Freight Transportation Cost Data Elements

A critical requirement of transportation planning and management is to understand the performance of transportation systems and facilities. Transportation system performance and related data can be used to monitor and assess existing freight transportation efficiency and to target system improvements. Accurate freight transportation cost data are required for cost-benefit comparisons, impact and systems analyses, and modal optimization. Measures previously used have included freight bill costs and cargo value, or shipper costs which may include indirect broker costs and other supply chain profit margins. These measures may have little connection to the direct and discrete marginal costs to users of a given facility. One useful measure or performance indicator is the freight carrier costs that accrue while using a particular transportation system or facility. While the direct freight user costs associated with the use of any particular transportation facility may not be a direct consequence of the facility itself, the marginal costs that accrue can provide a good indicator or surrogate for how user costs can change within a system, or as a tool for comparing costs across systems. Transportation decisionmakers have two methods for obtaining freight cost data: either from primary sources or indirectly through ad hoc estimation. However, many primary sources of freight transportation cost data disappeared with deregulation or because of budget constraints. Estimated freight transportation cost data used today typically derive from secondary data, aggregated piecemeal data, facility-specific surveys, or broad cost indices. While freight transportation cost data can fluctuate dramatically, the relevant cost data elements are relatively stable across modes and time. Consequently, research and guidance is needed on (1) the freight cost data elements required for different transportation planning objectives and (2) the sources of those data elements. The objectives of this research are to (1) identify the specific types of direct freight transportation cost data elements required for public investment, policy, and regulatory decisionmaking and (2) describe and assess different strategies for identifying and obtaining the needed cost data elements.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $300000.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 26

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    Department of Transportation
    1200 New Jersey Avneue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    National Cooperative Freight Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Rogers, William

  • Start Date: 20100201
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 22634

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01462057
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 26
  • Files: TRB, RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 1:57PM