Measuring Improvements in the Movement of Highway and Intermodal Freight
Average length of haul
Other potential measures of highway freight transportation productivity identified by participants were:
Ratio of inventory to monthly sales of manufactured goods (reflects speed and reliability)
Route-miles of less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers
Tons, or number of shipments, per terminal - a measure of terminal performance
Percentage of empty vehicle-miles
Questions raised by the panelists included:
How should transportation productivity be defined and measured across and within different transportation modes
How can methods of acquiring data be developed to include all transportation activity?
To what extent are transportation productivity measures related to service quality measures?
What role should customer satisfaction and private-sector performance have in productivity measurements?
Several ways to improve transportation productivity were also identified: increasing connectivity (adding new links in the highway network to decrease mileage and travel time), increasing service levels on existing links (making improvements to reduce time, fuel, and other inputs), improving the efficiency of operations (e.g., by increasing vehicle utilization, reducing empty miles), and reducing the costs of primary inputs (e.g., reduce costs of labor, equipment, and facilities).
PERFORMANCE MEASURES PRESENTED:
In the final breakout sessions, the following transportation productivity measures were suggested:
Empty/loaded ratio for truck moves
Annual miles per truck
Average length of haul by vehicle
Energy consumption per ton-mile
Labor cost per ton-mile
The measures judged most appropriate for public policy evaluation were empty vs. loaded miles, average length of haul, and energy consumption per ton-mile.