The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 49-01 [Active (Synthesis)]

Prioritization of Freight Investment Projects
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 6/2/2017 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Tanya M. Zwahlen
Research Agency: Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Principal Investigator: Mario Monsreal
Effective Date: 10/16/2017
Fiscal Year: 2017

Final Scope

Our freight transportation network is one of the great strengths of our country. The system moves 55 million tons of goods worth more than $49 billion each day. In addition, freight supports 44 million jobs. Yet, the dynamics of freight movement are changing, driven by factors such as e-commerce and global demand. Planning, programming, implementing and maintaining adequate freight infrastructure remains a challenge for transportation agencies.

As state DOTs integrate freight prioritization processes into agency practices and increase efficiency in addressing these considerations, many are also seeking guidance and resources that demonstrate effective approaches. As a result, there is substantial opportunity to share and leverage effective practices within various areas of freight investment analysis and methodology from across the country.

Freight investment project prioritization approaches increasingly underpin planning and programming decisions. However, these approaches can differ widely by State DOTs. The objective of this research project is to synthesize existing freight project prioritization practices.

Information to be gathered will include, but not be limited to:
• What freight assets do State DOTs own?
• How do State DOTs prioritize investments for those facilities?
• How are agencies prioritizing freight projects within a broader multimodal prioritization framework?
• What data sources are being used in the prioritization process? What data gaps exist?
• How are agencies incorporating freight performance measures into the prioritization process?
• What is the decision making process? What are the factors influencing the prioritization?
• How are agencies organized to support freight investment decisions (e.g. agency leadership and staff, internal/external committees and agencies, coordination across modes, timing)?
• What institutional barriers are State DOTs facing when integrating freight into the project prioritization process?


Information will be gathered through a literature review, a survey of State DOTs, and no less than six concise case studies that highlight different freight project prioritization approaches. The product of this research will be a report that provides an overview of the current state of freight investment prioritization and methodology. As well, this study will identify gaps in project prioritization practices, gaps in knowledge, and research needs. 
Topic Panel
Jason Beloso, Washington State Department of Transportation
Donald B. Ludlow, CPCS
Jose I. Marquez-Chavez, California DOT
Caroline A. Mays, Texas DOT
Thomas E. McQueen, Georgia DOT
Joyce N. Taylor, Maine DOT
David Tomporowski, Minnesota DOT
Shanjiang Zhu, George Mason University
Tiffany Julien, Federal Highway Administration
Bingxin Yu, FHWA
Matthew Hardy, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
Scott Babcock, Transportation Research Board

TRB Staff
Tanya Zwahlen
Phone: 585-315-1834

Meeting Dates
First Panel: October 16, 2017, Washington, DC
Teleconference with Consultant: November 15, 2017, 10:00 a.m., ET
Second Panel:
July 12, 2017, Woods Hole, MA



To create a link to this page, use this URL: http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=4385