Measuring Improvements in the Movement of Highway and Intermodal Freight
Total transfer time
Freight transfer time between modes
Average travel time
The narrow focus of this study on intermodal facilities limits its usefulness to FHWA. It is not directly concerned with overall highway system performance in moving freight. Goals 1 and 2, accessibility and availability of intermodal facilities, are more appropriate for a state than FHWA in examining freight performance. A number of the measures are also “internal” measures dealing with the operation of an intermodal facility. Other indicators are really measures of activity, such as the number of vehicles accessing a facility or number of revenue ton-miles carried.
Goals 3 to 6 have somewhat more relevance for evaluation of freight performance as it relates to the highway system. However, again, many of these indicators focus on internal facility measures or general activity measures at facilities. Under Goal 3, the cost per ton-mile measure is potentially useful as a national performance measure, but some of the other cost measures are not. For example, while “expenditures to retire deficiencies” does have an impact on freight, it is not a measure of performance. Increased highway spending does not necessarily mean an improvement in freight performance; it could mean inefficient allocation of resources.