The National Academies

NCFRP 25 [Final]

Freight Trip Generation and Land Use (Jointly Funded as NCHRP 08-80)

  Project Data
Funds: $250,000
Research Agency: Renesselaer Polytechnic Institute
Principal Investigator: Jose Holguin-Veras
Effective Date: 12/29/2009
Completion Date: 8/31/2012
Comments: Published as NCFRP Report 19/NCHRP Report 739

The current transportation planning process does not effectively estimate freight activity necessary to assist decisionmakers when making infrastructure choices. While travel-demand modeling has a robust process for estimating passenger travel needs based on the traditional four-step travel-demand modeling process, the same cannot be said for freight-demand modeling. Increased truck volumes, coupled with increased multimodal operations and changing logistics, have made it more difficult for standard modeling techniques to fully account for the dynamic nature of freight transportation for estimating trip patterns when considering land use changes and the resultant traffic changes. Land use-freight relationships represent a central issue for adequately planning infrastructure investments and land use policy and planning. The state of the practice for conducting establishment surveys and collecting freight data are insufficient for addressing emerging needs and demands. Often, evaluating the potential trip generation from a proposed project depends on assumptions such as traffic generation based on square footage or other gross characteristics such as establishment type or the number of loading docks.  In addition, an improved understanding of the relationship between freight trip generation and land use (freight establishment level) characteristics is needed to enable a more comprehensive analysis. As such, research is needed to improve the elements of freight transportation planning.
 The objective of this research is to develop a handbook that provides improved freight trip generation rates, or equivalent metrics, for different land use characteristics related to freight facilities and commercial operations to better inform state and local decisionmaking.  Trip generation rates shall include all modes of freight transport, except pipelines. The research should also include a CD-ROM tutorial for applying the handbook. 
(1). Define categories of commercial and non-commercial land use and their related characteristics and contexts (e.g., demographics, employment, modal characteristics, facility characteristics, functional classification). Discuss issues such as smart growth and urban, rural, and agricultural land uses as they relate to freight activity. Discuss how various land use definitions are applied by decisionmakers.  Include a discussion on the role of economic development and land use developments. (2).  Define the purposes of freight activities (e.g., goods movement, delivery services, and parcel) and the segments of freight transportation (e.g., rail, intermodal, blue and brown water ports, air cargo, less-than-truckload, and truckload) and discuss how they relate to the land use definitions in Task 1. Define the freight operational factors (e.g., average truck size and weight, temporal, seasonality, truck parking, hours of operation) needed for freight demand forecasting. Discuss changing practices in supply chain management and distribution facilities and describe their impacts on land use patterns. Compare the various measurements of freight flows and their modal interchangeability, if any. Compare freight and passenger trip generation methods and identify their inherent differences and enumerate the reasons why freight should be approached differently.   (3). Conduct a review of relevant literature, baseline freight data, and freight demand models. Describe available data sets and models currently used or under development to analyze freight and land use relationships, including establishment level estimates, for considering changing freight transportation needs. The literature review should include, but not be limited to, materials developed by the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the Truck Trip Generation Guide in NCHRP Synthesis 298, the FHWA’s Quick Response Freight Manual II,  NCFRP Project 06  “Freight Demand Modeling to Support Public-Sector Decision Making," and NCFRP Project 15, “Understanding Urban Goods Movements”. (4). Describe domestic and international practices used by transportation planners, economic development agencies, and related public-sector decisionmakers to estimate freight activity. Develop criteria for determining best practices for forecasting tools, establishment surveys, and other methodologies for estimating freight impacts of land use.  Develop a methodology that is consistent with the information gathered in Task 3 to evaluate different planning approaches. Identify and analyze the sensitivity of key variables on the development of trip generation rates and the associated interrelationships of freight operations to other societal goals. (5). Propose 5 to 10 examples of demand forecasting to evaluate in greater detail as case studies, including but not limited to, smart growth, distribution centers, and other modal generators. The examples should cover a minimum of three different analytical methodologies and should include lessons learned (i.e., institutional barriers, assumptions, data, and funding). (6).  Four months after contract award, prepare an interim report providing the results of Tasks 1 through 4.  Conduct a webinar with the project panel to review the interim report. Modify the interim report based on the project panel’s comments. (7). Conduct the panel-approved Task 5 case studies to evaluate the state of the practice for freight trip generation rates. (8). For freight actions relative to different land use types, identify potential improvements to data sets, models, and practices used in developing trip generation rates and equivalent metrics. Develop a recommended freight and land use establishment-level matrix to allow consistent data collection and analyses of trip generation. Identify the appropriate characteristics (e.g., time of day, modal classification, and seasonal) for each type of establishment across freight modes. Describe what is needed to advance the models and the information that the next generation of models needs to take into account. Identify new data collection approaches (e.g., GPS and establishment surveys) that should be considered. Identify appropriate uses and limitations of forecasting tools and approaches. Prepare a draft outline of the handbook and training materials (see Task 9) for panel review and approval. (9). Develop (a) the handbook on freight trip generation, or equivalent metrics, for different land use characteristics for state and local land use and freight planning and forecasting and (b) training materials including a CD-ROM consistent with learning management systems.  In addition, prepare a final report that provides background material collected during the research that was used as input to the handbook.
STATUS: Published as NCFRP Report 19/NCHRP Report 739, Freight Trip Generation and Land Use

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