This report justifies and designs a comprehensive tool for describing intraurban trucking, which is the bulk of truck movement in an urban area but typically is unexamined in regional transportation planning.
We begin by reviewing literature describing the characteristics and policy issues bearing on freight. We extract from that literature a structure for describing those policy issues, and then go on to design a series of map displays and quantitative measures that provide a linkage between the characteristics of local delivery trucking and the public policy issues that stem from and influence these characteristics. The Regional Freight Logistics Profile (RFLP) emerges as an easy-to-understand yet comprehensive description of urban trucking that stimulates a more constructive dialog among government transportation leaders, shippers, truckers, and the general public. The design balances coverage of the variety of public and business concerns relative to freight against the costs and other practicalities of collecting data. To overcome reluctance on the part of private companies to reveal performance information, we have designed an institutional approach to gathering truck fleet performance data that does not compromise confidential performance data from competing carriers and shippers.
We recommend that metropolitan planning organizations, as well as state and federal freight mobility offices with responsibility for technical assistance to MPOs, review the RFLP design for potential adaptation and adoption.
John Niles is founder and president of Global Telematics, a contract research and policy consulting firm based in Seattle, Washington, that focuses on the interaction of transportation and telecommunications. In addition, he is a Mineta Transportation Institute Research Associate and Senior Fellow of Technology and Transportation at the Discovery Institute.
Lately, the focus of his work has been on improving the responsiveness of transportation policy decision and public investments to the network economy. He has led research studies on telecom driven reduction of personal travel for several Metropolitan Planning Organizations and the United States Department of Energy. He is a member of the Telecommunications and Travel Behavior Committee of the Transportation Research Board. He earned his M.S. from the Graduate School of Industrial Administration at Carnegie Mellon University and his S.B. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.