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Measuring Improvements in the Movement of Highway and Intermodal Freight

REPORT: 1998 California Transportation Plan:  Statewide Goods Movement Strategy

SPONSORS: California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)

AUTHORS: California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)

PARTICIPANTS: Caltrans received input from a California Transportation Plan Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) and Statewide Intermodal Goods Movement Advisory Committee (SIGMAC). These committees were composed of stakeholders from local governments, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), ports, railroads, shippers, FHWA, consultants, and other stakeholders.

DATE: August 1998

SUMMARY:

The Statewide Goods Movement Strategy was developed as part of the overall transportation plan in a conscious decision to make improvement of freight movement an explicit component of the overall plan.  The document is a strategic policy and action blueprint that identifies strategic policies, goals, and objectives. Further, the report identifies development of freight performance measures as a long-term action item in the strategy.  Some performance measures are offered, although their development is not the main focus of this initial effort.

PERFORMANCE MEASURES PRESENTED:

1.

Hours of incident-based delay.

2.

Hours of recurrent delay.

3.

Lane-miles of high-level highway requiring rehabilitation.

4.

Crossing time for trucks at Mexican border.

5.

Crossing time for trucks at the state’s domestic borders.

ASSESSMENT:

The first three are standard highway-performance measures. They reflect highway conditions, which certainly have a bearing on freight travel. However, they are not specific to freight or focused particularly on freight productivity. They address issues related to travel time, reliability, and safety. The last two are certainly truck-specific and probably important.  However, they focus only on border crossings, and are not reflective of performance of the highway system as a whole. Only a portion of freight traffic crosses state or international borders. These measures are useful as facility-specific types of measures that could be used to compare and track progress among border crossings, but are somewhat less useful as a national measure of freight performance.

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