The National Academies

NCHRP 08-106 [Final]

Metropolitan Freight Transportation: Implementing Effective Strategies

  Project Data
Funds: $375,000
Research Agency: Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Principal Investigator: Bill Eisele
Effective Date: 5/25/2016
Completion Date: 5/25/2018
Comments: Published as NCHRP Report 897.

When addressing complex metropolitan transportation issues (e.g., safety, capacity, economic development), freight professionals from state DOTs, regional authorities, and cities not only deal with scarce resources, but they also often need to work with a very diverse community of stakeholders (e.g., shippers, carriers, receivers, public policymakers, residents, academics, planners, and engineers at various levels of government) to identify and obtain support for workable innovative freight strategies. Although information about innovations and best practices in metropolitan freight is now widely available, research has not addressed the question of why some of these succeed and others do not. Armed with a better understanding of this question, freight professionals could much better tailor innovations to the specific circumstances they find in their local areas. Such tailoring would not only increase the chance that effective or new approaches and technologies applied to metropolitan freight issues would be implemented, but would also result in significantly greater potential benefits (e.g., improved reliability, travel time, safety, or lower costs). 
The objective of this research is to develop guidance for transportation practitioners that identifies and evaluates, by stakeholder community (1) critical factors impacting the implementation of effective approaches to improve metropolitan freight transportation; (2) barriers to the implementation of effective approaches; and (3) strategies, processes, and relationships that could accelerate the adoption of effective practices and technologies in metropolitan freight transportation. The research should address a broad range of issues related to metropolitan freight transportation such as, but not limited to the following:
  • Methods for quantifying the return on investment for public and private stakeholders for proposed strategies to improve metropolitan freight transportation;
  • Identifying incentives and disincentives for stakeholder participation and adoption of particular strategies;
  • Strategies for developing relationships that foster coordination among stakeholders representing the whole metropolitan freight transportation system;
  • Methods to balance metropolitan freight transportation efficiency with quality of life issues (e.g., emissions, congestion, noise, cost, land use, environmental justice, safety); 
  • Mechanisms (e.g., peer support, pilot studies, information exchange forums) to build confidence in facilitating tests of innovative freight practices in metropolitan areas;
  • The roles of private industry, the public, and government agencies at the federal, state, metropolitan, and municipal levels to help accelerate the adoption of innovative metropolitan freight practices; and
  • Methods to objectively measure the results and impacts of innovative metropolitan freight practices.
The NCHRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objective. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers’ current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objective.A kick-off teleconference of the research team and NCHRP shall be scheduled within 1 month of the contract’s execution. The work plan must be divided into 3 Phases with tasks, with each task described in detail. There must be an interim report and a face-to-face meeting with NCHRP to discuss an interim report that covers Objectives (1) and (2), and the plans for a Phase 2 peer exchange. Phase 2 will include a peer exchange at the Beckman Center in Irvine, CA, to review and critique the interim report and the proposed strategies for Phase 3 [(Objective 3)]. The NCHRP panel is seeking insights of proposers on how they will manage the workshop and the expected outcomes. The final deliverables shall include (1) guidance for transportation practitioners that identifies and weighs (a) critical factors for the implementation of effective approaches to improve metropolitan freight transportation; (b) barriers to their implementation; and (c) strategies, processes, and relationships that could accelerate the adoption of effective practices and technologies in metropolitan freight transportation; (2) a final report documenting the entire project, incorporating all other specified deliverables of the research; (3) a stand-alone executive summary that summarizes the research results; (4) a PowerPoint presentation of the guidance that can be tailored for specific audiences; (5) recommendations on needs and priorities for additional research; (6) a video product to inform practitioners of the research; and (7) a stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” (see Special Note C for additional information).
STATUS: Published as NCHRP Report 897.  The report is also available electronically at https://www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/178544.aspx.

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