Measuring Improvements in the Movement of Highway and Intermodal Freight
Cargo Insurance Rates
This indicator would require some explanation for a generalist, but the explanation could readily be accomplished in a single paragraph.
Changes over time in cargo insurance rates will track very closely with the value of loss-and-damage claims. From the point of view of shippers and receivers, loss-and-damage is a significant aspect of the quality of freight service. As a result, cargo insurance rates are appropriate as a measure of one aspect of quality of service. Cargo insurance rates, however, do not solely reflect the quality of the highway system; they also reflect driver experience and loss and damage resulting from pilferage and handling. Changing rates could also reflect changing cargo values. Nonetheless, loss and damage is an important aspect of the quality of freight service, and this measure merits further examination.
Data should not be a significant problem. Two potential sources have been identified. One is the insurance companies themselves. They routinely supply quotes for cargo insurance, and it is not proprietary information. One viable approach would be to select a panel of a small number of insurance companies and survey them once a year to get quotes. Another source would be State insurance commissions. Insurance companies regularly file their rates with the offices of the State commissions. One could select a panel of States and arrange to obtain the data from them on a regular basis.
On-Time Performance for Highway-Freight Delivery
Descriptive value is high. It is clear that on-time performance means performance in terms of meeting a stated goal for delivery time. The definition of “on time,” however, could present serious problems. The very concept of being on time is different in different circumstances. For some receivers, on time means delivery by a specified date and time. Others demand delivery within a specific window of time, often specified as a particular hour, e.g., between 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM.
This indicator reflects an aspect of the quality of service that is very important to shippers and receivers. The definition of “on time” in a systematic way that would work with data collection and manipulation could present serious problems, however. While all the actors in the freight