Each day, about 60 million tons of freight valued at $40 billion moves through the United States transportation system. As cities and communities seek to encourage and implement mixed-use and human-scale development, it is important to consider the needs for commercial and residential goods movement, access, and mobility. Not doing so may lead to delivery trucks double-parking, blocking bike lanes, mounting curbs and sidewalks while driving, and other high-risk behavior when serving businesses and homes. Cities and suburbs also need street design and parking regulations that ensure trucks can efficiently access dense pick-up and delivery locations without creating roadway safety or maintenance concerns; incurring costly parking fines; or interfering with local vehicle, bike, transit, and pedestrian traffic. The same applies to the noise and other environmental impacts that trucks cause at a higher rate relative to smaller vehicles.
Research continues to underscore the significant disconnect between land-use decision-making and the freight-movement-related traffic associated with various land uses. Freight movement is mainly a private-sector activity with significantly different planning timeframes and objectives than the public sector, resulting in difficulties achieving useful public-private communication and collaboration. Useful commodity flow and volume information and data can be very difficult and costly for the public sector to acquire and apply in planning activities, resulting in transportation system plans and priorities that can under- or overestimate freight movement demand. State, regional, and local decision-making based on incomplete information can lead to land use, economic development, and transportation plans, policies, project priorities, and funding choices that do not address long-term mobility needs for people and freight.
The objective of this research is to develop a planning toolkit for public-sector decisionmakers to better integrate freight and goods movement into the planning process for land use, design, and multimodal transportation systems. The toolkit should be scalable for all geographic and population densities and provide best practices and tools for implementation (e.g., education, model policies, development standards, ordinances).