Freight Demand Modeling and Data Improvement Strategic Plan

Freight demand makes up a large and growing proportion of total travel demand; freight vehicle miles of travel (VMT) growth is outpacing passenger VMT growth. Logistics costs now make up around 10 percent of the overall US economy SHRP 2 Project C04 is aimed at improving our understanding of highway travelers and how factors such as congestion and pricing impact travel demand. The freight side of travel demand is not being examined at all by C04 because of the fundamental differences between passenger travel demand and freight demand. One of thee fundamental differences is that passenger travel decisions ultimately rest with the driver while freight transport decisions are usually made to meet the specific needs of a shipper or receiver and will often be subject to carrier company policy. An individual passenger car driver may quickly decide on his or her own to re-route around an incident or recurrent traffic jam, to forgo or postpone a trip, to shift modes, or to pay a variable congestion toll; in the freight realm, such decisions are much more complex in that customers may have tight delivery time windows or carriers may have negotiated fixed cost agreements. Further, there are distinct differences within the highway freight transportation marketplace (e.g. between low value commodities and high value commodities and between short-haul urban freight/deliveries and intercity trucking). In general, our understanding of freight demand and how it can be effectively modeled at a detailed level is in a primitive state. There are also many participants in freight research: TRB's Cooperative Freight Research program is now underway; Federal Highway Administration and AASHTO sponsor freight research; industry associations sponsor freight research; and states sponsor freight research. Much and perhaps most of the research sponsored by these groups is not about forecasting freight demand and its impact on highways, but some of it is. It is clear given numerous research sponsors and stakeholders, fragmentation of resources, and the very large size of the effort required to improve freight demand forecasting that a strategic approach is needed. This project will develop a very forward-looking strategic plan for dramatically improving the state of freight demand modeling and data quality. Phase 1 is intended to identify gaps and needs and prepare the future research agenda. Phase 2 (Not currently funded and not part of Project C20) will be designed to start filling those gaps and needs. This research topic is a close companion piece to projects C04, C10, and C15. The plan will build on work by NCFRP and FHWA. The objective of this research is to develop a multi-sponsor strategic plan for improving freight demand forecasting and collecting the supporting data. Improved forecasts are needed to plan the infrastructure needed to carry the growing volume of freight.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $527549.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project C20

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Strategic Highway Research Program 2

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

    Andrle, Stephen

  • Performing Organizations:

    Gannett Fleming, Incorporated

    209 Senate Avenue
    Camp Hill, Pennsylvania  United States  17011
  • Principal Investigators:

    Chase, Keith

  • Start Date: 20091001
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20110228
  • Source Data: RiP Project 20512

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01462342
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project C20
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:02PM