The National Academies

NCFRP 05 [Final]

Framework and Tools for Estimating Benefits of Specific Freight Network Investment Needs

  Project Data
Funds: $500,000
Research Agency: Cambridge Systematics
Principal Investigator: Michael Fischer
Effective Date: 9/15/2008
Completion Date: 12/16/2011
Comments: Published as NCFRP Report 12

The existing transportation network is currently straining under the volume of freight moving through it – and those volumes are predicted to continue growing. In addition, capital investments, whether for timely maintenance or new construction, have not kept pace with freight demand.
Investment decisions affecting the future of efficient freight movement have been hindered by the absence of analytical frameworks, tools, and data of sufficient quality and detail to be credibly used to estimate benefits and impacts, and to assess attendant risks. Significant capital investment is needed to improve the efficiency and productivity of freight movement. However, investment funds are scarce, and for many infrastructure investments that would improve freight movement, costs are borne and benefits are enjoyed locally and nationally by both the public and private sector. Because of this complex interrelationship, a new, consistent, and usable analytic framework is necessary to guide and focus these multidimensional investment decisions.  
The objective of this project is to develop a comprehensive analytical framework and related tools for estimating public and private benefits to evaluate potential freight infrastructure investments (including investments in new, replacement, maintenance, and operational systems), as well as potential funding sources. The framework should be based on a multidimensional matrix and related tools that can be used to guide the allocation of project costs among (a) private-sector freight transportation modes and shippers and (b) public-sector transportation interests such as Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), states, multi-states, and freight transportation corridors.
Status: Published as NCFRP Report 12.  The report is also available electronically at


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