Measuring Improvements in the Movement of Highway and Intermodal Freight
International border crossings are of particular importance to efficient international freight movement. As such, this measure is important from a national perspective, even though it only addresses a segment of travel time for a portion of all goods carried. This measure gives information on freight-system performance, but it largely reflects processing time required for immigration and customs on both sides of the border—not highway conditions or operations.
Performance on connectors between NHS and intermodal terminals
The connecting links between intermodal freight terminals and the NHS are the road segments that make intermodal freight transportation possible. Pavement and traffic conditions on these links are an important measure of the highway system’s ability to handle intermodal freight.
An important measure of the performance of the highway-freight system is the degree of satisfaction of the principal customers: shippers, receivers, and carriers. The judgments on performance of the firms and people that use the system every day could be very valuable to FHWA as an indicator of how well the system is performing. A satisfaction indicator could be measured through surveys.
Second-tier indicators provide useful information about aspects of the highway system that are meaningful for freight movement but are not specific to freight. They are standard highway performance indicators that reflect the quality of travel conditions for all users. If these indicators are already available to FHWA, those interested in freight performance might find it useful to track them. However, it is not worthwhile to develop them solely for freight purposes.
Average travel time for all trips
Average travel time for all peak-period trips in major urban areas
Average speed for inter-city travel
All of these measures address travel time, which is important for freight, but do not focus on routes or links of particular importance to freight.
Hours of delay per 1,000 vehicle-miles on the NHS
Percent of PM peak-travel in major urban areas experiencing delays
Ratio of variance to average minutes per trip in all urbanized areas
These measures provide information about traffic delays, but are limited as a freight measure since they simply are based on average speeds for all vehicles. A large portion of traffic delay is associated with commuter traffic during peak periods and freight traffic