Measuring Improvements in the Movement of Highway and Intermodal Freight
In order to be useful as a performance measure, this kind of analysis would need to be carried out on an annual or biennial basis; some question might arise as to the statistical validity of year-to-year changes in these results.
While this measure can be important to a local community, it is not a measure of freight productivity. The number of direct jobs created by a highway project tells nothing of how the project will affect freight movement or whether the project is worthwhile. These figures relate to the impacts of project spending, not to the value of the project for freight.
Net Present Value or Benefit/Cost Ratio
Net present value and benefit/cost ratios are a measure of the value of highway investments. Both measures involve a comparison of the benefits and costs associated with infrastructure investment, but with slightly different implications. Since the benefits of transportation projects include travel time savings, vehicle operating cost savings, safety improvements, etc., these measures capture a range of economic effects beyond the impact on freight movement. These measures do not isolate impacts associated with freight movement, and in fact, most of the economic benefits measured probably are associated with personal travel.
Value of Transportation-related Goods and Services Delivered
The value of transportation-related goods and services delivered to customers provides a measure of the how much of the economy is associated with transportation. This is not really a measure of freight productivity or the implications of highway investment on freight.
Transportation Industry Productivity Measures
Industry productivity measures include the following metrics:
average load factors / percent of vehicle miles empty
average length of haul
annual miles per truck
ton-miles per unit of labor
multi-factor productivity measures
These measures all are a measure of output per unit of input. They provide information about the utilization of labor and equipment. They are good measures of the productivity of the freight industry, but fail to directly address the relationship to the highway system. They also fail to address the quality of service. Of these measures, the one that has the greatest linkage to the