Measuring Improvements in the Movement of Highway and Intermodal Freight
Annual Miles per Truck
Annual miles per truck is a measure of equipment utilization. It gets a middle score on descriptive value. The concept itself is very easy to understand; however, a generalist audience would not immediately perceive its significance in regard to productivity or performance of freight.
Annual miles per truck is a measure of utilization of equipment. In that sense, it is a measure of the productivity of the trucking industry. Its only significance to the users of the highway-freight system, however, is that higher levels of equipment utilization have a favorable effect on cost. It is doubtful that it would add much information if there were another indicator measuring total cost. While miles per truck would reflect, in part, speed and congestion conditions, it would also reflect changing abilities of carriers to manage their fleets (including the sizes of their fleets), changing characteristics of the trucking market, i.e., length of haul, and other factors.
The data are directly available from the F&OS.
Crossing Time at International Borders
This indicator scores high on descriptive value. This measure is easy to conceptualize.
The strength of this indicator is that it is a direct measure of freight performance at specific points of some importance. Its weakness is the obverse of its strength; it measures performance regarding a small proportion of total freight movement. International border crossings, however, are a highly visible component of international trade and are of importance to the nation in terms of international commerce. As a result, it would be appropriate for FHWA to focus on international border crossings as a measure of freight performance even though this measure only addresses a small portion of total freight movement.