Decisions about the future of the U.S. freight system should be based on a good understanding of freight markets, trends, and relationships. Fundamental to this assessment is an understanding of the demand and supply for various freight modes, including pricing, and how they are affected by public-sector decisions. There is a perception that the public sector and private sector are two distinct cultures and possess different socioeconomic decision drivers. There may be a gap between public-sector and private-sector objectives that can be detrimental to our economy, and the efficient and effective movement of freight. There are real differences in the decision processes and objectives between public-sector and private-sector organizations. Research is needed to provide the perspective of each that will improve communication and thereby freight policy planning.
The objective of this project is to develop a freight primer that offers public-sector decision makers a deeper understanding of the importance of freight, the factors that drive private freight decisions, and the interaction of public policy with the public- and private-sector decision-making processes. The primer will provide guidance and a discussion framework for public-sector decision makers so that they have an improved understanding of how public policies influence freight transportation markets and private freight decisions. The research will focus on current and future demand for freight transportation (in the context of global and national economic trends and advanced business logistics practices) and should serve as a foundation for future research.
Status: The final report has been published as NCFRP Report 1 and is now available on the TRB website.