Category: Freight Notes

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New Freight Benchmark Shows Value and Weight of Goods Moved on America’s Transportation Network Rose Over a Five-Year Period

The FAF version 5 (FAF5) public release notice was published on Friday, February 26, 2021. A full FAF data update occurs every five years in conjunction with the economic census. This release of FAF5 base year data is based on the recent 2017 commodity flow survey of shippers in the U.S. and provides information about the amount and types of goods that moved on land, water and air between large metropolitan areas, states and regions for year 2017.

Updated FAF5 data is available for download from

(This message has been posted from FHWAFP LISTSERV email sent on behalf of Chip Millard, FHWA.)

Fall 2012 Freight Notes

The Fall 2012 edition of Freight Notes is now available for download. This issue contains articles and information about:

Freight Notes No.16 is available is a print-friendly PDF.

Wisconsin's Long-range Transportation Plan

Officially adopted in 2009, Connections 2030 is the long-range transportation plan for Wisconsin.

The plan addresses all forms of transportation; integrates transportation modes; and identifies policies and implementation priorities to aid transportation decision makers when evaluating program and project priorities over the next 20 years.

Connections 2030 is a comprehensive transportation plan for moving people and freight in and through Wisconsin using highways, local roads, air, water, bicycle, pedestrian, and transit modes. The plan’s vision closely echoes the US DOT’s strategic goals:

An integrated multimodal transportation system that maximizes the safe and efficient movement of people and products throughout the state, enhancing economic productivity and the quality of Wisconsin’s communities while minimizing impacts to the natural environment.

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Measuring Transportation Performance

Many of us in the transportation community have been lamenting the lack of action at the federal level in the reauthorization of transportation programs. We have been operating on continuing resolutions and loans from the general fund for a very long time and Congressional action still seems years in the future.
I recently had the chance to hear from the heads of two state departments of transportation, both of whom have been fairly successful at a state level in gaining support from their elected policy makers. Deb Miller, Secretary of the Kansas DOT, and Paula Hammond, Secretary of the Washington DOT, spoke at the TRB Fourth International Conference on Performance Measurement. Both of their agencies have gotten high marks from state media and both have fared reasonably well in the struggles for revenue. Their secret, which they shared with 150 conference attendees: they share information easily and often with the people of their states and with elected policy makers. They do this regularly, not just when they need a revenue boost. And they do it in a manner that is understandable to the non-technical person. In short, they use performance metrics and performance management techniques to illustrate the condition and needs of the transportation systems they manage and of the performance of their agencies. Most notably, they share the bad news as well as the good.
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Ship Building on the Great Lakes

In a recent issue of Freight Notes (No. 11), I reported comments made at a listening session sponsored by MARAD on the future of Great Lakes shipping. Some of those comments, which I said surprised me, questioned whether the shipbuilding industry on the Lakes had the capacity to build a new thousand-foot laker from scratch. These comments, made by members of the shipping industry, basically asked whether existing Great Lakes ship building companies had the skilled workers needed to build a new boat of that size.
I was surprised by the comments, because shipbuilding has historically been a significant industry on the Lakes. In the World War II era, for example, Great Lakes shipbuilders made a contribution to the war effort by producing a range of ships for the US Navy. In those pre-Seaway days, ships built on the Lakes had to make their way to the ocean through the canal at Chicago and the Mississippi River system to the Gulf of Mexico.
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