The National Academies

SHRP 2 C20 [Completed]

Freight Demand Modeling and Data Improvement Strategic Plan

  Project Data
Funds: $537,549
Research Agency: Gannett Fleming, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Keith M. Chase
Effective Date: 9/1/2009
Completion Date: 5/31/2011

Project snapshot. More details below.

(Project Number)
Impact on Practice
Product Status
An organizational approach to achieving improved freight data sets and freight modeling practices.
Current freight planning and forecasting tools, data, and techniques are inadequate to support infrastructure planning that integrates the complex logistics practices of the freight industry.  Better data and models are needed to make more informed investment decisions.
The report is available at www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/167628.aspx
The Strategic Plan is available at https://www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/167629.aspx

Staff Responsibility: David Plazak

Understanding freight flows and forecasting them is critical to determining the need for future transportation capacity on the nation’s highways or other modal infrastructure. However, current freight demand forecasting models and data sources are based on methods and tools developed for passenger transportation and are inadequate for forecasting freight movements or volumes.

The overall objective of this project was to foster fresh ideas and new approaches to designing and implementing freight demand modeling, instead of addressing freight movement planning through short-term measures, which represent improvements to the current state of practice but still contain many inherent weaknesses.

This research project documented the current state of the practice for freight demand modeling and the data required for effective freight modeling, data collection, and decision making. This information was derived from outreach to practitioners and decision makers at all levels, in both the public and private sectors. The project also developed a strategic plan to advance a broad new direction for improving freight planning; promoting continuous innovation for breakthrough solutions to freight analytical and data needs; and fostering a collaborative approach for private, public, and academic stakeholders.

The strategic plan identifies seven strategic objectives to serve as the basis for future innovation in freight travel demand forecasting and data and for guiding both near- and long-term implementation. The objectives reflect the desired direction for enhanced freight planning, forecasting, and data analysis as expressed by the many stakeholders who participated in this project. The objectives aim to stimulate innovation through the avenues laid out in this strategic plan and provide the basis for evaluating progress over time.

Project Status: This project is complete.

Product Availability: Freight Demand Modeling and Data Improvement, SHRP 2 Report S2-C20-RR-1, was published in March 2013.  It is available as an Adobe PDF.  A printed version is available through the TRB bookstore.  An e-book version of this report is available for purchase at Google, iTunes, and Amazon.  A fact sheet and project brief are also available. 

Freight Demand Modeling and Data Improvement Strategic Plan, SHRP 2 Report S2-C20-RW-2, was published in February 2013.  It is available as an Adobe PDF 


This page was last modified on March 19, 2014.

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