The National Academies

NCHRP 02-17(4) [Completed]

Measuring the Relationship Between Freight Transportation Services and Industry Productivity

  Project Data
Funds: $250,000
Research Agency: Hickling, Lewis, Brod, Inc.
Principal Investigator: David Lewis
Effective Date: 10/14/1991
Completion Date: 5/15/1995

This project assessed the impacts of current and prospective changes in transportation services and infrastructure on industry productivity. The key components of logistics systems (e.g., inventory costs, distribution patterns, modes used, transport costs, reliability, infrastructure needs, and damage costs) were noted and their relationship to industry productivity assessed. A generalized process was developed for public agencies to apply the relationships derived and improve decision making on transportation investments and policy.

The demand for freight transportation services is derived from industry needs, and the quality and scope of these services appear to be significant in influencing industrial productivity. Public agencies play an important role in addressing industry needs for moving goods by influencing freight transportation services through infrastructure investments in the various modes, through the introduction of advanced technology, and/or through change in operational controls and regulations. Information was needed to promote industry productivity at the state, regional, and national level and to help make better decisions relative to freight transportation services.

The researchers identified for specific industry groups the relative significance of transportation and logistical costs and the relationships among transportation services, infrastructure, operational conditions, and industry productivity. Critical variables and parameters associated with the relationship between transportation services and industry productivity were identified and cross-referenced with the various techniques that have been used to enhance industry productivity (e.g., just-in-time deliveries and strategic alliances). Based on a carefully designed sampling plan, pertinent information related to freight transportation service factors was obtained to investigate relationships to industry productivity. The research demonstrated how the relationships identified could be applied by state, regional, and local agencies to help make decisions on transportation investments that would result in improved industry productivity. The final report is available on request from the NCHRP.

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