National Academies Press: OpenBook

Prioritization of Freight Investment Projects (2019)

Chapter:Front Matter

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Prioritization of Freight Investment Projects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25581.
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Prioritization of Freight Investment Projects A Synthesis of Highway Practice Mario M. Monsreal Matthew Miller Madison Metsker-Galarza Madison Graham Juan Carlos Villa Texas a&M TransporTaTion insTiTuTe The Texas a&M universiTy sysTeM College Station, TX 2019 Research sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration Subscriber Categories Administration and Management • Finance • Freight Transportation N A T I O N A L C O O P E R A T I V E H I G H W A Y R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M NCHRP SYNTHESIS 542

Published reports of the NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM are available from Transportation Research Board Business Office 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 and can be ordered through the Internet by going to http://www.national-academies.org and then searching for TRB Printed in the United States of America NCHRP SYNTHESIS 542 Project 20-05, Topic 49-01 ISSN 0547-5570 ISBN 978-0-309-48065-9 Library of Congress Control Number 2019947488 © 2019 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. COPYRIGHT INFORMATION Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein. Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit purposes. Permission is given with the understanding that none of the material will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, FAA, FHWA, FMCSA, FRA, FTA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, PHMSA, or TDC endorsement of a particular product, method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document for educational and not-for-profit uses will give appropriate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission from CRP. Cover photo description: Project planning collaboration between researchers, DOTs, and contractors. Cover photo credit: Courtesy of Texas A&M Transportation Institute. NOTICE The report was reviewed by the technical panel and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this report are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; or the program sponsors. The Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and the sponsors of the National Cooperative Highway Research Program do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturers’ names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of the report. NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM Systematic, well-designed, and implementable research is the most effective way to solve many problems facing state departments of transportation (DOTs) administrators and engineers. Often, highway problems are of local or regional interest and can best be studied by state DOTs individually or in cooperation with their state universities and others. However, the accelerating growth of highway transporta- tion results in increasingly complex problems of wide interest to high- way authorities. These problems are best studied through a coordinated program of cooperative research. Recognizing this need, the leadership of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in 1962 ini- tiated an objective national highway research program using modern scientific techniques—the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP). NCHRP is supported on a continuing basis by funds from participating member states of AASHTO and receives the full cooperation and support of the Federal Highway Administration, United States Department of Transportation. The Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine was requested by AASHTO to administer the research program because of TRB’s recognized objectivity and understanding of modern research practices. TRB is uniquely suited for this purpose for many reasons: TRB maintains an extensive com- mittee structure from which authorities on any highway transportation subject may be drawn; TRB possesses avenues of communications and cooperation with federal, state, and local governmental agencies, univer- sities, and industry; TRB’s relationship to the National Academies is an insurance of objectivity; and TRB maintains a full-time staff of special- ists in highway transportation matters to bring the findings of research directly to those in a position to use them. The program is developed on the basis of research needs identified by chief administrators and other staff of the highway and transportation departments, by committees of AASHTO, and by the Federal Highway Administration. Topics of the highest merit are selected by the AASHTO Special Committee on Research and Innovation (R&I), and each year R&I’s recommendations are proposed to the AASHTO Board of Direc- tors and the National Academies. Research projects to address these topics are defined by NCHRP, and qualified research agencies are selected from submitted proposals. Administration and surveillance of research contracts are the responsibilities of the National Academies and TRB. The needs for highway research are many, and NCHRP can make significant contributions to solving highway transportation problems of mutual concern to many responsible groups. The program, however, is intended to complement, rather than to substitute for or duplicate, other highway research programs.

The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, non- governmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. John L. Anderson is president. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.national-academies.org. The Transportation Research Board is one of seven major programs of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to increase the benefits that transportation contributes to society by providing leadership in transportation innovation and progress through research and information exchange, conducted within a setting that is objective, interdisciplinary, and multimodal. The Board’s varied committees, task forces, and panels annually engage about 7,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. Learn more about the Transportation Research Board at www.TRB.org.

C O O P E R A T I V E R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M S CRP STAFF FOR NCHRP SYNTHESIS 542 Christopher J. Hedges, Director, Cooperative Research Programs Lori L. Sundstrom, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs Tanya M. Zwahlen, Senior Program Officer Stephanie L. Campbell, Senior Program Assistant Eileen P. Delaney, Director of Publications Natalie Barnes, Associate Director of Publications NCHRP PROJECT 20-05 PANEL Joyce N. Taylor, Maine DOT, Augusta, ME (Chair) Socorro “Coco” Briseno, California DOT, Sacramento, CA Anita K. Bush, Nevada DOT, Carson City, NV Joseph D. Crabtree, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY Mostafa “Moe” Jamshidi, Nebraska DOT, Lincoln, NE David M. Jared, Georgia DOT, Forest Park, GA Cynthia L. Jones, Ohio DOT, Columbus, OH Jessie X. Jones, Arkansas DOT, Little Rock, AR Brenda Moore, North Carolina DOT, Raleigh, NC Ben T. Orsbon, South Dakota DOT, Pierre, SD Randall R. “Randy” Park, Avenue Consultants, Bluffdale, UT Jack Jernigan, FHWA Liaison Stephen F. Maher, TRB Liaison TOPIC 49-01 PANEL Jason Beloso, Washington State DOT, Seattle, WA Kelly Eagan, California DOT, Sacramento, CA Donald B. Ludlow, CPCS, Washington, DC Caroline A. Mays, Texas DOT, Austin, TX Thomas E. McQueen, Georgia DOT, Atlanta, GA Joyce N. Taylor, Maine DOT, Augusta, ME David Tomporowski, Minnesota DOT, Saint Paul, MN Shanjiang Zhu, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA Tiffany Julien, FHWA Liaison Bingxin Yu, FHWA Liaison Matthew Hardy, AASHTO Liaison Scott Babcock, TRB Liaison

ABOUT THE NCHRP SYNTHESIS PROGRAM Highway administrators, engineers, and researchers often face problems for which information already exists, either in documented form or as undocumented experience and practice. This infor- mation may be fragmented, scattered, and unevaluated. As a consequence, full knowledge of what has been learned about a problem may not be brought to bear on its solution. Costly research findings may go unused, valuable experience may be overlooked, and due consideration may not be given to recommended practices for solving or alleviating the problem. There is information on nearly every subject of concern to highway administrators and engineers. Much of it derives from research or from the work of practitioners faced with problems in their day- to-day work. To provide a systematic means for assembling and evalu ating such useful information and to make it available to the entire highway community, the American Association of State High- way and Transportation Officials—through the mechanism of the National Cooperative Highway Research Program—authorized the Transportation Research Board to undertake a continuing study. This study, NCHRP Project 20-05, “Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Problems,” searches out and synthesizes useful knowledge from all available sources and prepares concise, documented reports on specific topics. Reports from this endeavor constitute an NCHRP report series, Synthesis of Highway Practice. This synthesis series reports on current knowledge and practice, in a compact format, without the detailed directions usually found in handbooks or design manuals. Each report in the series provides a compendium of the best knowledge available on those measures found to be the most successful in resolving specific problems. FOREWORD By Tanya M. Zwahlen Staff Officer Transportation Research Board The objective of NCHRP Synthesis 542: Prioritization of Freight Investment Projects is to synthesize existing prioritization practices for freight projects. Freight investment project prioritization approaches increasingly underpin planning and programming decisions. However, these approaches can differ widely by state departments of transportation. This synthesis may serve as a resource for state departments of transportation seeking guidance on effective approaches to integrating freight prioritization processes into agency practices and seeking to increase the efficiency of such processes. The information contained in this synthesis was obtained by using three sources. First, a literature review compiled existing research on the subject. Second, the consultant surveyed state departments of transportation. Finally, the consultant developed six concise case examples that highlight different freight project prioritization approaches. Mario M. Monsreal of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute collected and synthesized the information and wrote the report. Contributing authors were Matthew Miller, Madison Metsker-Galarza, Madison Graham, and Juan Carlos Villa. The members of the topic panel are acknowledged on the preceding page. This synthesis is an immediately useful document that records the practices that were acceptable within the limitations of the knowledge available at the time of its preparation. As progress in research and practice continues, new knowledge will be added to that now at hand.

Note: Photographs, figures, and tables in this report may have been converted from color to grayscale for printing. The electronic version of the report (posted on the web at www.trb.org) retains the color versions. 1 Summary 6 Chapter 1 Introduction 6 Study Approach 7 Description of the Literature Review 9 Description of the Survey 11 Description of the Case Examples 11 Synthesis Organization—Outline of Report 13 Chapter 2 Context Information and Agency Perspectives on Freight Investment Prioritization Methodologies 13 Introduction 13 Context Information and Agency Perspectives Found in the Literature Review 17 Chapter 3 Freight Investment Project Prioritization Process and Methods 17 Common Methods Found in the Literature Review 18 State DOT Methods 26 Regional Methods 27 Chapter 4 Conclusions 27 Overview 29 Future Research Suggestions 31 Abbreviations and Acronyms 33 References 35 Appendix A Matrix of Factors Discussed in Freight Prioritization by Information Source 45 Appendix B Literature Review Matrix 52 Appendix C Survey E-mail Sample 54 Appendix D State DOT Performance Measures 68 Appendix E Online Survey Questionnaire and Results 114 Appendix F Case Examples C O N T E N T S

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Freight investment project prioritization, which is used to assist in planning and programming decisions, differs widely in importance across states. One of the reasons for the difference in importance is the fact that freight projects are costly, and state departments of transportation (DOTs) face limited resources to implement them.

The National Cooperative Highway Research Program's NCHRP Synthesis 542: Prioritization of Freight Investment Projects identifies the state of the practice of freight project prioritization and common steps across all state DOTs in the nation.

State DOTs have a variety of motivations for freight project prioritization, including the FAST Act. For DOTs to receive additional federal funding, a priority list of freight projects must be produced. However, because the FAST Act regulations do not include a specific methodology to help DOTs rank their freight projects, many different processes are used by the state DOTs for ranking.

This report synthesizes the available literature on the subject so that DOTs creating a prioritization process can identify successful practices in the current state of the practice.

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