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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

USDOT provides transportation-planning analytical tool


On Oct. 3, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released Freight Analysis Framework (FAF), a database and analytical tool designed to help speed freight moves across the nation by improving transportation planning, operations and decision-making.

DOT predicts that by 2020, the nation’s transportation system will handle cargo valued at about $30 trillion compared with today's $9 trillion, U.S. freight volume will increase about 70 percent above a current 15 billion tons and international volume will nearly double.

Officials believe the increased freight will result in heavy congestion and inefficiencies throughout the nation’s transportation system.

"FAF underscores the importance of freight movements to the nation’s economy by providing government and the private sector with a valuable tool for analyzing the relationship between moving freight and congestion relief," said Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta in a prepared statement.

Federal Highway Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Maritime Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics and Secretary’s Office of Intermodalism created FAF, which includes economic forecasts for 2010 and 2020.

The software tool analyzes highway, railroad, water and air movements to determine predicted freight volumes' effect on the nation's transportation network. FAF is designed to help transportation decision-makers understand the geographic relationships between domestic and international trade flows, and the nation’s intermodal system.

By using the tool, which is available from the Office of Freight Management and Operations, government and private-sector officials could determine which transportation corridors are or likely will become heavily congested and plan solutions to help alleviate bottlenecks.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/7/2002