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Implications of Goods Movement in Transportation and Land Use Planning

Problem Statement
Options for plant location, scale, and decentralization and the trend for movement to greenfield sites and smaller communities will accelerate as existing facilities become obsolete or are phased out.
The movement from traditional and transitional urban areas will impact the requirements of goods movement and, as a consequence, the requirements for use of transportation infrastructure. New roads (and railroads) may be required in areas where there is little, if any, commercial activity. Existing roads in these areas may be overloaded. Distribution manufacturing may reduce the distance finished (or in process) goods must be shipped. There will be opportunities for the development and use of innovative transportation equipment and services.
These factors will lead to changes in the nature of freight services. It is expected that there will be demand for smaller, more frequent services with potential increases in truck use that affects energy consumption, emissions, public safety, highway congestion, and road damage.
Typically, however, the focus of transportation and land use planners is solely on goods movement by truck. Yet opportunities afforded by the creation of shortline railroads, construction of intermodal truck/rail and break-bulk terminals coupled with recent advances in logistics, and train scheduling provide attractive transportation alternatives that remain to be tapped.
The new generation of rail infrastructure is, at its essence, perfectly capable of fostering a wide range of versatile, responsive, and highly productive railroad operations. A fully variegated railroad system could be very responsive to appropriate classes of both new and traditional industrial users as well as the intercontinental customer. Specialized operations research and business analyses, however, are needed to move beyond the narrowly focused institutional models that wholly dominate major railroading corridors and do not address community goods movement.
The private versus public nature of rail and road infrastructure needs to be overcome, and rail companies need to be engaged in collaborative development of transportation and land use planning alternatives, both from an environmental and economic viewpoint.
Proposed Research
• Identify the kinds of industries and businesses that have the potential to relocate considering existing investments and access to clients and markets and incentives and constraints to dispersion of major employers, such as taxation, transportation, work force, and commodity factors.
• Project the dispersion of commuter travel and freight movement to suburbs, smaller cities, and other locations by time and type of location. Also, project the impact on existing cities, including reductions in congestion and emissions.
• Identify the induced freight requirements to service the businesses and supporting communities (foods, goods, etc.).
Land Use2
• Estimate the impact on transportation requirements for people and goods movement.
• Investigate case examples focusing on shipper profiles and business capabilities that could use and support the availability of intermodal or break-bulk terminals and shortline railroad operations.
• Prepare an overview of the regional and national impacts on energy consumption and emissions from industry location and modal choices.
• Identify the mix of hardware and operations technology improvements needed to optimize the integration of high-volume unit train operations with local intermodal, carload, and short train movements.
Cost: $500,000
Duration: 30 months

Sponsoring Committee:AMS50, Economic Development and Land Use
Date Posted:08/08/2007
Date Modified:08/09/2007
Index Terms:Freight traffic, Urban goods movement, Freight transportation, Railroad transportation, Short line railroads, Trucking, Truck tractors, Truck traffic, Infrastructure, Transportation infrastructure,
Cosponsoring Committees: 
Freight Transportation
Planning and Forecasting

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