. More than 17 billion metric tons (19 billion tons) of goods, worth nearly $13 trillion, were moved in 2002. The efficient movement of goods depends, in large part, on the people who build, maintain, and operate the transportation system. Educating and training a skilled workforce is crucial to improving freight transportation productivity, safety, and security and enhancing global connectivity.

To facilitate information sharing between freight transportation professionals in the public sector and to provide an outlet for technical assistance, the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Office of Freight Management and Operations developed the new "Freight Peer-to-Peer Program" (P2P) Web site accessible at www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/fpd/p2p/index.htm. By providing an opportunity for information exchange, the "Freight P2P" Web site improves understanding and cooperation among key stakeholders and builds a database of noteworthy State and regional practices.

The "Freight P2P" Web site is the latest addition to the growing FHWA Freight Professional Development (FPD) Program. The FPD Program manages a resource library in an easy-to-use and searchable database, offers training courses and workshops, hosts the monthly "Talking Freight" seminars, and provides a venue for freight stakeholders to learn about innovative practices in transportation planning. By working with the academic community, the program also promotes the establishment of freight-specific courses and degree programs in transportation planning and logistics at colleges and universities.

Key Features of the Site

One key feature of the "Freight P2P" Web site is "Ask the Expert," which is a forum that enables site visitors to e-mail questions to nationally recognized freight experts who are available for 1-week periods to respond to inquiries related to specific topics or areas of expertise. A preliminary list of topics includes freight planning, financing for freight improvements, development of transportation plans, operations, ITS deployment, commercial vehicle size and weight issues, and freight policy.

Through the "Freight P2P" Web site, visitors also may request peer work sessions and roundtable discussions. The peer work sessions are "roll-up-your-sleeves" workshops that offer an agency or individual an opportunity to work with a technical expert one-on-one to develop specific tools and skills or to address particular challenges. These sessions may be conducted onsite at a location determined by the agency or technical expert or conducted via videoconferencing or Web-based applications. In limited cases, and with FHWA approval, the recipient may travel to receive assistance. FHWA Office of Freight Management and Operations staff also is available to provide information.

Peer roundtables are panel discussions composed of peers who promote and support innovative solutions to freight challenges and issues of regional and/or national interest rather than specific agency needs. Discussion topics are selected based on customer needs and may focus on issue identification, noteworthy practices, and solution-based methods in freight planning and operations.

These and other Freight P2P opportunities are available to State departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations. To arrange a peer exchange, call toll free 1-888-378-4968 or e-mail freightpeerexchange@fhwa.dot.gov. For more information about the FPD Program, visit www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/fpd/ or contact Julie Strawhorn in FHWA's Office of Freight Management and Operations at 202-366-4415, julie.strawhorn@fhwa.dot.gov.

FHWA's 'Freight Peer-to-Peer Program' Web site.
FHWA's "Freight Peer-to-Peer Program" Web site.

Joanne Sedor is a transportation specialist in the Office of Freight Management and Operations.



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