Measuring Improvements in the Movement of Highway and Intermodal Freight
Not-Useful Measures — These indicators have little or no use as a measure of freight productivity.
The distinctions between potentially valuable, useful, and not useful are necessarily somewhat subjective; however, these assessments were based on best judgement regarding the nature of these indicators. Indicators were categorized based on an initial screening assessment of their technical appropriateness and descriptive value.
Potentially Valuable (First-Tier) Indicators
Potentially valuable indicators are those that are most reflective of the highway system’s impact on freight performance or of the efficiency of the freight system. These include direct measures of the quality or cost of freight service nationally. They also include measures of the performance of parts of the highway system that have special importance for goods movement, e.g., highway segments or corridors that carry comparatively large volumes of freight or are otherwise significant links in the national freight system. Expenditure of resources to develop these measures further may be justified. Potentially valuable measures include:
Cost of highway freight per ton-mile
Cargo insurance rates
Fuel consumption of heavy trucks per ton-mile
On-time performance for highway-freight deliveries
These measures all address the cost or quality of freight service to shippers.
Point-to-point travel times for selected freight-significant highways
Hours of delay per 1000 vehicle-miles on freight-significant highways
Ratio of peak period travel time to off-peak travel time at freight-significant nodes
Ratio of variance to average minutes per trip in peak periods at freight-significant nodes
Hours of incident-based delay on freight-significant highways
These measures all address travel time and reliability of highway performance as it relates to freight. Use of any of these measures would require that FHWA designate portions or segments of the National Highway System (NHS) as having special significance for freight carriage and designate certain cities or metropolitan regions as key nodes in the highway freight network. These could be referred to as freight-significant highways and freight-significant nodes.
Annual miles per truck
This is a measure of freight equipment utilization that also is affected by highway condition.
Crossing time at international border crossings