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Assessing Rail Freight Solutions to Road Congestion: Guidebook and Final Report

By Global Insight and Economic Development Research Group, for the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, 2006

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March 2007. Economic Development Research Group and Global Insight, Inc. were co-principal investigators for the National Cooperative Highway Research Program study of interaction between rail and truck freight alternatives.

As truck traffic had become a significant contributor to road congestion in many areas, planners were seeking solutions to control congestion growth by considering opportunities to move more freight by rail. To examine this issue, the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) funded a new study to examine the potential for increasing use of rail freight on congested corridors, and to develop a guidebook on how to assess those opportunities. The NCHRP panel selected the team of Global Insight and Economic Development Research Group to conduct this study.

The completed Guidebook and Report examines: 1) the applicability and extent of rail-freight solutions for then current and anticipated congestion; 2) key factors and stakeholders involved; and 3) obstacles and strategies to overcome them. Many of the issues revolved around the changing nature of the US economy and the freight flows it generated, as well as the different perspectives of public planners, business shippers and trucking / rail service providers.

The final product is a guidebook for assessing the merits of public investment in rail-freight solutions to relieve roadway congestion and for applying tools that demonstrate how best to incorporate rail-freight into urban and intercity transportation decision-making.

On March 21, 2007, Glen Weisbrod and Joseph Bryan appeared jointly on the Federal Highways Administration online seminar, "Talking Freight." Over 120 planning professionals participated in a vigorous online discussion that can be accessed through the Talking Freight website.

Guidebook for Assessing Rail Freight Solutions to Roadway Congestion (PDF)

Final Report: Assessing Rail Freight Solutions to Roadway Congestion (PDF)

Freight / Rail / Truck Slide Show, TRB Conference, January 2007 (PDF)

Talking Freight Seminar Series, US Department of Transportation

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