Measuring Improvements in the Movement of Highway and Intermodal Freight
Existing information on border crossing time is not tracked consistently. It should be possible, however, to arrange for observation of time in queues at selected crossings on the Mexican and Canadian borders.
Performance on Connectors between the NHS and Intermodal Freight Terminals
This indicator receives a middle score for descriptive value. Its meaning and importance are fairly easy to grasp. Conditions, particularly congestion and pavement condition, on the links between the intermodal terminals and the main highways are important parts of the system for carrying intermodal freight. A generalist audience may not immediately understand how connectors are defined or how conditions are measures (e.g., pavement quality measures, levels of service).
This indicator is a measure of the condition of roadway connectors. As a result, it is not a direct measure of freight performance but rather a measure of conditions that affect freight performance. Connectors are of particular importance to intermodal freight movement, so it makes sense to focus on these links.
Data are a problem for this indicator. Regarding congestion, intermodal connectors are tagged as such in the HPMS, so there are some data on congestion. But there has been no systematic effort to establish a sample of connectors. Those in the HPMS are there by happenstance. They would constitute a small sample and, more importantly, a badly designed one or, rather, one that has not been designed at all. This could be rectified by asking the States to add a substantial fraction of the 600-odd connectors to the HPMS. A willingness to cooperate on the part of a large number of States would be necessary and, almost certainly, resources to assist the States with the effort would be required. Regarding pavement condition, data for all connectors are in the HPMS, but there are doubts about the quality of these data. A similar effort with the States would be necessary to make sure of good pavement-condition data.