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Measuring Improvements in the Movement of Highway and Intermodal Freight

REPORT: Intermodal Performance Measures for the Bay Area Transportation System

SPONSORS: Metropolitan Transportation Council (San Francisco MPO)

AUTHORS: David W. Jones

PARTICIPANTS: N/A

DATE: June 20, 1995

SUMMARY:

This report addresses multi-modal performance measures designed to track effectiveness and efficiency of the San Francisco Bay Area’s transportation system. The focus is on measures of mobility that are user-oriented and multi-modal. The report includes four case studies of the Bay Area’s transportation system, one of which addresses goods movement.

The goods movement case study discusses effectiveness of freight movement in the context of United Parcel Service (UPS), a package-express company and Consolidated Freightways (CF), a major less-than-truckload (LTL) operator. Both types of operation use large trucks (plus airplanes and rail intermodal in the case of UPS) for the line haul and smaller vehicles for delivery.  It notes that both companies are 24-hour operations, which enable them to schedule line-haul movements during hours when congestion is minimal and the highway system is operating most reliably. The report notes that because most trucking companies have optimized their operations to avoid freeway congestion during peak commute hours, the highway system’s day to day reliability is the performance attribute most important for shippers and carriers. It also suggests that relatively narrow peak periods are an important highway-system attribute for freight.

PERFORMANCE MEASURES PRESENTED:

While the report does not explicitly put forward performance measures, the two attributes mentioned above, reliability and narrow peaks, are certainly important for freight productivity and could be used to develop performance measures.  

ASSESSMENT:

This study provides a good discussion of highway-system characteristics that are important for the effectiveness and efficiency of urban goods movement.

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