Measuring Improvements in the Movement of Highway and Intermodal Freight
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.
Annual miles per truck
This is a measure of freight equipment utilization that may be affected by highway condition.
Crossing time at international border crossings
International border crossings are of particular importance to efficient international freight movement.
Conditions on connectors between NHS and intermodal terminals
The conditions on the connecting links between the NHS and intermodal freight terminals are an important measure of the highway system’s ability to handle intermodal freight.
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.
The final screening and evaluation led to recommendation of the following seven indicators for further development by FHWA:
Cost of highway freight per ton-mile
Cargo insurance rates
Point-to-point travel times on selected freight-significant highways
Hours of delay per 1,000 vehicle miles on selected freight-significant highways
Crossing times at international borders
Condition of connectors between NHS and intermodal terminals
These measures were selected in an evaluation process that balanced the inherent value of an indicator as a measure of performance against the difficulty and cost of obtaining the necessary data. No rigid scoring methodology was used for the selection of recommended indicators. In general, the measures that were recommended are those that ranked highest in terms of descriptive value and technical appropriateness. Data availability and costs are important considerations for FHWA as it considers the use of these measures. However, this does not mean that measures with relatively high data costs should not be pursued. Customer satisfaction, for example, would require considerable effort to design a survey, obtain the cooperation of private firms, and carry out the survey on an annual basis. Nonetheless, it was recommended because of the high value of the information it could provide to FHWA.
Further development, and use, of this set of measures will provide FHWA with valid measures of the effectiveness of the highway system’s contribution to national productivity through the efficient movement of domestic and international freight.