The USA trucking industry’s not-for-profit research organization, American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), has released a new report on best practices in freight planning at the state level, highlighting those with the best programs in place.
ATRI called for nominations of innovative state freight plans from state Departments of Transportation (DOT) personnel and freight stakeholders across the country. The top 12 plans then formed the basis for an ‘Ideal Attributes Checklist’, by which the other state freight plans were assessed. The state plans are also compared against Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act-required and recommended components. In summary, the process synthesized minimum freight planning requirements along with innovative practices and mapped nearly 50 different freight plans against the ‘model freight plan’ framework. ATRI hopes that the report will allow state DOTs and their consultants to better address those freight planning components that are viewed as most critical by FHWA, state DOTs and State Trucking Association leaders.
The report’s Ideal Attributes Checklist, along with lessons learned, and the various innovative practices highlighted within, will allow freight planners to consider a broad continuum of freight planning techniques for their next freight plan updates. The highest ranked plans use a variety of tools, including quantitative industry data, visualizations, project prioritization tools, and strong reliance on Freight Advisory Committees, among other approaches.
Texas was the highest ranked freight plan in ATRI’s research based in part on the state’s use of detailed commodity and freight flow data in developing its plan, as well as active engagement of its Freight Advisory Committee throughout the planning process. Other states receiving top accolades in ATRI’s report include Georgia, California, Mississippi, Iowa, Florida, Washington, Michigan, Ohio, Nevada, Maryland and Alabama.
“We are excited to be able to contribute our knowledge base to this important effort, and even more flattered that we were chosen by our peers as a model freight plan,” said Caroline Mays, director of the Texas Department of Transportation’s Freight Office. “That said, our freight work has really just begun.”