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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-17-122    Date:  June 2018
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-17-122
Date: June 2018


Logo. The Exploratory Advanced Research Program's logo of a bridge over a road.

The Exploratory Advanced Research Program

Development of A Behavioral-Based National Freight Demand Model

and an Innovative Freight Data Collection Method


Exploratory Advanced Research ... Next Generation Transportation Solutions

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Understanding how freight moves now and predicting how it might flow in the future are essential to transportation planning that meets the need for efficient, safe, and economical freight movement. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program is supporting freight transportation research that will develop tools to accurately model future freight demands and devise new methods of freight data collection. Resource Systems Group, Inc. (RSG), with research partners at the University of Washington and the University of Toronto, launched the “National Freight Demand Model” project. It will allow decisionmakers to understand better the factors that influence freight movement on scales ranging from interurban commercial deliveries to regional and national infrastructure needs. In a related FHWA-supported project, “Future Freight and Logistics Survey,” the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is evaluating the use of innovative communication technologies to collect high-resolution and high-frequency data that accurately describe the behavior of choices that underpin freight movement. Together, these EAR Program-funded projects will significantly enhance transportation managers’ ability to anticipate and plan freight movement capacity, operation, and infrastructure investment.

FHWA-HRT-17-122 PDF Cover Image