Addressing Freight in the Planning and Programming Process Discussion of Conference White Paper
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Addressing Freight in the Planning and Programming Process FHWA Freight Planning Conference presented by Jim Brogan Cambridge Systematics, Inc. October 2, 2001 Overview Freight trends and their implication for States and MPOs Freight improvement projects and common obstacles • Local implementing agencies • State DOTs, MPOs, and regional coalitions • Private sector Potential actions • Information • Coordination • Process Freight Transportation Trends Devolution of Freight Planning ISTEA and TEA-21 pushed freight planning responsibility to state and local levels. At the same time, freight movements are increasingly national and global in scope. Freight Transportation Trends Capacity Concerns System capacity increases negligible while VMT growth considerable: Freight Transportation Trends Implications for States and MPOs Freight movements and the factors that affect them differ from passenger movements, presenting new challenges to states and MPOs. Increased trade and stagnating capacity contribute to congestion at intermodal transfer points, border crossings, and along major trade corridors. Though freight movements are national and global, impacts are felt locally. Transportation Planning Process What obstacles do projects generated 2. Long Range by: 1. Needs Identification Plan Development Local implementing agencies State DOTs/MPOs 3. Project Programming Private sector 4. Project Development (TIP/STIP) face as they navigate through this process? Local Implementing Agencies Overview Local implementing agencies, such as county/city public works departments, often own and maintain local roadways. At the state level, local implementing agencies are roughly analogous to DOT district or regional offices. Local implementing agencies are responsible for the implementation of projects and are often the only organizations authorized to propose projects. Local Implementing Agencies Typical Projects Tend to be single mode (normally roadway). Tend to be small in scope with local focus. Tend to be efforts to mitigate negative impacts of freight movements rather than efforts to improve efficiency. Local Implementing Agencies Common Project Obstacles Staff often lack the experience and regional/national perspective to fully appreciate freight issues and their local impacts. Project eligibility requirements discourage private sector participation in the generation of project ideas. Lack of appropriate data and tools to properly evaluate freight improvement projects. State DOT Headquarters, MPOs, Coalitions Overview These agencies initiate freight improvement projects in a number of ways: • via dedicated freight planning staff • via private sector freight advisory committees • via statewide or regional freight studies. State DOT Headquarters, MPOs, Coalitions Typical Projects Can be large, multi-modal, multi-jurisdictional - OR - Small, easily-implementable, “quick-fixes” MPOs and State DOT Headquarters with dedicated freight planning staff and funding often have an easier time proposing and programming freight improvement projects. State DOT Headquarters, MPOs, Coalitions Common Project Obstacles Lack of private sector participation in the planning process. Lack of resources to conduct statewide or regional freight studies. TIP and STIP criteria often do not fully reflect the potential economic and other benefits of freight projects. Regional coalitions lack the mechanisms necessary to implement proposed improvement projects. Private Sector Overview The private sector can initiate projects in several ways: • via “normal” planning process (often through a freight advisory committee) • via political contacts • privately planned and funded projects Private Sector Typical Projects Can be large or small, but always have tangible benefits to the private sector. Projects that enter the public planning process are often in need of some sort of support. Privately-funded projects often have associated mitigation activities as part of the project approval and permitting process. These mitigation activities often come back into the transportation planning process. Private Sector Common Project Obstacles Difficulty in moving out of the “needs identification” phase due to project sponsorship requirements. Private sector often loses interest in process due to the length and time requirements. There exists some resistance to the use of public funds to specifically benefit private enterprise. Potential Actions Potential actions fall into three categories: • Information - provide a better understanding of the patterns and performance of the freight transportation system. • Coordination - improve communication within and among public planning agencies and the private sector. • Process - improve the consideration of freight improvement projects during the transportation planning process. Potential Actions Information Expand Federal role in the collection, collation, and dissemination of more detailed commodity flow data? Coordinate the purchase of private commodity flow data for distribution to states and MPOs? Provide dedicated funding to recruit, hire, and train freight planning specialists? Provide freight planning “team training” to better understand public and private freight issues and bridge culture divides? Potential Actions Coordination Establish a freight transportation “umbrella office” to oversee freight planning efforts across divisions? Encourage State DOTs to take a more proactive role in generating freight improvement projects? Add private sector freight representatives to MPO boards? Establish state and metropolitan freight advisory committees? Encourage private sector participation in the proposal of freight improvement projects? Potential Actions Process Specify freight transportation elements to be included in statewide and metropolitan long range plans? Require closer coordination of statewide long range plans and other modal plans (rail, air, and port plans)? Separate funding and approval processes for freight projects? Revised TIP and STIP criteria to better reflect freight benefits? Establish “quick-fix” programs to provide short-term benefits and encourage long-range cooperation?