The National Academies

NCHRP 08-111 [Completed]

Effective Decision-Making Methods for Freight-Efficient Land Use

  Project Data
Funds: $500,000
Research Agency: RPI
Principal Investigator: Jose Holguin-Veras
Effective Date: 3/20/2017
Completion Date: 12/31/2019
Comments: Publication pending

Much attention has been focused on land-use strategies for reducing vehicle travel, as well as providing a range of other economic, social, and environmental benefits. These strategies include compact/higher density neighborhoods, greater mixes of uses, pedestrian-friendly design, and infill development—strategies that are collectively known as smart growth. However, the research has almost exclusively focused on the impact of smart growth on passenger travel and generally ignored goods and services movement by trucks. In addition, there are many other factors influencing land use such as population growth, gentrification, and new supply chain management approaches such as freight villages, freight hubs, and inland ports that can affect freight movement. Freight traffic is growing faster than car traffic. The U.S. Department of Energy projects that truck vehicle-miles of travel (VMT) will grow by 50% between 2015 and 2040, compared with 26% for light-duty vehicles. Furthermore, diesel engine pollutants have emerged as a top health concern among mobile source generated air pollution, especially particulate matter and fine particles. These increases will greatly impact the nation’s ability to achieve its objectives for environmental sustainability and livability. As metropolitan areas increasingly adopt various land-use practices, research is needed on their impacts on goods movement by all freight modes.

The objectives of this research were to develop a guide to: (1) quantify and evaluate the impact of land-use practices and policies to support efficient movement of all modes of freight; and (2) develop quantitative and qualitative land-use assessment tools (e.g., models, matrices, guides) to assist local, regional, and state land-use and transportation decision makers to support efficient movement of freight. The research should address a broad range of issues and needs associated with freight-efficient land use, which may include but are not limited to the following:
  • Identification and evaluation of existing and potential land-use practices and characterizing how they might affect freight movement;
  • Consideration of emerging freight transportation trends and technologies;
  • Identification of land-use decision makers, factors that influence their decisions and impacts on freight and other stakeholders;
  • Identification of potential data sources for freight-efficient land-use decision making;
  • Identification of best practices for freight-efficient land use planning and decision making;
  • Development of a framework for selecting appropriate and innovative freight land-use practices and policies;
  • Quantification and assessment of key impacts (e.g., energy use, VMT, emissions, noise, economic competitiveness, environmental justice, low income populations, employment, freight activity centers) and their effect on freight land-use practices, strategies, and policies;
  • Development and application of methods to integrate land-use planning, decisions, and efficient freight movement;
  • Designing and implementing one or more approaches (e.g., empirical data collection, modeling, scenario planning) to measure the impacts of land-use strategies on freight travel patterns; and
  • Development of scalable, quantitative and qualitative, freight-efficient land use assessment tools.
The NCHRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objectives. 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 tasks, with each task described in detail. The tasks must be divided into two phases. Phase 1 will consist of information gathering and planning tasks to accomplish Objective 1. There must be an interim report and a face-to-face meeting with NCHRP to discuss the interim report that conveys the results of Objective 1, an outline of the draft guide for effective decision-making methods for freight-efficient land use, and the plans for a Phase 2 workshop. Phase 2 will include developing quantitative and qualitative land-use assessment tools for Objective 2, a draft guide of effective decision-making methods for freight-efficient land use, and a workshop at the Beckman Center in Irvine, CA, to review and critique the draft guide. 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) a guide for effective decision-making methods for freight-efficient land use planning and decision making; (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) an electronic presentation of the guide 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”.

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